Bad Driving Habits You May Not Know You Have

Everybody’s got a few bad habits, and fortunately, most of them are just annoying to others. But bad driving habits aren’t just irritating – they can potentially injure or even kill people. And the worst part is that they’re often so ingrained, you don’t even realize you’re doing it. Check and see if you’re guilty of any of these dangerous habits.

Turning Your Wheels While Waiting to Turn

If you’re turning and you have to wait for oncoming traffic to clear or for a pedestrian to finish crossing, your wheels should be pointed straight ahead. If they’re pointed in the direction you intend to turn, and someone hits you from behind, you’ll smash into that pedestrian or be pushed into oncoming traffic. Don’t turn your wheels until you’re actually starting your turn.

Blocking the Intersection

Few things gum up traffic like cars getting stuck in the intersection when the light turns red – and it’s not the light’s fault, it’s yours. If the cars on the other side of the intersection aren’t moving, stay put. Wait behind the line on your side until there’s enough room for you to fully clear the intersection on the other side. If you have to wait for the next green light, so be it. And if you’re making a right-hand turn onto a street that’s already full, don’t. The drivers on the other side are waiting for it to clear, not leaving a gap for you. Not only is it rude, but you’re just going to further jam everything up.

Creeping Ahead at a Light

You’re at a red light, waiting to turn left or go straight. Alongside is a driver who’s trying to make a legal right turn on the red, and is looking to the left for oncoming traffic to clear. So why would you creep ahead? Those few centimetres aren’t going to get you moving any faster when the light turns green, and now that driver can’t see around you, especially if you’re driving a big truck or SUV. You’ve likely also crept into the crossing zone, which can be hazardous for pedestrians. Stop behind the line and stay there until the light turns green.

Not Looking Both Ways on a Green

The light just turned green, but don’t consider it your opportunity to hit the throttle. There are lots of bad drivers out there, and one might be running a red in front of you. Always make a quick check, left and right, before you start to move.

Not Looking to The Right When Turning

When they’re at a stop sign or red light and intend to turn right, far too many drivers only look to the left to check for oncoming traffic. Once that clears, they start to make the right-hand turn while still looking left – and often miss seeing a pedestrian who’s crossing in front of them on the green light. The rule of thumb is to never move your vehicle unless you’re looking in the direction you intend to go.

Not Checking the Sidewalk

Before you make a right-hand turn, use your passenger-side mirror to scan the sidewalk and curb lane, to be sure you’re not going to cut off a pedestrian or cyclist who’s coming up behind you. When making a left-hand turn at an intersection, check the opposite side of the street – both corners – for pedestrians. If someone is crossing, wait on your side of the road. If you pull out and sit halfway across, you’re in the path of oncoming traffic. Even if it looks like you’ll have enough time before those cars get to you, that pedestrian could trip or slow down while crossing, leaving you wide open for a crash.

Moving Blindly

We’ve all been stuck behind a tractor-trailer that obscures our view of the traffic light. Don’t follow as soon as it moves. You have no idea if that driver is squeezing through on a yellow, or if there are pedestrians or traffic that will be in your way. Stay where you are until you can see the signal before you move.

Driving Ahead First at a Two-Way Stop

Here’s the scenario: you come to a two-way stop sign, intending to turn left, but you have to wait until cross traffic clears. In the meantime, someone gets to the stop sign opposite you, and will be going straight through. When traffic clears, you take off first – you got there first, right? Wrong! The vehicle going straight has the right-of-way, even if that driver arrived after you. If you’re confused by this, picture it as a red light, not a stop sign. When the light turns green, you wait for oncoming cars before you turn left. Same thing applies here.

Giving Up Right-of-Way

You were brought up to be polite, but that can be a dangerous habit on the roads. Never relinquish the right-of-way when it’s yours (unless, of course, doing so will cause a crash – use common sense here). Waving other drivers ahead causes confusion and can set them up for dangerous situations, such as when your outside lane’s stopped and you wave a driver to make a left-hand turn in front of you, but someone coming up in the curb lane doesn’t see that car coming across its path until it’s too late.

Not Knowing How a Traffic Circle Works

The rule is that cars in the circle have the right-of-way. If you’re entering the circle, wait until traffic in it clears. If you’re in the circle, keep moving and don’t stop to let someone in. Think of it as a one-way street that just happens to be round. And if you miss your exit, don’t panic – just keep going around until you come up to it again.

Hooking the Wheel

We’re not sure when this boneheaded move started, but suddenly it seemed like everyone was doing it. It’s when you make a turn by inserting your hand into the wheel and grabbing it from behind, with your palm facing toward you. You’re not in control – you can only make a quarter-turn like that – and that steering wheel contains an airbag that will break your wrist if someone hits you and it deploys. Equally, don’t drive with one hand on top; the airbag will drive your fist and whatever jewellery you’re wearing into your forehead. Put your hands at 9 and 3 (you might have heard 10 and 2, but 9–3 is better) and your driving will instantly improve.

Riding with Your Feet on the Dash

This is not a driving habit per se, but is so common, and so very, very dangerous. The passenger side of the dash contains an airbag, and in a crash, it deploys at some 200 km/h. If you’ve got your feet on the dash, it will drive your legs into your pelvis, and it’s likely you won’t ever walk properly again. You also run the risk of “submarining” and sliding down under the seatbelt, which can cause serious harm. Always sit up straight and wear your seatbelt over your shoulder, not under your arm where it will break your ribs in a crash.

Check yourself before… 10/5/2018 10:00:00 AM