7 Driving Habits That Prove You Should Be Back on Your L’s

November 22, 2017


Road Safety


Pauline Morrissey

When we first learn to drive, our skills are top notch. We make sure to position our hands at 9 and 3 on the steering wheel, we take a moment to adjust all of our mirrors perfectly, and we obey every rule on the road by the book. But as years go by, we tend to get too comfortable behind the wheel, often developing bad driving habits along the way. Here are seven driving habits that prove you should probably be back on your L’s.

1. You change lanes or make turns without signalling

Street intersection, cars and pedestrians

Remember that lever on the side of your steering wheel? The one that flashes its lights to let other drivers know that you’re about to make a turn. I believe it’s called the blinker, and no, it’s not an optional tool. Not only is it mandatory by law to use it whenever you drive, it can also help avoid accidents on the road, as well as help avoid frustrating other drivers around you.

2. You can’t stop playing with your mobile phone

Distracted driving Ted

Distracted driving in the the modern age includes all of the temptations a smartphone has to offer: like talking on the phone, texting, checking emails and posting to social media. Research shows that using a smartphone while driving can multiply the risk of a serious crash by 400%, yet despite knowing this, many people continue this bad habit whilst behind the wheel. If you are one of these people, then do not pass Go, do not collect $200, and go directly back on your L’s.

 3. You have a need for speed

According to Transport of NSW, speeding remains the greatest cause of death and injuries on our roads, contributing to about 40 per cent of road fatalities. Statistics from speed-related crashes from 2008 to 2012 showed about 818 were killed and more than 4,100 people were injured each year. So there you have it, even though you may sometimes feel the need to speed, remember designated speed limits are there for a reason — this isn’t The Fast and the Furious after all.

 4. You’ve lost touch on what makes a “defensive driver”

And so the saying goes, a good driver is a defensive driver. Whilst this may be the case, there are those who have completely blurred the line between being defensive and being aggressive. For example, tailgating other cars because someone is always in your way, is not being defensive, that’s called being a jerk. Overusing the horn also isn’t an effective way to make your frustrations known, the only thing you’re likely making known is the fact that you may need some serious anger management.  

5. You think road signs are merely a suggestion

Do you find yourself accelerating more whenever you see the orange light flash at the traffic lights? Perhaps you can never be bothered to make a complete stop whenever you come accross a ‘STOP’ sign? If you answered yes to either or both of these, then you might want to boost your traffic signs IQ. Road rules and the signs aren’t there for decoration, they are there to keep our roads organised and safe, so do everyone a favour, follow them and break your bad driving habit.

6. You don’t believe in buckling up

If you don’t like wearing a seatbelt, or don’t find this particular task to be very important, think again. According to the Queensland Government website, not wearing a seatbelt is one the main causes of road crash deaths, with around 20–40 people dying in Queensland each year. This minor task drastically increases survival chances in an accident and is simply a no brainer — so don’t forget to click clack, front and back. 

7. Your parking skills are underwhelming

Car parked sideways between cars

Driving is one thing, mastering the art of parking is another. If you find yourself taking 52 attempts to get into a parallel park, or you’ve nudged the bumper of an adjacent car one too many times, then chances are, parking is not your forte. Yes you were able to conquer the parking portion of your driver’s test all those years ago, but you’ve entered the real world now, where parking along busy streets is an everyday driving necessity. Either work on your parking skills, or perhaps stick to Uber rides instead.

Pauline Morrissey

Pauline has worked in-house at Smith's Lawyers and has written for publications such as Domain, Real Living, Traveller, Time Out, Sitchu, and Houzz.