Bad Driving Habits and How to Break Them
Whether you want to admit it or not, you too probably, have some bad driving habits. Most likely, you are not even aware of them!
Do you accelerate through amber lights?
Are you failing to indicate?
Roundabouts aren’t your strongest forte?
You’re not alone.
We all have bad driving habits. It is easy to develop them, especially when we become comfortable with the road.
However, bad driving habits can damage our vehicle and what’s worse – they can jeopardise our own and other drivers’ safety.
It’s time to break those bad driving habits!
1. Failure to Indicate
The role of indicators is to let other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians know your next move so they can accommodate. If you fail to do so, everyone is in danger.
Whether you’re coming off a roundabout or changing lanes, you must indicate; otherwise, you aren’t practising safe driving. And keep in mind that indicating doesn’t give you the right of way!
Always drive taking other users of the road into account.
Research from 2017 conducted amongst 3,461 car owners in Ireland, showed that tailgating was the most annoying driving habit.
Driving too close behind the car in front is known as tailgating.
But what is too close?
In the “Rules of the Road” handbook, The Road Safety Authority advises the drivers to make sure they are at least two seconds behind the vehicle in front of them.If your car passes the same marker or sign before you have finished saying “Only a fool breaks a two-second rule”, then you are too close to the vehicle in front, and you are tailgating.
The two-second rule will help you maintain a safe distance and determine whether you’re driving to close to the car in front.
3. Not Checking Blind Spots
Blindspot is an area around your vehicle that you, as a driver, can’t observe. Before making any manoeuvres on the road, you need to check your mirrors, side and rear, for blind spots.
However, there still can be certain areas you won’t be able to see unless you perform a safety check before making any moves, such as changing lanes. Always do a quick shoulder check!
Checking blind spots will help you spot a pedestrian, a cyclist or car coming up the side of your vehicle.
Speeding is one of the biggest challenges in road safety.
Key findings in the Survey Report (2018) by The Road Safety Authority have shown:
- The percentage of car drivers breaking the speed limit on urban roads was 52%
- The percentage of cars speeding on motorways is 23%
- The percentage of cars speeding on dual carriageways–100kph increased from 34% in 2016 to 44% in 2018
- The percentage of cars speeding on regional 80km/roads increased from 39% in 2016 to 50% in 2018
Many drivers prefer to drive faster despite the risk, fines and losing penalty points.
Ireland uses penalty points to enforce the Rules of the Road and improve road safety.
A fixed charge fine of €80, with three penalty points, will apply for a speeding offence.
Exceeding the speed limit is tempting and easy; however, speeding endangers everyone on the road, and it is the biggest contributing factor to road deaths in the Republic of Ireland.
If you hit a person on the road:
- At 30 km per hour, 1 in 10 pedestrians will die
- At 50 km per hour, 5 in 10 pedestrians will die
- At 60 km per hour, 9 in 10 pedestrians will die*
5. Accelerating Through Amber Lights
An amber light means that you must not go beyond the stop line or, if there is no stop line, beyond the light. However, you may go on if you are so close to the line or the light when the amber light first appears that stopping would be dangerous.
Unfortunately, some drivers in Ireland would interpret the amber light as a sign to accelerate off as fast as possible, which can lead to an accident.
6. Using a Mobile Phone
The biggest distraction for drivers is the mobile phone. Even though using them when driving is killing people on Irish roads, drivers continue to text, make phone calls, or update their social pages while driving.
Your mobile phone makes you four times more likely to crash.
You can only use your mobile when you’re driving if you are phoning 999 or 112 or in an emergency. If the Gardaí charge you with a mobile and driving offence, you will get a fixed charged notice of €60.
The safe control of your vehicle is your responsibility, so if you need to use your mobile phone, stop your car and then check for messages and return any calls.
How many of these driving habits are you guilty of?
With experience, overconfidence often follows when it comes to driving; however, bad driving habits can have a fatal outcome, so we need to relearn how to drive and become committed to making that change, to keep ourselves and others road users safe.