Kurt Verlin
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4 Annoying & Bad Driver Habits

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Interstate 95
Photo: Rene Schwietzke via CC

Some bad driver habits are so common that they stop being irritating and instead barely penetrate one’s consciousness. When you’ve seen hundreds of drivers block the left lane on the highway before, what’s another? Still, there’s nothing like a little rant now and then. And who knows, you might discover you have one of the habits described below. (If you do, please stop. Thanks.)

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Blocking the left highway lane

On the highway, the left lane is so commonly called “the fast lane” that many drivers have come to view it as a place to hang out if they subjectively feel they are going fast enough. Others simply stick to the speed limit and intentionally act like a road block for other drivers, satisfied in doing the police’s job. Either way, it’s rude and, in some states, illegal.

That’s because the leftmost lane is for passing only. Once you’ve passed a car, you should get back to the middle lane. And then into the rightmost lane if it’s empty, because you should always be driving as far right as possible and moving left only to pass. Too many people merge onto the highway and immediately move over to the middle or all the way to the left for no reason whatsoever.

Ignoring traffic rules to be courteous

If you have the right of way but want to stop in the middle of your lane to make room for a car who is clearly going to have to wait a while before they can join or cross the road — just don’t. Courtesy is nice, but it’s not worth making yourself unpredictable. The roads are safer when everyone adheres to the same traffic rules. It’s also very likely that by saving one person a little time, you create a traffic jam behind you.

Merging too slowly

Driving a 4,000-pound vehicle made of steel, aluminum, and hardened plastic can be understandably scary. But you shouldn’t be afraid of using your car’s go-fast pedal. The most important thing you can do when getting on the highway, or merging onto any road, is to drive at the same speed as the cars already there. If you merge too slowly, you’re going to have a hard time getting on and you’re liable to create an accident or a traffic jam. And if you’re merging off, don’t slow down while you’re still on the highway. That’s what the off-ramp is for.

Cutting inside a two-lane turn

We’ve probably all had to bail out of a turn or lay on our horn when a driver in the outside lane seemed to forget that another car had been alongside them the whole time. It’s especially scary if they happen to be driving a big vehicle. How does this happen? It’s a mystery. One would think that after stopping at a traffic light next to someone else, one would simply understand that the other driver would also be going ahead when the light goes green. Could folks stay in their lane, please?