AutoGuide Answers: What Driving Behaviour Makes You Furious?

AutoGuide Answers: What Driving Behaviour Makes You Furious?

Driving, much like conducting oneself in any public setting, is all about good etiquette and being respectful to the people around you. But sometimes, people forget all of that and seem to want to watch the world burn.

Maybe it’s not using turn signals, passing on the wrong side of the road, or distracted driving, but everyone on our team (and everyone who drives) has something that sets them off and ruins their day. Here’s our team’s take on the driving behaviour that drives us bonkers:

Mike Schlee, Road Test Editor: Merge Lane Lunacy

merge-signsMerge lanes were invented for merging. There may be no more misused or abused paved road surface than the poor merge lane.

Let’s start with actual merging. The idea behind a merge lane is to get up to highway speeds before safely blending in with traffic. Several times a month, I end up stuck behind a motorist doing roughly 30 mph in the merge lane while the flow of traffic we are trying to enter is closer to 70 mph. This is incredibly unsafe. If a driver is not confident or skilled enough to merge onto the highway at proper speeds, then it might be best to avoid the highway altogether.

ALSO SEE: AutoGuide Answers: Seven Car Features That We Hate

The more irritating merge lane abuser is the person who thinks they are so much more important than the rest of society that they need to use the merge lane to pass other vehicles in a traffic jam. No, they are not clever, they’re not a better driver, and they’re not saving time. All these drivers are doing is showing everyone else on the road what an a-hole they are, but worse than that, they are making the traffic situation exponentially worse. Every time these drivers cut another motorist off to get back into the proper lane, other vehicles behind them have to hammer their brakes, setting off a chain reaction that slows things down even more.

Jodi Lai, Managing Editor: Distracted Disasters


One thing that turns me into a raging lunatic is when people aren’t paying attention and are looking at their phones. You’re sitting at an advance left turn, but the idiot in front of you is looking at their phone and you miss the light. You’re minding your own business when the jerk next to you drifts into your lane because they aren’t looking at the road. Or you nearly get rear-ended because of the same reason.

One day, I was dropping my sister off at her home and I was up to make my left turn at the stop sign. A white BMW (figures) was approaching really quickly, and I had a feeling they weren’t going to stop, so I lay on the horn. Only after three long seconds of horn did the person driving the car look up from their lap. They were ON THEIR CELLPHONE and blew right through a busy stop sign. If I wasn’t such a defensive driver, this could have been a devastating t-bone crash and my sister could have been seriously injured. It didn’t help that the BMW was going way over the speed limit, too.
It really is quite sad that this happens so often. It’s selfish behaviour and NOTHING on your phone can be more important than safely operating a two ton machine. Too many people die because of distracted driving.

Craig Cole, Associate Editor: Have You Found the Signal?

What automotive annoyance makes my blood percolate like an old-school coffee maker? What is it that other motorists do (or rather don’t do) that infuriates me more than anything else?
Is it trundling along in the fast lane whilst driving 15 miles an hour slower than the speed limit? Is it tailgating, smartphone use in the left-front seat or blinding me at night with your bright lights? Surprisingly, no; it’s none of these things.
Ever notice that obscure little lever to the left of your vehicle’s tiller, the one sprouting from the steering column like an ash sapling in springtime? That’s called a turn signal. Please, for the LOVE OF ALL THAT’S HOLY, learn how to use it!
Why is it that so few motorists ever signal? How abjectly lazy has the typical American become that they can’t flick a little switch every so often? It’s really not that hard. Using a turn signal isn’t just the safe thing to do; it’s also polite, which most drivers these days clearly aren’t.

Sami Haj-Assaad, Features Editor: Thaw out your ride

Winter time is a swell time. It’s a time for hot chocolate, ice skating and snow angels. But my No. 1 annoyance on the road has to do with people who don’t scrub the snow off their cars.

Oh, sure! Your car has great wipers and and a strong window defrost, but what about the rest of the snow and ice? You know, the stuff that goes flying off your roof or windows at highway speeds and become obstacles that only the most seasoned Spy Hunter player could avoid. Honestly, it’s pretty scary stuff to see, especially since most of that snow has hardened into ice by the time you hit the highway.

I get nervous in winter time, not by the slippery conditions, but by the laziness on display from other drivers. Please, people, spend an extra moment to wipe all that snow off your car before hitting the road. Doing so will probably save us all from stress-induced ulcers.

Stephen Elmer, News Editor: Sneaky Signaler


I think we can all agree that people who don’t use turn signals are the worst. Seriously. Just do it.
But there is another type of signaler who, in some ways, enrages me more than the mere non-signaler. I’m talking, of course, about the stealth signaler.
This is the driver who will make quick, jerky lane changes with just a single blink of the signal, which by the time it comes is helping absolutely no one. This is a worse offence than not signaling at all, because at least when you don’t signal, you can claim ignorance.
The stealth signal is an intentional gesture of flippancy that says, “I know this signal is here and how it works but I won’t use it properly because I’m just too much like Mario Andretti to bother with signaling my lane changes to you peons.

Jason Siu, News Editor: Swipe Right To Pay Attention


It doesn’t matter that texting while driving or using your smartphone in general while behind the wheel is illegal in the state of California. There’s nothing more annoying than when you’re sitting and waiting at a green light because the driver in front of you is too busy staring at their phone than recognizing that they should be driving. You can not get in your car in Southern California without seeing one or two drivers who have their eyes glued to their phones instead of on the road.

The best part is when you nicely honk at them to move along instead of checking Facebook posts and they get angry at you. Yep, it’s totally your fault that you’re so impatient!
  • smartacus

    my favorite (least favorite) is when they change lanes right in front of me just to slow down

  • Rochester

    Least Favorite: People who stop their car on a main road you’re waiting to turn into, and they wave you out irrespective of right-of-way. They think they’re being helpful, when in reality they are control freaks willing to court an accident from surrounding cars.

  • timothyhood

    The person in the driveway or side road that sees you coming…waits…waits…waits…then decides at the last minute to pull onto the road–in your lane, of course. Had they gone right away, it would have been no problem. Had they turned into another lane, no problem. Had they accelerated briskly, no problem. Had they WAITED TWO SECONDS, they could have entered the road after you, as there is no one behind you for as far as the eye can see.

  • APC900

    This one is easy….’tailgaters’.
    It seems to be quite commonplace here on the east coast.
    I suppose it’s too much to put a turn signal on and go around to the other lane.

  • relentlesslycaring

    All these annoyances really would want me to have some sort of heat seeking missile built in or a least a device which would fling and post a large sticker on the car’s rear which would display:
    ‘Please keep your distance I can’t drive!’

  • relentlesslycaring

    Here is a subject which is dear to me — Idiots behind the wheel:
    Rudeness and selfishness are in…
    1) Lane merging– Every day I see traffic held up as people attempt to shoot across 3 lanes from a stop sign. They hold up traffic for a long time until it’s clear to do so and it’s still dangerous. This is done just because they need to make a left 500 feet or so away.
    They should see a clearing and get on the road, built up speed and signal the lane change to work themselves to the left. This shooting across to the extreme left apparently is a new phenomenon.
    2) Signaling– Many times if drivers do signal, they do this about 10 feet before the turn. This is to please themselves and maybe to be legal– yet it does nothing to rest of us who would like to know their intentions.
    Watch a cop car with no flashing lights making a turn. They never signal. What wonderful example of road courtesy…
    3) Snow on the car… I remember this well, yet being Florida it’s a moot point.
    4) Sneaky signalling– I may be guilty of this because one of my cars just needs a touch on the turn signal lever to generate 3 blinks. When I’m in another car it won’t happen. I try though.
    5) Phone staring at the red light as far as I’m concerned is okay as long as one is aware that the light could change any second. A 3- 5 second wait never hurt anyone behind me. It’s the longer duration which deserves a honking horn. Sometimes I let it go if someone is too involved. It’s frustrating but I’m in no mood to get into an altercation. I always say leave the house a bit earlier to not have it bother me…although it may– depending on the situation.
    6) I despise people who tailgate when I’m already going 6-9 miles above the limit in a small community. This is especially a nuisance when there is traffic in front of me.
    7) Last yet still important is — once you reach your destination you see one open space and a car or truck is not centered in that space. That can cost nicks on your car from others as you encroach in their space. The offending car leaves and now you look like you can’t park properly.
    It’s all me… me… me… nowadays.

  • relentlesslycaring

    In Germany they would scraped of the road because the moving cars would never expect such stupidity.

  • I agree with all of these, although since I live in sunny Florida, I don’t see too many people with ice debris hazards hanging off their vehicles.

    I would add one additional type of misuse of merge lanes: people who are actually trying to merge, but blast through them and use them as passing lanes much as the passholes who are already on the freeway. (And I’m deeply sorry, but I cannot remember who originated the term “passhole,” but it is one of my favorite coined words.) I have always been taught that proper merge lane etiquette is that a driver in the right hand lane of the freeway must yield to a driver ahead of his car in the merge lane, but that the merge lane driver must yield to a right lane driver in front of him if both have matched speed. Instead, what we get down here, especially on I-75 coming off I-4, is passholes gunning their engine and trying to merge only at the end of the merge lane, regardless of the flow of traffic.

    This is a hybrid of the stupidity of the 30mph “slow merge” and the extreme merge lane passing stupidity.

    I’ve also seen a recent resurgence in the “no, six inches from your fenders is PLENTY of room” form of passing, which is especially egregious as part of NASCAR-style weaving in and out of traffic. I tend to see this from any and all makes of car, from the purpose-built sports car to the ungainly SUV that is already 10 mph over its own safe lane change speed, careening through traffic.

    I once met a Seabee during my Navy years who, when cut off in Bahrainian traffic in his duty vehicle, delighted in tossing empty Coca-Cola bottles with deadly accuracy at the offenders. Look, I know that that just adds danger to danger, and is blatantly illegal…but I understand.

  • g-man

    All well and good — but keep in mind that the “passholes” and other automotive idiots might be armed. I was born, raised and will die a Democrat. In fact my Indiana license plate has been DEMCRAT! For years. Until last week when someone tried to force me off the road. Since this is a “concealed carry” state I finally realized that I had better spend the 10 bucks and get a regular Indiana plate before some one “packing” “carrying” or whatever the term is decides that I would be a suitable proxy for President Obama.

  • johnls39 .

    What I think is super dangerous is when you have a car parked on the shoulder in front of the merging lane before you merge on the interstate or highway because if the idiot on the right lane for merging does not slow down, you have to slow your car a bit or somewhat drive to the shoulder where the car is and hit it which could be very dangerous for other drivers. One of the things that aggravate the shit out of me the most with a driver on the highway not letting me merge on the lane and I am forced to drive on the shoulder. Also a dumbass who does not know how to drive the same speed on the merging highway when I am behind him or her.

    One other thing that aggravate me is when I’m on the passing lane passing a slowing car, some idiot flash their lights at me to merge back to the right but I take my time to move over which I normally do anyway in a safe manner by looking back to see there is no car next to me and signal to the right.

    It just amazes me people are so stupid and careless behind the wheel.

    Another thing that is aggravating is dumbasses passing cars and switching lanes in and out of traffic and cut in front of you very close. They are not going anywhere faster.

    But the most annoying thing for me is car accidents and ruins the entire day because of carelessness and foolishness behind the wheel. I get to the point that I don’t feel sorry for people who are in the accident anymore who could been at fault for the accident themselves. Some exceptions like heart failure or sudden health defects and drunk driving the wrong side of the road that hits oncoming traffic as an example I can see but other than that, uncalled for.

  • Adrian McCabe

    I’m not a tailgater for no good reason. But are you stubbornly driving in the fast lane? I live in Australia, so here it’s the right lane.

  • TheGoyWonder

    I don’t really care about passing on the right. But pulling ahead of other cars in a turn/exit lane just to slam on the brakes is pretty ignorant. People should know to generally avoid driving alongside other cars, and at least not do it on purpose.

  • Rochester

    Pet Peeve #2: People who won’t move into the intersection when waiting to make a left-hand turn under a stoplight.

    Pet Peeve #3: People who wait forever to make a left-turn into oncoming traffic from a side-road or parking lot, when the likelihood of an opening is nil. Just turn right and figure it out, for crying out loud.

  • Eli

    People that are still going 10-20mph slower than traffic by the team they reach the end of a highway entrance ramp. This is most of you.

  • whateverdude

    Oh I have another one. People who deliberately honks at you when you are sitting on the line to turn left. There is a reason why I wait on the line (like there is NO chance in hell I would turn left when there is oncoming traffic). Have patience, I am just worried about my own safety.

  • Eco Bust

    No mention of this yet, which further confirms my suspicion that this is just a dumbass-texan thing; I never ever experienced this in other states I’ve lived.

    My biggest driving peeve didn’t occur until I was transferred here. Seems everyone in dallas thinks when you merge onto a highway, you’re supposed to completely skip the unused right lane and immediately move into the middle lane. Absolutely blows my mind! I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve had to make a quick lane change because some idiot cut me off at 70 mph, or fallen in inches behind me; neither situation would happen if they’d just merge and stay in the right lane until they reach highway speed.

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  • I completely forgot about my worst driving peeve: the tendency of drivers to read your signal as a challenge to stop you doing whatever you’re signaling to do! Again, I do not condone throwing things at other vehicles…but I understand.

  • Ron Jeremy

    Tailgating, and idiots who refuse to move over to allow traffic to pass.

  • hisjr

    An irresponsible driver is deadly. Even if you forget the cost to property due to “accidents”, automobile deaths have exceeded gun deaths for decades.

    I will embrace the self driven vehicle when they arrive.

  • Michael Patrick King

    I was changing lanes in front of a guy who decided to speed up, in an apparent attempt to preempt my lane change. As a result, my beautiful Sienna was totaled…and it was ruled my fault because I had violated his right-of-way. That’s what burns me–along with all of the other behaviors listed here: people who hog the road as though a commute is a drag race.

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  • Luke Andrew

    I live and drive in Cambodia and all of these are standard driving behaviours. Along with driving down on coming traffic to reach your turn quicker, completely random u-turns, under absolutely no circumstances letting other people go and definately not saying thanks when they are let go. These are just my particular annoyances. The list of bad driving goes on. And dont get me started on the million and one motos……..

  • John in Afghanistan

    When I was learning to drive we were taught ot actually pull into the intersection when turning left, not wait at the line.
    This way you can make your turn safely when the light changes.

  • John in Afghanistan

    Peeve 2: it’s one I see all the time.
    The person sits at the line, then they jump and make their turn and you’re unable to make your own turn.

  • gedster314

    People on cell phone/texting.

    Slow cars not using a turn out to let the 10 cars behind them pass.

    People passing slowly and ignoring that the fact that others behind would like to pass too. These people also stay in the passing lane till it ends and make others have to zig zag into the right lane in order to pass them too.

    Why is it a herd of couch riders (harley type bikes) insist on riding slowly and take up all lanes while doing so. I’m fine with them cruising together but please allow others to pass your group.

    While mentioning bikes lane splitting pisses me off. I don’t mind when they do it in stop and go traffic but not when traffic is flowing at 70 mph, in that case pass like a normal vehicle. Also when lane splitting, do it at 5 to 10 mph faster than traffic not 40 mph faster.

    People that drive slow and decide to speed up as you are passing.

    People in a turning lane that decide to go straight.

    Oh man I can go on and on.

  • Eco Bust

    Another one; on-looker delay. What is so interesting about a wreck across the highway, or someone pulled over by police that drivers have to slow down to a crawl to observe it? I’ll never understand that…

  • Pat J Shields

    Many states instruct you to move to the center of an intersection when you have a green light and wait till it’s safe to complete the turn. This moves traffic along and ensures at least 2cars will get thru on a left turn no matter how heavy the traffic. This is how I learned to drive in NYC where traffic is always heavy, roads are narrow and many folks are very impatient.

  • Pat J Shields

    Many states instruct you to move to the center of an intersection when you have a green light and wait till it’s safe to complete the turn. This moves traffic along and ensures at least 2 cars and hopefully more will get thru on a left turn no matter how heavy the traffic. This is how I learned to drive in NYC where traffic is always heavy, roads are narrow and many folks are very impatient.

  • Mike DaBomb

    Please pull into the intersection, but do NOT turn your wheels. If you get rear ended, you end up in incoming traffic.

    Pull up, wheels straight.

  • mchan1

    There’s SO much to list…

    1. Texting while driving
    2. Talking while driving
    3. TAILGATERS >:(
    4. Cutting others off for whatever reason
    5. Driving slowly in the passing lane
    6. Not pulling over to the travel lane when people blare their high beams at you when you’re moving slowly in the passing lane!
    7. Driving like a speed demon when there’s really NO need to esp. when the road is relatively clear
    8. Zipping in/out of lanes
    9. Not using your Turn signals
    10. Not using your lights when it’s at dusk/night
    11. Using your high beams when traveling esp. when there’s Enough light in the area!
    12. Pulling out into a lane/traffic so you block the intersecting traffic flow
    13. Traffic is a stand still but someone wants to leave a garage exit [esp. towards opposite direction] and you do NOT let them leave when there’s room to do so (i.e. those who don’t move over to allow people to go home)!
    14. Talking to passengers instead of paying attention to traffic
    15. Not shoveling the snow OFF your car’s roof during the winter thereby endangering those behind/around you
    16. Aholes who gives you the Birdy when it’s THEIR fault for their terrible driving!

    This list can go on 🙁