To Be Frank, December 2, 2014: What drives us crazy

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What drives people mad behind the wheel? That was the question I asked last week, after a survey by suggested that driving too close, and failing to signal, were motorists’ top two gripes on the road. But there were many more sources of irritation ... many more!

Failing to signal – or as the survey put it, presuming other people are mind-readers – is epidemic. I suggested maybe only one in five drivers signal properly.

Careful daily observation since I wrote last week’s column suggests that figure was wildly out – one in ten or 15 might be closer!

Driving too close – or tailgating – was people’s top moan. Maybe that’s more of a problem across the country, where people have to use major roads and motorways more than we do – hogging the middle and outside lanes were third and fifth in the list, and undertaking was seventh.

We aren’t exactly blessed with those kinds of roads here. But should you get a tailgater hanging on to your bumper, the advice is simple – let them pass.

Whatever you do, don’t start jamming on the brakes, or doing anything else to provoke them – they’re already being aggressive enough by driving that way, so you don’t want to make matters worse.

Dangerous overtaking was fourth in the survey. In many respects, you might think that would be first – it is dangerous, after all. I’d like to think the fact that it isn’t suggests people don’t see as much of it on the roads as they might.

Jumping traffic lights was sixth in the survey, and being slow away from lights was eighth. Wootton Gap crossroads, anyone? Slow movers are frustrating – but let’s face it, they’re not likely to kill anyone.

Jumping red, however, is another matter entirely.

Who hasn’t seen the lights turn from amber to red, only for the car in front to think: “Oh, I can’t possibly wait any longer” / “I can just about squeeze through” / “Blow it, I’m going anyway!”

No! How many times do you wince and look away when that happens? It’s just plain dangerous.

And together with the last two gripes in the top ten – hesitant braking and last-minute braking – it’s symptomatic of another widespread driving problem ... a simple lack of courtesy.

Some drivers seem to feel that if their vehicle is big enough, or they drive aggressively enough, then they can just barrel their way through any situation, and you’re simply expected to make way for them.

What gets your goat as a motorist? Drop me a line at and let me know. And in the meantime, stay safe and drive carefully, won’t you?!