/ Motoring

Poll results: your biggest driving pet hate is tailgating

Tailgating appears to be the biggest cause of road rage among drivers on Which? Conversation. It came out on top in our poll of drivers’ biggest pet hates, but what else winds you up?

Dave Evans’ Conversation on bad driver habits prompted over 150 comments and 1,006 poll votes. So what’s driving you round the bend?

Almost a quarter of voters picked out motorists following too close behind – or tailgating – as their biggest irritant. This tallies with last year’s research from Admiral Insurance, showing that rear bumper crashes rose by 9% in the second half of 2010 and first half of 2011. Commenter Ed-first explains why tailgating is such a sin:

‘Setting yourself above others and actively pursuing this egocentric approach on the roads is dangerous in itself and gives rise to so many other risks. After being aggressively tailgated for instance, how long is it before you return your full attention to the road and begin to properly anticipate hazards again?’

Mobile phones and bad indication

Drivers using mobile phones was the second biggest irritant, accounting for 20% of your votes, suggesting that tougher penalties imposed in 2007 have failed to deter all motorists from using their phones behind the wheel.

Howard Danby can’t fathom out why drivers are still using mobiles in their cars:

‘You’d think that if they can afford x-thousands of pounds for a car then a couple of quid for hands-free Bluetooth set wouldn’t break the bank.’

Other road users hogging motorway lanes came in the third spot, with bad indication following close behind. This is contrary to the results of Confused.com’s survey last year, however, where 35% chose drivers failing to indicate as their biggest grievance on the road. Just 14% of Which? Conversation voters picked this option, but commenter Tony P thinks indication education needs to improve:

‘If these things are still being taught they are very rapidly being forgotten! All too many drivers these days seem to think that direction indicators are to be used to confirm that they are actually turning rather than to give advance notice of an intent.’

Putting the brakes on road rage

Other frustrations that riled Which? Convo readers included slow drivers, not letting other cars out of side roads at junctions, undertaking and litter being thrown out of car windows. But commenter ‘Just me’ gets annoyed when courtesy isn’t reciprocated:

‘It riles me and makes my blood boil if my courtesy is not recognised by other drivers, e.g. if I wave on a driver to join the queue I am in and they don’t acknowledge me with a wave, a flash of their lights or their indicators. I do it – and you appreciate it when it is done for you. Some people don’t think and are inconsiderate drivers.’

In situations of such sheer rage, Which? Car’s Dave Evans has these words of advice:

‘My years behind the wheel and undergoing advanced driver training courses have taught me two things for such circumstances.

‘The first is to try to anticipate when the actions of other road users might be hazardous to my safety. The second is to remain clam, even when something unexpected does happen.’

So do the results of our poll line up with your driver pet hates? Or is it more about being tolerant of other drivers’ bad habits? Or perhaps the results of our poll will make you look closer at your driving habits, like Louis:

‘One benefit of this discussion is that it has caused me to relook at my driving habits. I never realised that some of the things that I do may annoy others. This can only make me a better driver.’

Comments
Member

I have a very simple rule if I’m being tailgated – I slow down to a speed appropriate to the distance between the tailgating vehicle and mine. It is very annoying to the tailgater, and possibly induces a dangerous rage in them, but is the safest available option when dealing with idiots.

I should add that I’m more than happy for them to pass me and zoom off into the distance, but quite often they will pass and then pull in closely in front of me. In this case, the only option is to stop at the earliest opportunity (and hope that they’re not armed and dangerous!)

Member

I should add that I SAFELY slow down, I don’t slam on the brakes!

Member

Kermit, please only slow down when you see an opportunity for the car behind you to overtake. It could be that the car behind you is not a tailgating moron, but an advanced motorist who is preparing to overtake. That’s normal and taught on the advanced motoring course.

Member

I don’t need lessons in distinguishing advanced motorists from morons – I know the difference between tailgaters and overtakers.

Member

Slowing down seems sensible. If you slow down, the stopping distance in an emergency is reduced. If someone is too close behind, I will slow down. It is better than taking the chance of both of us ending up in a mortuary.

Member

‘It riles me and makes my blood boil if my courtesy is not recognised
by other drivers, e.g. if I wave on a driver to join the queue I am in and they
don’t acknowledge me with a wave, a flash of their lights or their indicators.
I do it – and you appreciate it when it is done for you. Some people don’t
think and are inconsiderate drivers.’

My personal experience of using the the A 40 when returning
from central London was in every single instance almost without
exception there was an appropriate acknowledgement of thanks
in respect of a courtesy accorded, by/to self and as to
other drivers.

Perhaps drivers in London are a more considerate lot in this
respect.

Member

‘It riles me and makes my blood boil if my courtesy is not recognised
by other drivers, e.g. if I wave on a driver to join the queue I am in and they
don’t acknowledge me with a wave, a flash of their lights or their indicators.
I do it – and you appreciate it when it is done for you. Some people don’t
think and are inconsiderate drivers.’

Waving is an unauthorised signal and flashing of lights or indicators must be used only in the circumstances mentioned in the highway code. Waving on in particular can be dangerous. I much prefer to respect the rules. I will not normally acknowledge someone who does not.

Member
JamesAard1 says:
28 January 2012

Whilst we all dislike the act of tailgating per se, the act of driving ‘too slowly’ or slowing down purposefully can cause more harm than good, especially as roads are intended for fast (compared to walking or riding a horse) and efficient travel from place to place. Apart from the fact that there is, in the main, no need to drive excessively slowly anywhere except where the road conditions/environment dictate, as is rightly stated in the highway code.
I certainly feel that traffic speeds are slowing down too much of late. Probably due to either the old age of drivers, overly worried health and safety freaks or those attempting to save petrol with our high fuel prices. There are also many drivers who seem to think that driving at a constant 40mph is fine, which is also very annoying and dangerous.
Those who live next to busy roads simply must move away and stop complaining. Those who drive too slowly should think why they are in a car and whether their journey is really necessary as there are those of us who use the road as part of our business and aren’t paid to drive and need to get from A to B quickly and efficiently and safely.