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10 Signs You're a Bad Driver

by Buddy Brown 4 years ago in list
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Is everyone else a maniac behind the steering wheel? You might want to watch for signs you're a bad driver, just to make sure you're not the problem.

I had a coworker who was a terrible driver—and honestly, I think he was actually proud of it, too.

He had his license suspended after driving his BMW at the breakneck speed of 130 miles per hour on the Garden State Parkway. If I remember correctly, he crashed his car and somehow didn't die.

Crazy as his driving was, his attitude towards it was crazier. He actually used to brag about it to girls he wanted to date. When I went into the car with him, I actually screamed bloody murder because I was scared for my life. It was the only way to get him to slow down.

My coworker's attitude towards driving wasn't the norm. Most people want to be good drivers, if only to save money on car insurance. Are you worried you're a bad driver, or just wondering if the people around you really are maniacs on the road?

Here are my personal tips for figuring out where you stand on the driving skill spectrum.

You keep getting pulled over and ticketed.

Generally speaking, everyone will get a ticket once in a while. Police have a keen eye for noticing common driving mistakes that will get you pulled over. When you are breaking the law or when you're going a bit too fast for the neighborhood's liking, the lights and sirens will come on. It happens, right?

Well, yes—but there's a limit to how often it should happen. If you regularly find yourself being ticketed for moving violations, there's a good chance you're a bad driver.

This is doubly true if police issue tickets that rack up points on your driving record. Most cops don't do that unless they are concerned for the wellbeing of other drivers nearby.

You're known to ignore red lights, or start moving before the light turns green.

We get it—we all have places to go. Don't we? As much as you want to hurry, or as much as you may want to believe it's safe to do, you always need to make a full stop at a red light.

There have been many people who have been killed because a driver just didn't bother to stop at a red light, or who just decided it'd be okay to start going even though the other side just turned yellow.

It may sound lame, but trust me, it's better to just wait than to take a chance that could end a life.

Speeding is your norm, but you don't just go "five over."

Everyone speeds once in a while. Most of the time, people might go an additional five mph over. Though that's not necessarily good for your driving record or speeding ticket situation, it's still somewhat common.

That said, my coworker was a good example of what happens when you speed too much. If people regularly point out that you're speeding 15 miles or more over the limit, chances are high that you're a bad driver in the eyes of others.

You don't respect the right of way.

True story: I had a car accident because someone came from a side street and expected me to stop for him. It was a crowded street, and the stop sign was facing down his side of the road.

When you have a stop sign, you have to wait your turn. If you don't, then you're a bad driver who is putting other people on the road at risk. The road is not just about you. You can't just ram your car into traffic with hopes that others will stop.

It doesn't work that way. There are rules that tell you when you can and cannot go. Be considerate, and you'll get into way fewer accidents.

Road rage is an issue you struggle with.

You might think that road rage isn't an issue, but you'd be wrong. Road rage is very heavily linked to aggressive driving. Aggressive driving leads to more accidents, especially when it comes to angry drivers who decide to "mess with" people they got angry at.

In many parts of the country, police are now starting to crack down on people they believe to be acting angrily behind the wheel. The rest of us denizens are all happy to hear this.

Though you know it's a bad idea, you've brake checked people before.

#SorryNotSorry, but there is never a reason to brake check anyone. Doing this typically causes serious accidents, and can hurt both you and the other driver. This is an act of road rage and idiocy that clearly indicates you're a bad driver.

Why are you so angry at this person? Is it really worth wrecking your car just to feel like you won over them? Do you really want to explain to the police why you brake checked them if the other driver has a dash cam?

You've driven drunk.

Want to know a terrifying statistic they don't teach you in driving school? The average drunk driver doesn't just drive inebriated once; they will typically do it over 80 times before they are arrested for it. Many of those who are arrested will also get pinched multiple times for it.

Drunk driving is a leading cause of fatal car accidents, and also happens to be totally preventable. There's really no excuse, and if you think you can take a risk, you're one of the worst drivers on the road.

Multiple people have told you that your driving scares them.

Most people are very polite when they're in another person's car. I mean, you are offering them a ride—and most will express gratefulness for it. They will be very complimentary to your driving, even if you're a little shaky.

Speaking from personal experience, it takes a lot for a person who is normally very polite to speak up about your driving. Most won't say anything unless they're personally concerned that you are going to get them hurt.

Your car has a lot of dings and dents—even though it wasn't always like that.

When I'm on the road, I do something that's fairly common among other drivers. I actively look for the most dented, dinged up cars on the road. Then, I avoid them like the plague. This is especially true if they are missing a mirror.

Sure, there's a chance that the car was a beater when the driver bought it. However, there are bad habits that damage your car, which is why most people who see someone driving a dented car assume the worst.

Your insurance rate is through the roof.

Though this is not always the case (especially with younger people), I have noticed that most insurers are pretty good when it comes to figuring out who's a good driver and who is an unsafe driver. This is a thing you should understand about car insurance regardless of your driving ability; but if you're a bad driver, you should carefully consider this fact.

If you notice that your insurance rates climb rather steadily as years of driving pass, you're a bad driver, and you may want to take a defensive driving course to help lower those rates.


About the author

Buddy Brown

Detroit-born Buddy Brown is a 80s hair metal fan who loves cars, games, and sports. When he’s not drinking PBR while listening to Downtown Brown, he’s playing Grand Theft Auto or working on his El Camino.

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