Jess Shanahan writes: We are all human and we’re bound to make mistakes when driving but the least we can do is try to minimise those mistakes to keep the roads safe. Of course, there are always going to be people out there who do drive dangerously but let’s not add to that by making silly mistakes that only infuriate other drivers.
I’ve spent some time on Roadshamer.com looking at dashcam videos of drivers all over the world. While there’s some downright dangerous driving going on, a lot of these are simple mistakes that could be avoided. Here are the common mistakes that drivers make. I’m sure you can relate to these.
Most motorists tend to be pretty good at this but there are still people who don’t make the effort to click that indicator on. People need to know where you are going so if you change your road position, indicate.
This applies to car parks too. Just because it’s not technically a road, doesn’t mean people don’t need to know what you’re doing.
Improper lane discipline
Drivers need to make up their minds as to which lane they’re going to use. Pick one, if it’s not right you can simply indicate and change. Keep an eye our for signs and don’t straddle two lanes while you decide what’s right for you. Generally, if you’re going straight, stick to the left lane but if you’re not sure where you’re going coming up to a roundabout, choose the right lane as you can go all the way round if you need to.
Cutting up another driver
This is a trait of an aggressive driver but sometimes us normal folk might make a lane change or merge too close to another car. To avoid this, be patient, use your mirrors and check your blind spot.
Overtaking too close to a cyclist
Cyclists are leading the dashcam revolution and we’ve seen some astonishing displays of verbal and physical abuse against bike riders. There’s a definite divide between motorists and cyclists but the way to fix that is with respect for one another.
Anyone riding a bike on the road is vulnerable and while these road users do make mistakes, it’s worth remembering that any angry motorist could cause all sorts of damage to someone on a bike.
Overtaking a cyclist too close can be avoided, just be patient and wait for space to get past safely while giving as much room as is possible.
It’s also worth remembering that if a cyclist is in the middle of a lane, it means they don’t feel safe with anyone overtaking them. This isn’t just a way for them to annoy the car behind, it’s about their own safety.
This is more dangerous than you might think as it can annoy other road users so much that they overtake where it might not be safe to do so. Keep up with traffic and stick to the speed limit – if you can’t do this, at least keep your speed consistent.
Overuse of fog lights
Mist and light rain don’t warrant to use of fog lights. The rule for these conditions is that headlights must be used if the visibility is less than 100 metres (328 feet), if the conditions are worse than that, fog lights can be used but must be switched off when visibility improves.
Keep an eye on the conditions and use your fog lights sparingly as they can dazzle other motorists.
Travelling too close
When you’re driving in the dry, obey the two-second rule, double this if the roads are wet. Again, be patient if you’re stuck behind a slower driver and keep your distance until a time comes that it’s safe to overtake.
It’s important to remember that making the odd mistake doesn’t make you a bad driver and we need to be more tolerant of those people who do these things on the road. Before you feel that surge of road rage, consider whether you’ve made that kind of mistake in the past. If you have or could see it happening, just let it slide; the roads will be a happier place.