Bad driving


Bad driving…it’s a scourge to motorists all over the world and unfortunately no matter where you go, you’ll always come across bad drivers. But what exactly is bad driving? Many of us know it when we see it and yet many struggle to properly describe it. There are many causes for bad driving and here at CompareNI we’ve decided to investigate a little further into what exactly makes a bad driver. Is it bad habits? a dangerous car? simply not driving at the right speed? we’re here to find out.

Bad habits of bad drivers

Firstly, bad drivers are usually considered a pain or risk to others. Bad driving isn’t just simply someone who breaks road rules. It’s a failure to show consideration for the other motorists that they share the road with. For example cutting people off, driving too slow or fast, weaving in and out of traffic, these are all things that get right under the skin of other drivers. Not to mention blasting music in your car to obnoxious levels. Breaking too quickly is also another thing that bad drivers do which is more than just annoying, it’s dangerous. Not giving ample time for drivers behind you to react only increases the chances of an accident, and if you are unfortunate enough to cause a crash, you may not be able to get away with blaming it on the driver behind you. This also means your insurance may consider it an at-fault accident if you braked suddenly and didn’t give the other driver sufficient time to react.

In short, the first step to being a bad driver is to not care about other motorists and how you may be annoying or even putting them at risk. So being considerate is the first step to avoid being a bad driver.

Some other horrible habits that result in bad driving are

  • Using your phone whilst driving
  • Driving while you’re tired or impaired
  • Failing to signal

More serious bad driving habits

Whilst the above can put others at risk or just simply be annoying, the following habits and behaviours are more serious violations and can result in hefty fines, penalties and charges should you be caught.

  • Firstly is failing to stop at signs and red lights, attempting to run a red or yellow is also terrible driving and can endanger others.
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol can significantly increase the chances of serious accidents
  • Driving a poorly maintained or unsafe car that has breaking issues, lights that don’t work, flat tires etc are all setting yourself up for disaster on the road.
  • Not driving to the weather conditions is also asking for trouble.
  • Speeding

All of the above will also attract the attention of law enforcement and even if you don’t cause an accident, you’re bad driving will still likely cost you.

Why am I so bad at driving?

The number one cause of bad driving in the UK is distracted driving. If you think you are a bad driver it may be because you aren’t fully focused. Switch off all phones and make sure any pets are settled before driving so they won’t be a distraction. It can be easy to zoom out on the road sometimes and to have your mind wander, but stay focused. Letting your attention drift from the road means you are more likely to make a mistake. You may also lack confidence behind the wheel. Passing a driving test is sometimes not enough to alleviate the fear of going on a busy motorway or driving your car in a busy area. If needed, simply practice improving your driving in an area you feel is less stressful and build up your driving skills. Bad driving can be overcome with the right attitude and practice. Form good driving habits and your driving skills will improve naturally.

Why is it bad technique to coast when driving downhill?

Coast driving is when you allow your car to roll downhill without using the engine or brakes to slow it down. This can be done by shifting into neutral or by taking your foot off the gas pedal. Some people do this for fun or the false assumption that it saves fuel…it doesn’t.

There are a few reasons why it’s bad driving to coast downhill.

  • Firstly it does not save fuel, in fact the engine is still running but producing no power so you’re actually wasting fuel
  • You have less control of the car as you will be relying on the breaks only if you need to stop which can be dangerous at speed
  • You’ll also put your breaks under a lot of stress

It is more safe to simply slow your car down and to use the engine and brakes to control the speed as you go downhill.

What makes some people bad drivers?

There is no one answer to this. Unfortunately some drivers just don’t care enough about the consequences and how they might affect others to drive responsibly. Other people may have just picked up bad habits but don’t want to be bad drivers. There is also evidence modern cars may be making people worse drivers with increasingly distracting features and functions.

For example many modern family cars come with touch screens for controlling volumes, temperatures and showing fuel. Many drivers in our survey said that they found touch screens to be distracting.

Do you find ‘touch screen’ buttons in the car distracting? 
CNot applicable20%

On top of this, nearly 50% of respondents use an automated feature of their car at least once every time they drive. In future this is likely to increase as cars become more automated and less reliant of human control. What impact this will have on the skills and safety awareness of future motorists will need to be seen.

How do I report bad driving?

If you’ve seen someone driving recklessly or in a way that endangers others then you can report the driver to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV may be able to suspend or revoke the driver’s licence if there is sufficient evidence against them. You will need the number plate as a minimum to report a bad driver, along with additional details such as when and where the incident took place. Alternatively you can contact the police if you think that someone’s bad driving is causing a serious risk to life and property.

How to be a better driver

Being a better driver is something all motorists should at least attempt to be. Obeying the road rules, being aware of your surroundings, checking your mirrors and being considerate of other drivers are all key. If your car has a modern touch screen and control features, be wary of getting distracted. Avoid eating, using phones and anything else that takes your hands off the wheel.

You can also regularly get your car checked and maintained so you don’t run into nasty surprises or breakdowns on the road. Taking defensive driving lessons is also another great way of improving your skills and driving habits.

How will bad driving impact your insurance?

Bad driving can be costly. If you get any penalty points and fines you can find your premiums increasing steeply, even if you don’t have a formal conviction on your driving record. Bad drivers aren’t just a risk to insurers but also to everybody. Bad drivers push up premiums for all motorists as insurers seek to reduce their risk of needing to pay out claims. The more bad drivers in an area the higher you can expect to pay on your premiums. In fact, just one penalty point can increase your premiums by as much as 25% with some insurers.

It pays not to be a bad driver!

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Our findings are based on a randomised survey of 1,000 respondents across the UK, which represents a margin of error of approximately 5% at a 95% confidence level.

*51% of consumers could save £529.95 on their Car Insurance. The saving was calculated by comparing the cheapest price found with the average of the next five cheapest prices quoted by insurance providers on Seopa Ltd’s insurance comparison website. This is based on representative cost savings from February 2024 data. The savings you could achieve are dependent on your individual circumstances and how you selected your current insurance supplier.