Revealed: the bad road behaviours that British motorists hate

Navigating Britain’s roads can be a frustrating and daunting task, especially when faced with the ignorant motorists that plague the UK’s roads, but there’s one bad driving habit that is winding us up more than the rest.

Tailgating is the most irritating behaviour of Britain’s drivers

UK motorists have voted tailgating as the most irritating behaviour of Britain’s drivers for six out of seven years.

The seven surveys conducted by the AA across the last 10 years revealed tailgating as the most criticised act, topping six of the seven surveys – falling behind people talking on their phones while driving in 2014.

26 per cent of drivers surveyed in 2017 voted tailgating as the most infuriating part of driving, while people that talk on their phones while driving closely followed with 25 per cent of the votes.


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Third place was snatched by middle lane hogging with 23 per cent, while motorists that cut across lanes to exit a motorway at the last second, known as swooping, took 10 per cent.

The final top five place was given to drivers that overtake on the inside, cutting up another vehicle on the inside lane of a dual carriageway or motorway.

Top 10 most irritating driving behaviours of 2017

Here’s the results of the AA’s 2017 poll of most irritating driving behaviours.

Irritating behaviour Percentage
Tailgating (driving too close to the car in front) 26%
Talking on the mobile phone while driving 25%
Middle lane hogging (unnecessarily sitting in the middle lane) 23%
Swooping (cutting across lanes to leave the motorway at the last minute) 10%
Overtaking on the inside (going past another car on the motorway / dual carriageway on the inside) 7%
Driving slowly 3%
Speeding (driving too fast) 2.50%
Littering (throwing litter on the road) 2.50%
Other 0.50%
None 0.50%

Might be annoying but it’s also illegal

Mobile phone driving laws were first enacted in December 2003, since then the penalties for using your mobile while driving have dramatically increased. All offenders can now expect a minimum of six penalty points the prospect of a £200, while newly qualified drivers could be instantly banned and forced to retake their test. 

Tailgating and lane hogging were also deemed an offence by the Government in 2013, giving police power to issue on the spot fines for careless driving. The Highway Code, Rule 264, clearly states ‘You should always drive in the left-hand lane when the road ahead is clear. If you are overtaking a number of slower-moving vehicles, you should return to the left-hand lane as soon as you are safely past.’

Drivers caught speeding will also face new fines. Speeding fines are now based on a percentage of the offender’s weekly income, meaning  a driver caught speeding up to 20mph over the speed limit could be hit with a fine of up to 125% of their weekly income, as well as up to six penalty points and a possible disqualification.

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