Time for part 2 of my top 10 driving habit hates, I could probably ramble on all day about this but I have reluctantly chosen the top 10 for your reading pleasure.
6. Slip Road Sausages. Now without the risk of sounding ageist or sexist I must say its normally old people or women I see do this. The current UK driving test makes no effort to teach drivers how to enter or exit a motorway and in some cases people can never actually drive on a motorway, this is bad news for motorway users. To enter a motorway from a slip road you accelerate until you are travelling at the same speed as cars in lane 1 or 2, you then adjust your speed so you slot nicely into a gap. Good drivers will see a car on the approach and generally move over allowing you to get into lane without any drama. What you shouldn’t to is crawl down the slip road and treat it like a junction by stopping or slowing down to a snails pace then pulling out causing everything to slow down or change lane in a panic. Alternatively do NOT drive down a slip road and expect the car you just pulled along side to slow down or change lane, you don’t know if the car cannot move over because of approaching traffic in lane 2 or unable to slow because of a tailgater in lane 1. Just time your entrance so you don’t cause the motorway to stop flowing.
7. I know the speed limit man. Normally this man drives 700 yards a week just to keep his car moving and to justify his road tax. His hobby is driving at the speed limit or slightly below no matter what is happening on the roads around him. They will normally enter the fast lane of a motorway for no reason whatsoever and hold steady at 69mph. Nothing at all will move this car from his new role as a mobile traffic calming measure, cars start taking to the hard shoulder just to get by this scourge of the motorway network, under no circumstance will this man speed up to overtake the car that is still 5 miles away!
8. Over dramatic lane changers. Once again this is a mans habit and is normally preformed by Audi or BMW fleet car owners (I guess they are fleet car owners as nobody would treat their own car like this). This behaviour normally takes place when you see the traffic calming signs indicating a reduced speed limit, more often than not its those long sections of roads that have an average speed setup. I value my license so when I hit these areas I stick cruise control on at 3 miles per hour more than the limit (43-53-63mph). Slow enough to keep the points at bay but fast enough to make progress. I will sit in the inside lane and plod along until I see the last yellow camera post, then I carry on at normal speeds. The aforementioned Audi/BMW driver will drive within an inch of your bumper then change lane like he is avoiding a collision with an orphaned child holding a puppy. He will overtake you like your standing still then slam on when the next camera comes into view. He will then drive at 12mph until you attempt to overtake him when he turns into NOBODY is overtaking me man.
9. Badly timed lane change person. Not limited to any one sex or vehicle, picture the scene, a wide open 3 lane motorway you are one of 6 cars in a 10 mile radius. You are doing 80-90 in lane 3, a lorry is doing 62mph in lane 1 being followed by John in his ford Fiesta and a white van is overtaking in lane 2 at 68mph. You are clearly moving faster than the other traffic (the miles of open road behind you is a huge give away). Then just as you are committed to passing the white van, John decides that he wants to get into lane 3 and overtake everyone but refuses to get up to a reasonable speed. You are then forced to brake hard and later peel your Ginsters Sausage roll off your dashboard and pray that your brake discs don’t weld themselves to your brake pads! They will then stay there until there is room to build a small town between him and the car in lane 2.
10. Congestion lane changers. These are much different to the dramatic lane changers previously mentioned. They attempt their lane changes in order to progress a tiny bit further up the order than everyone else.You know the sort, they start off behind you, then seconds later they are in the middle lane undertaking you, then they’re in front of you and as if by magic 5 minutes later they are behind you again looking more perplexed than usual. This normally happens 2 or 3 times and each time the driver starts turning into a dramatic lane changer until by chance they stumble upon the correct lane and exit the motorway no better off than when they started.
I know most people will attempt to defend most of the above actions but there is something that all drivers should know. SPEED DOESN’T KILL, it’s the sudden deceleration at the end of speed that kills. Statistically most motorway accidents are caused by something other than speed, a tired driver, a bad manoeuvre, lack of attention or just bad driving. Speed is just a factor that causes more damage, most motorway regulars are very considerate and safe drivers. You see them change lane with plenty of notice, move out of the way of approaching traffic and will let you pull out in front of them when both travelling at speed to overtake. Yes we drive 20-30mph faster than everybody else but we also drive hundreds of miles on a daily basis on the motorway. The people who drive in well maintained, safe, new and generally big powerful cars are driving well within their limits. The accidents are caused by stupid people who either drive outside of their limits or not according to the prevailing road conditions.
Most tailbacks aren’t caused by accidents or breakdowns, they are caused by the flow of traffic being disturbed. If you look at the motorway as a living thing, or even a river, it needs to flow. If something stops the flow, the depth increases up river, the same applies to motorways, if someone stops the flow of traffic then traffic thickens up the road. It doesn’t just take something stationary to stop the flow. If you were to travel at 70 miles per hour in average traffic then slam on your brakes and cause the car behind to brake then in about 5-10 minutes there will almost always be a queue. It’s like a ripple affect that works its way back causing cars to slow down until there is not enough room for cars to get back up to speed without slowing a car behind them down. This then causes a phantom tailback. This is why my top 10 of motorway peeves almost always involve someone breaking the flow of traffic.