Driving can be an inherently dangerous activity, even more so when drivers are distracted. According to the latest Consumer Reports survey, the activities that distract drivers rank among the most annoying things people do on the road.
The 2012 survey
Consumer Reports’ National Research Center conducted a survey in January that asked 895 Americans about drivers’ annoying behaviors. The research subjects were asked to rank 20 common gripes on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most annoying. In general, women tended to rank all behaviors as more annoying than men. There was also a significant age split, though only when discussing the volume of radios in vehicles.
The 10 most annoying behaviors
- Texting while driving: 8.9
- Parking in handicapped spaces when able-bodied: 8.7
- Tailgating (following too closely): 8.4
- Drivers that cut off others: 8.3
- Swerving in and out of traffic and speeding: 8.2
- Parking in two spaces instead of one: 7.7
- Talking on cell phone while driving: 7.6
- Not letting someone else merge: 7.6
- Leaving high beams on when another car approaches: 7.6
- Not using turn signals: 7.5
Distracted driving is illegal
The one unifying factor in the top 10 most annoying driving behaviors is that all of the behaviors are illegal to some degree or another. In most states, texting and talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal, though some hands free devices are allowed. Parking in handicapped spaces without a permit, tailgating, cutting off others and driving aggressively all are illegal in every state, and for good reason: They are dangerous. Distracted driving is illegal because it is dangerous to both the driver and to the drivers around them.
20 annoying behaviors
The next 10 most annoying behaviors are not necessarily illegal but are still considered some of the most annoying driving behaviors. Many of these behaviors are still dangerous.
- Slow drivers in the passing lane: 7.3
- Jaywalkers stepping into traffic: 7.3
- Excessive horn honking: 7.1
- Slowing down to look at accidents: 7.0
- Not turning on lights in bad conditions: 6.8
- Drivers being indecisive about a turn: 6.6
- Slow drivers not pulling over when given the chance: 6.5
- Not moving forward when the light turns green: 6.1
- Bicyclists not letting drivers by: 5.8
- Turning radio volume up very high: 5.7
Riding with an annoying driver
If you find yourself in the passenger’s seat with a driver who is doing something annoying, saying something is your best bet. Confronting drivers for their behavior, especially when they are friends or family members, can be difficult. However, you do not need to be confrontational, just mention that you noticed that they did something. Better yet, offer to help by being the “designated texter” for the driver or remind the driver that their high beams are on when another car is approaching.