Another week, another roadrage story hits the headlines. Not only is it scary for the victim and other motorists in the vicinity, it’s also embarrassing to see someone lose their cool in such a way.
Sure, traffic jams suck and they cause stress and anxiety. Some people have no idea where they are going and you have to be on-guard in case they do something unexpectedly. Drivers who get freaked out on multi-lane highways or in busy areas are also a potential disaster waiting to happen.
But we’re all in it together and a little bit of consideration goes a long way. How about a thank you or sorry wave? This simple action rarely goes astray and can diffuse a moment of frustration.
Choosing to indulge in these behaviours is not only dangerous, it’s often illegal. Here are five things that make you look like an idiot on the road.
You’re in a rush and somehow you think that getting right up behind the car in front is going to get you there faster. It’s intimidating and could easily cause an accident that would only bring further delays. If traffic is crawling along, the driver of the vehicle in front of you is in the same boat you are.
Some people do it to prevent others merging, or if they want someone to get out of the right lane. No matter what the reason – and you may have a valid reason for being frustrated at the driver because they are engaging in one of the behaviours on this list – every driver around you is thinking the same thing. You both look like idiots and your actions could easily cause an accident. Tailgating is particularly risky when the road is wet or icy, and at high speeds when the distance you need to stop is far greater.
Keep Left Unless Overtaking
Alongside people who drive well below the speed limit, slow cars clogging up the right lane on a motorway is one of the most dangerous and road-rage inducing habits of ignorant drivers.
Don’t sit in the right lane oblivious to the queue building behind you – overtake and then merge back in to the left lane. Otherwise you'll just create a backlog of cars wanting to overtake that can lead to impatient people attempting stupid driving manoeuvres that will only end badly.
Despite the fact that I believe all merging traffic should follow the zipper rule, that’s not actually the case in reality. If there are line markings in the dash-dash-dash format of a broken line, vehicles in the lane that’s ending should give way to any traffic in the continuing lane. However, if there are no lines at the merge point, then the vehicle with its nose in front has right of way and this instigates the ‘merge like a zipper’ manoeuvre for all following traffic.
There are some who seem to get a buzz out of not letting a car in. It’s not a competition, and you don’t win if you cut less than a second off your own travel time. If you’re one of those who tailgate just so you can save yourself an insignificant amount of time, I hope you stub your toe on the kerb when you get out of the car.
Beeping the Horn
We’ve all done it when someone has cut us off, not indicated or braked late for a turn. However, horns should technically only be used to signal an emergency, and not to say “get out of my way”, “you’re an idiot”, or “see ya next time”.
How many times have you visited the relatives on a weekend, only to honk the horn and give them a big wave out the window as you drive away? While we’re at it, you’re also not supposed to put any part of your body outside of the vehicle while it is in motion.
And still on this subject. You don’t own the road or the lane you’re driving in. If someone indicates to merge, let them in. Don’t try and race them then smash the horn like a lunatic when they do exactly what they signalled they were going to do.
Maybe it’s because of the narrow, hilly roads and the lack of car parking at most residential properties, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be alone in proclaiming Sydney to be the home of the worst parkers in Australia.
Technically, you should leave one metre between your vehicle and the car in front and the one behind. Sydney-siders seem to think touch-parking is a talent – and I’m sure it’s more widespread than NSW alone. They’re wrong, it’s actually the most annoying thing you can do to your carpark neighbour, as there is literally no way to get out.
And yes, if you’re a perpetrator of this selfish behaviour, I’ve had to pretty much smash my fingers with a hammer to prevent myself from keying your car.
So, those are some of our pet hates... now tell us, what annoys you on the road?