According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, there were more than 208 million licensed drivers in 2008. The top eight states for licensed drivers are also among the worst for safe, sensible drivers’ peace of mind. These include California, Texas, Florida, New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, and Michigan. More cars on the road equal more opportunity for frustration as a result of dumb driver behavior.
What kind of driver behavior drives you crazy? Here at Family Car Guide we’ve come up with the following:
Driver preoccupation – This is an equal-opportunity crazy-maker affecting young and old drivers, every walk of life, nationality, socioeconomic status – you name it. It doesn’t matter if you’re behind, in front of, or driving alongside a preoccupied driver, you know the behavior when you see it. Something’s on that driver’s mind – and it isn’t the road or the fact that they’re piloting a potentially lethal weapon. Argument with the spouse, kids fussing around in the back seat, left the computer or TV on, need to get to the store before it closes, practicing what to say in an office meeting – when drivers aren’t giving their full attention to the road, it’s a recipe for disaster.
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Texting – This nutty driver behavior is all by itself, since it’s so dangerous, illegal in most states, and continues unabated despite PSA campaigns warning of the dangers of texting and driving. Again, all ages of drivers are guilty of this type of behavior, although more young people do it than any other age. Although surveys of texting drivers reveal that they know it’s wrong and dangerous, many say they’ll continue to do it. See that driver trying to hide what they’re doing? Watch the vehicle veer over the yellow line or into adjacent lanes. It’s a cinch they’re either texting, using a cell phone, or drunk. Major problem on American roads and highways.
Eating, reading, applying makeup, etc. – More examples of distracted driving include drivers who eat or drink behind the wheel, attempt to read newspapers, books, charts, Kindle and so on while driving, applying makeup, fussing with hair, reaching for something in the backseat or on the floor, and changing CDs. The only time when these types of behavior would be acceptable is when cars drive themselves – or you have a chauffeur. Not in the cards for most drivers – and it’s behavior that drives the rest of us crazy.
Turn signal no-nos – We’re grouping a number of erratic driver behaviors involving turn signals together, since they’re all dumb moves and cause the rest of us to try to anticipate what said inconsiderate drivers are about to do next. First is the habit of failure to use a turn signal to signal a turn or lane change. Second is failure to turn off the turn signal once a lane change has occurred. You’ve seen these drivers on the freeway and surface streets. Are they going to merge into the exit lane or keep going? Another is putting on the turn indicator miles before getting off a freeway. This is usually accompanied by driving too slow, since the driver either doesn’t know where the exit is or is just way too cautious.
Tailgating – Depending on where you most often drive, this may be a problem on the freeway or surface streets. But when you can see only the windshield of the car behind you, it’s a sure sign the driver is following too close. You only have to be rear-ended once by a too-close driver jumping on the accelerator after a light change to appreciate how nuts such behavior is. Really, does tailgating get the driver where they want to go any faster? Not only that, but on the freeway tailgating can result in serious injuries or fatalities.