Like a lot of people, I’m sure you’ll agree that you’re all too familiar with bad drivers. People who cut you off, text at the wheel, or think that speed limits are just for show seem to be everywhere. Whether they think they own the road or it’s totally unintentional, we’ve all had at least one brush with a driver who makes us scream words I’m not allowed to write here. These drivers pose a significant threat to themselves and everyone else on the road, so it’s important to know what to look for. Here are nine of the most common types of bad driver.
First of all, the “Good Samaritan”. It’s a shame that the name of such a well-meaning parable has to be turned on its head like this! The Good Samaritan can’t help but try to make things easier for other drivers whenever they come up to an intersection – whether the other drivers want their help or not! When there’s oncoming traffic that wants to turn, this irritating driver will wave them through. This is usually coupled with ignoring the drivers behind them who aren’t so generous! They mean well, but generally Good Samaritans only cause confusion, anger, and at worst accidents.
Next we have poor mergers. Ask anyone a decade or so older than you, and they’ll tell you that good merging seems to be a forgotten art. When they’re approaching the end of a lane, poor mergers will perform one of two equally dangerous manoeuvres. Some of them will try to merge way before the end of the lane they’re on, usually leading to a discord of horns and the stream of traffic having to slow down. Others have the opposite problem – running in the first lane as far as possible, and cutting off the drivers in the next lane at the last minute.
Next we have the drivers I refer to as “telepaths”. These are drivers who assume we all share their incredible gift for reading minds, and therefore don’t signal at all. These guys are mostly the product of sleepy, suburban areas, and cause absolute anarchy on the odd occasions when they leave their neighbourhood. When you think it’s safe to pull out and another car comes speeding across your path, you can imagine the danger you’re facing. Telepaths are loosely related to those drivers who flick on their signal several exists before their actual turning. Yes, signalling is one of the simplest parts of operating a car. However, don’t assume that everyone’s mastered it like you have!
Next up, we have a class of drivers who I refer to collectively as “Snow Patrol”. For a lot of Americans, owning a car means having to put up with snowy conditions in the winter. This, in turn, means getting up half an hour early just so you can go out in a blizzard and scrape all the ice and snow off of your windshield. Some drivers, however, simply don’t want to lose the beauty of that glistening snow. Instead, they’ll do a half-hearted job and hit the road with extremely limited vision, creating a massive hazard for anyone else using the road.
I’d say the worst driver on our roads is drink drivers. These maniacs are such a serious problem, I’ve skipped over the cutesy nickname and called them what they are. Statistics indicate that someone is injured due to drink driving in America every minute and a half, and people lose their lives due to drunk driving at a rate of one every 51 seconds. When you consider that most incidents of drink driving aren’t reported, you can see why I hold these drivers as the worst of the worst. Here’s a drunk driving accidents FAQ if you’d like to find out more.
Another driver to watch out for are on-ramp snails. Every four-lane highway in America has its speed posted at the start. Despite this, some drivers think that this is more of a guideline than a rule intended to save lives. The on-ramp snail will join their lane and trundle along at a… well, snail’s pace. This causes enough mayhem at the outset, but puts everyone in serious danger when they try to merge. Someone needs to tell these drivers to get up to speed immediately, rather than five kilometres further along.
Perhaps the most common form of bad driver is tailgaters. All of us have either been the victim of a tailgater, or been one ourselves. This type will drive so that the front of their car is within a few inches of your rear bumper, aiming to make you move over so they can get to their very important business. Some of the more obnoxious tailgaters will even flash their high beams or cause their car to swerve left and right to get your attention. It may be satisfying to make it difficult for them, but it’s always best to let tailgaters pass.
Next, we have the useless parallel parkers. If I remember correctly, this manoeuvre is one of the things you have to do in order to pass your driving test. Logically, a lot of people should have their licenses revoked! The country is full of parallel parkers who rely more on luck and guesswork than their mirrors. Sure, parallel parking is a tough thing to master. However, most of us know better than to simply leave the car at an odd angle.
Finally, we have left lane thieves. These are drivers with absolutely no sense of time or place. In the majority of jurisdictions, the left lane is used for higher speeds whereas the right is for slow driving. Common knowledge, right? Apparently not! Left lane thieves are more than happy to cruise and linger along the far left, driving well below the given speed limit. If you’ve ever been stuck behind one of these drivers, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. Left lane thieves are often the cause of road rage, dangerous passes, and other examples of aggressive driving.