Annoying Things People Do on the Roads

Unfortunately far too many drivers never think of reading the Highway Code after they've passed their test - and it shows in their behaviour behind the wheel! This page is mainly serious, but partly tongue-in-cheek, and it's a personal list of things I see that annoy me - it doesn't claim to be a list of the "twenty most serious traffic violations". There are some highly dangerous things that people do on the roads that, fortunately, I rarely if ever witness.

  • Leaving rear fog lights on when not foggy, particularly in the rain
  • Using front fog lights at the same time as headlights when not foggy
  • Using front fog lights without headlights
  • Having badly adjusted, dazzling headlights
  • Those people (and I have come across them) who drive around in all conditions with headlights on full beam
  • People who drive on unlit rural roads at night on dipped beams, making it very difficult for those following them to see the road ahead properly, particularly if they're looking to overtake
  • Parking with headlights on, particularly on the wrong side of the road
  • Driving with headlights on in broad daylight (particularly if not a Volvo owner)
  • Sitting at traffic lights with your foot on the brake pedal thus dazzling the driver behind. Use your handbrake!
  • Driving far too close to your back bumper
  • Other drivers crawling all over the back of you when you're maintaining a cautious, safe speed in a busy urban environment and there's no prospect of overtaking anyway
  • Cars behind moving as if to overtake on the left if you move more than two feet from the kerb to get better visibility
  • Driving at 40 mph on roads where 60 is a perfectly sensible and legal speed, then maintaining that speed unchanged when entering a 30 limit
  • Other drivers who pull out into a very marginal gap right in front of you and then proceed at a speed well below the posted limit - what on earth was the hurry?
  • Parking your car on the road when you have a driveway and a garage
  • People who insist on keeping Transits and box vans parked on the road overnight in residential areas
  • Parking on the pavement - occasionally excusable, but generally just thoughtless and selfish
  • Believing that using hazard flashers gives you the right to park anywhere for whatever reason
  • Drivers who brake to well below the posted limit when passing a speed camera
  • And those who brake for Gatsos pointing in the opposite direction that can't possibly catch them
  • Staying in the middle lane on the motorway when the inside lane is clear for half a mile ahead
  • But the driver who ostentatiously cuts across the bows of a middle lane hogger into Lane 1, and then has to pull out a few seconds later, is just as bad, and arguably more dangerous
  • Queues of tailgaters in Lane 3 of the motorway - although now I can normally take advantage of Highway Code Rule 242 and pass them on the inside
  • Abruptly changing lanes at the last possible moment at motorway exits - sometimes leaving it too late and crossing the hatched area
  • Lorries overtaking each other with a negligible speed differential (although given that they are compelled to have speed limiters this is not entirely the fault of the drivers)
  • And car drivers who catch up with a slower lorry on the motorway and then realise at the last minute that they want to overtake it. Have they never heard of looking well ahead?
  • Drivers who regard your carefully-created two second gap as a convenient space to slot into
  • Applying the brakes whenever a vehicle approaches in the opposite direction
  • Driving while using a hand-held mobile phone. This really does annoy me, particularly after the recent case where a lorry driver killed a man standing by his car in a layby because he was distracted by composing a text message on his phone. It's good to see the government have grasped the nettle of making this a specific offence, at least when done at normal road speeds, not sitting in a queue, punishable by 3 penalty points as with speeding.
  • The three drivers who follow you through after you've made what you think is a fairly marginal decision to go through an amber traffic light
  • Aggressive tailgating and risky overtaking in urban areas where any advantage gained will be at best minimal
  • Allowing a large queue to build up behind but remaining completely oblivious of it
  • Following another vehicle with no intention of overtaking it, but failing to leave a gap to allow others to do so
  • Extremely slow drivers reacting with annoyance when overtaken
  • Driving for miles a few feet from the back bumper of an HGV - not only is this dangerous, it gives an appalling view!
  • Car drivers who are overtaken by HGVs on the motorway - if you or your vehicle can't maintain a cruising speed of 56 mph, you shouldn't be on the motorway in the first place
  • And how many times do you see a queue of cars on a single-carriageway road following an HGV, only to find some numpty in a Nissan Micra dawdling along in front of the HGV? I am reluctant to stereotype the drivers of particular types of car, but Micra drivers must be the worst on the road for general slowness and lack of awareness of what is going on around them
  • Other drivers who follow you for miles on the motorway sitting one lane to the right in your blind spot
  • Any driver who thinks it is his business to force others to adhere to the rules of the road
  • Inching forward riding the clutch at red traffic lights
  • Blowing the horn if cars ahead at a junction fail to move out into a constant stream of traffic
  • Failing to indicate where it is necessary
  • Driving with your right arm resting on the window sill - usually a sign of a mind in cruise control
  • Likewise driving hunched forward over the steering wheel generally indicates an extremely timid and nervous approach
  • Driving out of the McDonalds drive-thru chomping on a Big Mac (the police could profitably spend more time lurking outside McDonalds rather than country pubs)
  • Men sitting in cars in freezing weather in their shirtsleeves. Look, mate, it just isn't that warm, particularly in the first few miles. You never see women doing that. Stop the macho posturing and put your jacket back on!
    (This may sound a trivial, fussy point, but it has a sound scientific basis. Apparently getting into a freezing car without warm clothing can cause traumatic shock, greatly increasing the risk of stroke and heart attack. Far safer to be too warm in the latter part of the journey than too cold early on)
  • Pedestrians crossing the road very slowly making imitation running movements
  • Aggressive loitering in the road by pedestrians, especially teenage boys
  • Pedestrians who seem totally confused when trying to cross a side road where a car is waiting to turn into the main road
  • Playing deafeningly loud dance music in cars (not only is it dangerous and offputting both to the driver and others, it's also crap music - what's wrong with "Born to be Wild" by Steppenwolf?)

Special Cycling Section:

  • Cycling at night without lights
  • Going through red lights
  • Cycling on the pavement
  • Going the wrong way down one-way streets
  • Pulling out to overtake parked cars without checking behind
  • Tucking close in to the left and emerging at speed from side roads without looking
  • Cycling when drunk - they may abhor drink-driving, but they seem to think this is OK, despite Highway Code Rule 53
(All of these are not only annoying and illegal but dangerous both for the cyclist and others, particularly pedestrians. I should point out that I'm not trying to tar all cyclists with the same brush. Many cyclists don't regard the people who do these things as cyclists, but rather as irresponsible buffoons who happen to ride bikes. Perhaps we just notice them more when they do stupid things)

The following site lists the author Chris Longhurst's Pet Peeves about driving in the UK, covering some of the same ground as this page.

(Last updated January 2008)

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