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The most hated driving habits and what you can do about them

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Our research reveals that tailgating and unclear indicating are two of the most annoying driving habits. These habits could also put drivers and other road users in danger, so what can you do about them? We’ve taken the top 9 annoying driving habits and given you a way to deal with them.

We asked 2,000 drivers what driving habits annoy them the most. Here’s what they told us:

Driving Habit % of annoyed drivers*
Drivers who tailgate (driving too close to the vehicle in front)
Drivers who don’t indicate or don’t indicate correctly
Drivers who throw litter out of their window when driving
"Poor parking - for example, parking over 2 bays or blocking in another driver"
Drivers who cause you to brake suddenly because they change lanes without warning
Drivers who undercut
Drivers who stay in the middle lane when using a motorway
Drivers using their phone when they’re stopped in traffic or driving
Drivers with excessively loud exhausts

*Research carried out by One Poll on behalf of Confused.com of 2,000 UK drivers who have car insurance policies. This was conducted between 3 and 7 July 2023.

Whenever we suggest contacting the police, you should do so only when you're not driving and you're in a safe place to do so. Using your mobile phone while driving is a motoring offence.

The best way to deal with a tailgater is to let them pass. 

You might think about tapping your brakes but this probably won’t deter a tailgater. It's also dangerous.

If you think the driver is driving aggressively while tailgating you, this is an example of dangerous driving. 

You can make a mental note of the number plate and send it to the police’s non-emergency number which is 101. Or you could report it by email to your local police force. 

Alternatively, if you have dashcam footage, you can submit it to the police through the Nextbase website

Some tailgaters are trying to intimidate drivers to move out of their way, but others don’t realise they’re doing it. So changing lanes safely, or pulling over to let them pass, is often the best course of action. 

If the other driver has just forgotten to indicate through lack of concentration, you may have to anticipate their mistake. For example, if someone is turning into a junction and you’re waiting to turn into a road, it’s best to wait until the person has started turning to pull out. 

Failing to indicate is seen as careless or inconsiderate driving. If the driver has caused an accident because they didn’t signal, they could face:

  • Points on their licence
  • A charge
  • A driving ban 

If you think the other driver is driving dangerously, you can call 999 or report it to the police non-emergency number, 101. 

If you see someone littering or fly tipping from their car:

  • Enter your postcode into the GOV.UK reporting tool
  • Click through to your local council’s website once it appears
  • Go to the 'report a problem' page and report the littering 

Most councils have a 'reporting' page, but this might vary depending on the council.

If you see someone dumping waste on a large scale, you can contact Crimestoppers.

Don’t pick up the litter yourself - there might be sharp or dangerous objects in it. 

In some instances you might not need to report littering drivers at all. Some local councils across the UK have installed litter cameras, including:

  • Bradford
  • Kent
  • Essex

Some councils in the South East have litter cams with AI technology. They send images of the offender and their number plate straight to police control rooms. 

Motorists can get a fine of up to £100 if they’re caught littering from their car.

If you see someone parked dangerously, for example:

  • On zig zag lines
  • Blocking access for emergency vehicles

You can report this to your local police force by calling 101 or by visiting the police station in person. Some police websites have an online reporting tool too.

Any other type of bad parking, for example someone blocking your drive or parking on the pavement, is classed as a civil matter. This means your local council has the responsibility to resolve it. You can report this type of parking by:

  • Entering your postcode into the 'find your council' tool on GOV.UK. Your local council’s website should appear.
  • Look for the 'reporting' section of the website where you should be able to report this type of parking.

Supermarkets are different. Because they’re privately owned, you can ask a member of staff or parking attendant to speak to the driver of the badly parked car. 

There’s not much you can do about someone who’s causing you to brake suddenly because they changed lanes without warning.

If you think the person is driving dangerously you can report it to 101 which is the police non-emergency number. Or you could call 999 if you think they could cause an accident. 

If they do cause an accident, they could be charged with dangerous driving. The driver could get:

  • An unlimited fine
  • Up to 11 points on their licence 
  • A prison sentence, depending on the severity of the offence 

You should let them pass. There’s not much you can do to stop a driver that undercuts you on the motorway. Don’t get irate, flash your lights or beep your horn, as it will probably just make the situation worse.

If you think the driver is driving dangerously, you can report it to the police’s non-emergency number which is 101, or 999 if you think it's an emergency. 

Rule 268 of the Highway Code states:

“Do not overtake on the left or move to a lane on your left to overtake. In congested conditions, where adjacent lanes of traffic are moving at similar speeds, traffic in left-hand lanes may sometimes be moving faster than traffic to the right. 

“In these conditions you may keep up with the traffic in your lane even if this means passing traffic in the lane to your right. Do not weave in and out of lanes to overtake.” 

There’s not much a driver can do to stop a middle lane hogger. The best advice is to try and avoid the urge to react.

Drivers who hog the middle lane are directly ignoring rule 264 of the Highway Code which is:

“Keep in the left lane unless overtaking. If you are overtaking, you should return to the left lane when it is safe to do so.”

Understandably it’s a frustration for motorists. If you’re driving on the motorway correctly (for example, not undertaking), you’d have to move across 2 lanes to overtake the middle lane hogger. It can also cause congestion because more drivers have to move to the outside lane to overtake.

You can get a fixed penalty for middle lane hogging, but it’s difficult for the police to catch people doing this unless they’re doing spot checks.

You can report someone who’s using their mobile phone while they’re driving to 101, or to the emergency number, 999.

You can also report them anonymously to Crimestoppers at 0800 555 111. 

The minimum penalty for driving while using a mobile phone is £200 and 6 penalty points. 

If there’s a noisy car near you, you can report it to your local council. There should be a reporting section on their website where you can ‘report a noise nuisance’. 

According to GOV.UK it’s illegal to modify exhaust systems to make them louder after it’s been type approved. This means the exhaust has been checked and it meets environmental and safety standards. 

Noise limits also apply to tyres. Since 2012 tyres are graded and labelled to show how noisy they are. 

Here are the other annoying habits which annoy drivers:

Driving habit % of annoyed drivers
Drivers who don’t thank you if you let them out
Drivers who overtake in a 30 or 20 mph zone
Drivers who park on the pavement
Drivers that break the speed limit
Drivers who excessively beep their horn
Drivers who play their music too loud when their vehicle is stationary
Drivers who leave their car running while parked
Drivers who play their music too loud when driving
Sharing a car with a driver smoking/vaping
Drivers that hang their arm out the window
Drivers who leave their car exterior get so dirty that you could draw/write on it with your finger

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