Top 5 Ways to Spot Bad Drivers on the Road
December 10, 2009 by Zach Bowman, Contributing Editor
Everyone likes to think they’re the best driver on the road, but the truth is some of us are better than others. Whether it’s the slowpoke in the left lane or the guy next to you riding his brakes unnecessarily, it’s easy to spot a bad driver. Check out DriverSide’s top five surefire ways to spot bad drivers on the road. Take a look to make sure some of your habits aren’t driving your fellow commuters up the wall.
The brake check
This is probably one of the most dangerous maneuvers in the bad driver repertoire. You’ve seen plenty of tailgaters. While tailgating is pretty risky business, it pales in comparison to the brake check. Instead of pulling over or changing lanes, a bad driver may abruptly apply the brakes in order to dissuade a tailgater. The drivers behind them must then also quickly apply their brakes, and if someone’s not paying attention there could be a serious accident.
Not using turning indicators
Believe it or not, a vehicle’s turning indicators are there for a reason. We’ve all seen people on the road switch lanes without bothering to initiate their ambers, or worse, sit at an intersection without hinting to other drivers their intended direction of travel. Just like burning your headlights during foul weather, using your vehicle’s turn indicators is the best way to communicate your intentions to other drivers. When drivers know which direction you’re headed, you’re less likely to cause an accident. It’s common sense.
No headlights in foul weather
How often do you see a driver in a silver or grey car driving around in the rain without their headlights on? Some states, like Virginia, have laws specifically centered around increasing driver visibility in foul weather. As a simple rule of thumb, if your windshield wipers are on, your headlights should also be on, even if it’s during the middle of the day. This has less to do with what you can see from behind the wheel and more to do with making your vehicle visible to other drivers on the road. Simply taking the time to turn on your headlights could mean the difference between getting where you’re going and getting in an accident.
Passing on the right
Passing on the right is illegal in most instances for a reason. It’s dangerous. As tempting as it is to slip around that semi hanging out in the left lane, doing so could put you and everyone else around you in a serious predicament. Most drivers don’t expect someone to pass them on the right, and as such they usually don’t check their right blind spot as often as their left. That means those that go for the right lane pass can wind up pinched between another car and the guardrail in a hurry. Stick to passing on the left.
Sitting in the left lane
It’s hard to tell exactly what makes a driver want to set up camp in the left lane. Nearly every state has a law in place to deter holding up traffic, but they’re rarely enforced. The result is one lone wolf puttering along in the passing lane. Even if they’re holding the speed limit, those drivers are still endangering those around them. Why? Driving slower than the flow of traffic in the left lane causes other drivers on the road to make poor, dangerous decisions when it comes to getting around them. That includes the previously mentioned way to spot a bad driver – passing on the right.