Bad driving habits
Wed Aug 18 2021
Most of you reading this will believe you are brilliant drivers, but of course we can’t all be perfect. There are many bad driving habits that people are guilty of, some of these bad driving habits can damage your car, some are illegal, some annoying, and some are dangerous.
Being aware of these bad habits can only improve you as a driver as you can try to eradicate them. Below we will list some of the worst ones.
Keeping your hand on the gear stick
Maybe you do this as you think it’s a cool look, but what you may not know is that you could be causing damage to your vehicle. The gear stick itself is connected to a selector fork which is then connected to a rotating collar. The selector fork should only be in contact with the rotating collar for a moment, but if you keep your hand rested on the gear stick you will be constantly applying pressure to the selector fork. You should have both hands on the steering wheel as much as possible, for many reasons, one of them is to stop you potentially damaging the components of your gear box.
Parking on the pavement
Parking on the pavement isn’t actually illegal outside of London, and sometimes it is unavoidable, but you shouldn’t be parking on the pavement in a way that blocks wheelchair users, prams, or anyone with visual impairments, as this could force them to walk onto the road to get around your car. Not only is this dangerous but it is inconsiderate.
Hitting potholes and speed bumps
Everyone driving in the UK must be used to potholes by now as they are a very common sight. Sometimes avoiding them can be difficult, but you should look out for them, as hitting them at speed can cause damage to your wheels, suspension springs and alloys. The same goes for hitting speed bumps.
Stopping in box junctions
Box junctions contain lines in a grid pattern, and are often coloured yellow. These are there to prevent build up of traffic by keeping junctions clear even during the busy periods. If you can see there is no room for you to move up ahead, meaning you would be stuck in the box, you need to wait behind until it's clear for you to go. Anyone who stops in one of these box junctions is only going to hold up traffic. These box junctions are not signposted usually so you just need to be aware of the road and what’s coming up in front of you. You will also see these types of box junctions outside places like hospitals, so ambulances always have a clear path through.
Driving with an empty tank
If your vehicle is low on fuel, driving it could put a huge strain on the fuel pump which can cause it to overheat. The standard advice is that you should try and keep your tank at least a quarter full at all times. We do understand the fuel is not cheap, and it is not always easy to keep it topped up, but replacing your fuel pump after it overheats would be even more expensive.
Not using your indicator
This is another one that everyone knows they should be doing, but not everyone does. It is definitely a bad driving habit to avoid using your indicator, especially when it is so easy to do, using your indicator gives road users around you pre warnings about what action you are about to take, and of course this is much safer. It should be general practice to always use your indicator when turning, even if you believe the road is clear and there is no one behind you, just make it a good habit to always use it. On a separate note, it should also be said that just because you use your indicator it does not mean you have an automatic right to then merge into traffic, or switch lanes when there is not enough space. Use your indicator but use it correctly.
Running red lights
This one should be completely obvious but many people do it, especially if the light has only just turned red, but it is highly dangerous. It is also illegal for cyclists to run through a red light. As well as the danger aspect it is of course illegal. Even if you only just slightly cross the white line when the light is red you could be hit with a £100 fine and three points on your licence.
Riding brakes downhill
This of course refers to the habit of pressing your brakes the whole way down a hill. The correct thing to do when driving downhill is to drop to a lower gear and allow the engine to control the speed whilst just applying some light braking. If you do press your brakes all the way down a hill it can cause wear and tear and overheating in the rotors and brake pads.
Coasting is when you keep your foot on the clutch when it is not needed, which makes the vehicle move without using its engine. Doing this allows the vehicle to keep on moving whilst not in gear. The main problem with coasting is that it is dangerous, as you eliminate the option of engine braking and your steering response will be affected negatively, especially on corners. As well as being dangerous it causes serious wear and tear on the brake pedals and the engines rotar, so you are damaging your vehicle.
This refers to driving too close to the vehicle in front of you. Not only is this a major annoyance to the driver in front but it's also highly dangerous. The driver in front will be anxious of what's going on, and will constantly look in their rearview mirror, which could lead to them making a mistake. Also if they need to suddenly brake then there is a good chance that you will end up crashing into the back of them as you haven’t left enough room. Just give the driver some room and use a little patience, doing this means you are a considerate and safe driver.
Leaving your full beam lights on
Use this when needed, turn them off when oncoming vehicles are approaching as it can be blinding. A great driving habit is to be considerate to other drivers.
Overloading your car
There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t overload your car, the main reason is it can affect the stability of your vehicle, and will also result in slower reaction times during emergencies as it puts pressure on your brakes and your suspension. It’s actually illegal to overload your car, so doing so can land you with a fine and points on your licence. You should look through the manual of your car as it should tell you the maximum weight you should be loading into your car.