Have you cursed at anyone recently while driving? If so, you’re not alone. Anyone who has driven for any length of time has likely boiled over in anger about something a fellow driver did on the road. There’s something about driving in America that just brings out the worst in some people. (The statistics on driver deaths certainly don’t help.)
You might say it’s human nature — sure, people are selfish — but frankly we expect more from our fellow travelers on the road. We’re not saying we need you to wave us ahead at every intersection with a smile, but we can do better than hold up traffic or aggravate everyone on the same street or highway.
We won’t attempt to answer the riddle of why people act like jerks in their cars. However, we can point out the most hated drivers on U.S. roads. If you’re one of them, please stop. As for the rest of you responsible drivers, please continue being yourself. We need every one we can get.
Do you ever get the feeling you’re being followed on the road? If you run into enough tailgaters, you know how irritating it can be. Look, we understand if there are only two lanes and someone is going slow in the passing lane, but that’s about it. When you have people right on your bumper in a 25 mph zone and a bunch of cars in front of you, there is no excuse. Tailgaters simply raise your stress level without any good reason.
No one likes being stuck in traffic. The only thing that makes it worse is when someone starts honking their horn like the apocalypse is near. We understand the frustration of sitting without moving, but horn honkers don’t make traffic move faster by beeping. On top of that, honkers who do their beeping in residential areas really grate on people’s nerves. If you want to provoke road rage in the nearest driver, just start honking.
Maybe they’re texting, maybe they’re tweeting. Or maybe they just had to “like” something on Instagram before going back to watching the road. Whatever they’re doing on their phone, it creates danger for what’s probably the least important thing on the planet. Imagine getting into a crash and becoming paralyzed because someone wanted to add “lol” to someone’s Facebook post. Yes, we do believe there is a special place in hell for those who drive and socialize on a phone.
Hopefully you’ll never have to deal with a drunk driver on the highway, as your encounter might turn fatal. However, you can probably tell when there’s someone who’s had too many when driving through residential neighborhoods. You see them swerve a little, stop for too long at stop-signs, and otherwise behave like someone who’s a little slow. Because of the danger they represent to the community and themselves, drunk drivers are among the most hated.
5. Frantic lane changers
If you drive in Southern California often — and our condolences if you do — you surely know the species of driver we’ll call the frantic lane-changer. One second, they are behind you and move to your left to pass you. The next moment, they see an opening in front of you and switch back to your lane. After multiple maneuvers, they’ve gained maybe one car length. Next, you might see them try the right lane. These people somehow make heavy traffic even worse.
6. Turn signal abusers
You can handle turn signals three ways:
- Signal before turning
- Signal but never turn
- Never signal but turn anyway
Those who do anything but “1” on this list will incur the wrath of drivers everywhere. Seriously, how hard is it to signal before turning? We also don’t understand how someone can drive for miles on the highway without realizing their signal is still going. It freaks out everyone behind them. Fortunately, car makers have come up with smarter turn signals that go off on their own. They weren’t necessary, but here we are.
7. ‘I’m blocking the road because I drive for Uber.’
You know what’s cool about an Uber driver blocking traffic while he waits for his customer? Nothing. Drivers in most big cities became familiar with this species in recent years, and we don’t blame you if you think it’s a step back in the evolution of humanity. Ride-hail drivers need to figure out a way to meet their customers without blocking traffic or otherwise inconveniencing the rest of the world. If New York City traffic is any indication, cabbies are way better than their peers at this.
8. Extreme defensive drivers
We applaud defensive drivers. They do not pretend to be speed demons or claim ownership of the road under any circumstances. Instead, they proceed with caution and let the crazies fly past them. All this is good until they take the defense to the extreme. You know the type we’re talking about, like the driver who slows down on a green light in case some psycho is running a red light. These people take defensive driving so far they create an alternate form of danger. Green is only for go.
9. Lane cutters
Everyone is waiting to make a turn or exit so there’s a slowdown. Courteous drivers wait their turn and proceed when they can. The rest simply disregard shame and take a free lane so they can cut inside and reduce their wait time. Most people have become used to this obnoxious style of driving and don’t do anything about it (i.e., honk, give the finger, or attempt to cut them off). But they’ll still hate the driver who pretends they don’t follow the same rules.
10. Anyone who stops next to an open parking spot
Since we have seen this type of obnoxious driver for generations, we can’t pin it on Uber. Sometimes, you wonder why traffic has stopped as there seems to be no answer. When you make your way past the point of gridlock, you’ll see someone stopped next to an empty parking spot. Maybe it’s the UPS guy dropping off a package, but too often it is a driver who is too lazy to parallel park. While they do whatever they’re doing, the world will anxiously await their next move.