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RAC survey reveals 10 most inconsiderate driving habits

The RAC has revealed the top 10 most inconsiderate driving habits, according to UK motorists – and almost all will probably come as no surprise. Read on to find out the very worst offenders.

Anyone who drives in the UK will have built up their fair share of annoying habits committed by other drivers, but a recent RAC Insurance survey of motorists has revealed exactly which habits we dislike most.

When asked 'what are the most inconsiderate driving behaviours?', 2,100 UK motorists replied with the following pet peeves. Here are the top 10, in order of least to most annoying, and what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes (because no one likes a hypocrite).

10) Using the horn in anger

27 per cent of respondents admitted they really dislike it when other motorists use the horn in anger. It is, after all, meant to be used for letting other people know you are coming round a corner – not saying hello to friends.

What you should do: Use it to warn someone of danger.

9) Not giving cyclists space

A little up in the list from using the horn in anger was failing to give cyclists the space to do their thing. It is not only dangerous because bicycles offer much less protection than a car, it is also wrong to get annoyed when they cycle two-abreast – as everyone does in a car. Even if they are blind drunk or painfully slow, be patient.

What you should do: Wait until you can pass with around a metre of distance where possible.

8) Ignoring speed limits

30 per cent said a disregard for speed limits was a driving annoyance, which is quite far down the list considering it can be dangerous. Hitting a child at 40mph in a 20 zone is much more likely to kill them than at 30mph. If you are worried about being late, leave earlier next time and save speed for the track.

What you should do: Adhere to the speed limit.

7) Failing to slow down for horses

Okay, so horses defecate all over the road but they are still road users. By speeding past them, you increase the risk they go all crazy and throw the rider over the back, which is going to hurt. Drop the revs and drive around them slowly or risk the wrath of 34 per cent of respondents.

What you should do: Slow down for horses and keep speed and revs low until well clear.

6) Being impolite

Manners maketh man (and woman) is a well-known saying, but it seems to go out of the proverbial window when people drive. No wonder, then, 43 per cent had an issue with other motorists forgetting to say thanks when let out of a junction or for giving way, putting it in sixth place.

What you should do: Nod the head, give a thumb-up, flash the hazards – just say thanks.

5) Parking badly

Bad parking gets a lot of flak from considerate motorists, but it is not always easy to tell if the car is parked badly because they were lazy and thought parking across two spaces was sensible, or because they had to park around the original offender. Either way, it came in fifth place with 45 per cent of the vote.

What you should do: Park with other motorists in mind.

4) Resorting to road rage

Don't get angry, get even. Just kidding – that attitude is the sort that leads to those terrifying videos in America where one bloke gets out and then finds himself at the wrong end of a Desert Eagle handgun. Or a baseball bat. As annoying as you find the other motorists, be the bigger person and walk away. Well, drive away. In doing so, you can avoid committing the fourth most annoying behaviour.

What you should do: Not get a bigger bat. Instead, relax and avoid any conflict.

3) Tailgating drivers

Heading into a podium finish, but not in a good way, is failing to leave a big enough distance between the car in front, which scored 51 per cent of the vote. It can seem like the only way to get a slow driver in the outside lane to move over, but it only takes the driver in front to slam on the brakes and a small delay becomes a very long one. Keep a safe distance (the faster you are, the bigger it should be) and account for different weather conditions.

What you should do: Leave a safe distance, as per the Highway Code.

2) Hogging the middle lane

In second place, with 56 per cent, is hogging the middle lane on a motorway. This can be difficult to avoid if you are on a busy stretch and pulling into the inside lane would mean getting stuck between HGV vehicles, but there is no excuse otherwise. The Highway Code says you should "always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear" and now you can land yourself a £100 fine for breaking the rule.

What you should do: Only use the middle and outer lane when passing traffic.

1) Forgetting to indicate

Top of the list, with 58 per cent, is a rather common complaint: Failing to indicate. This is especially annoying for drivers trying to enter a roundabout safely in busy traffic, but it can catch drivers out who fail to leave a big enough space between themselves and the car in front, which just decided to slam on the brakes to veer into Asda at short notice.

What you should do: Mirror, signal, manoeuvre. Indicate as appropriate.

Inconsiderating driving: The final thought

“There are a variety of behaviours at the wheel that motorists class as being inconsiderate, most of which involve deliberate acts which are blatantly thoughtless, but the top answer of ‘not indicating clearly’ is probably more due to misunderstanding or forgetfulness," said RAC Insurance spokesman Simon Williams. 

He added: “The confusion that it can cause is no doubt responsible for, at worst, accidents and, at best, needless wasted seconds of waiting only to find out the driver wasn’t really going where you thought they were.

"The biggest example of ‘indicator confusion’ has to be at roundabouts. There seem to be different schools of thought on how to signal at roundabout and very few that follow the rules set out in Rule 186 of the Highway Code.

"If more of us were to follow the indicating rules there would probably be fewer bumps." Amen to that.

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