Perhaps you’ve heard this old joke: “Everyone who drives faster than me is a maniac. Everyone who drives slower than me is an idiot.” With all the drivers out there (of every designation) fighting for space on choked and busy roads, who can afford to nurse bad driving habits? And yet, we all have them. One moment we are driving along, deep in thought about the office or a family drama, and the next we are towing our car to the nearest auto repair shop.
On average, there are over six million car accidents each year. That is at least six million drivers﹘though probably close to double that, in the case of car accidents involving two cars﹘that are all victims of circumstance, whether that circumstance is their own bad habits or the bad driving of someone else on the road.
The Most Common Bad Habits
With all the data being collected yearly regarding car accidents and illegal activities, some interesting patterns are beginning to emerge regarding how frequently these bad habits are appearing. Of course, their existence as an accessory to car accidents serves as a stark reminder that most bad habits occur without ending up being reported by the police. Below is a list of the most common offenders. How many have you seen?
- Beating the Yellow Light. It is so common that many people look at it as a sort of contest of wills. The light turns yellow but the driver is still a good distance from the intersection. Not wanting to have to wait through another red light cycle, they accelerate through the yellow light hoping to beat it. Sometimes they do; sometimes they don’t. For the times that they don’t, and they barrel through the red light, the chances of an accident skyrocket ﹘especially when drivers that have already been waiting for their green punch on the gas the moment they get the go-ahead.
- Treating Traffic Signs Like Suggestions. Have you ever heard of the “California Stop?” Coined by law enforcement officials, the California Stop is when someone slows down to roll through a stop sign without actually coming to a complete stop. It’s a small example, but indicative of the sentiments held by many that traffic signs are more like suggestions than laws. This occurs most often in places that are well-known to the driver, like the neighborhood where they live. The problem with this﹘besides breaking the law﹘is that the brain can play tricks on you, and drivers often don’t “see” the abnormalities in places they know well, even if that abnormality is another person or vehicle.
- Ignoring Blind Spots. There are numerous bad habits that drivers indulge in every day on the road. Failing to check one’s blind spot is a great way for one’s vehicle to end up in the car repair shop. There is always the chance that some don’t check their blind spots because of an old injury to their arms or neck; regardless of why people don’t do it, buying some small inexpensive mirrors to attach to both side mirrors will help good habits to form.
- Aggressive Driving. There is driving confidently, and there is driving aggressively. The former is important so as not to inadvertently cause accidents with indecision and fear; the latter is a great way to see our South Salt Lake Master Muffler team again once you get towed to our garage. Aggressive driving could manifest as cutting off other drivers, tailgating, or even slowing down unnecessarily to rubberneck another accident. Selfish drivers are inherently aggressive drivers.
- Not Properly Tying Down Loads. Not every bad habit is a manifestation of selfishness or a misplaced sense of game-making behind the wheel. And yet, neglecting to secure a load that is being hauled﹘or even just littering in general﹘can be an extremely dangerous thing to do. Not only does over 10% of all litter on the roads occur because of poor trailer/truck bed etiquette, but dropping items on the road can only serve to cause accidents.
There are countless other bad habits on the road, and it is important to take personal inventory of the ones that you have. Without a positive change to become better drivers, we will all find ourselves making far too many unscheduled trips to the auto repair shop.