Have you cursed at anyone recently while driving? If so, you’re not alone. Everyone who drives regularly will become filled with rage by something a fellow driver does on the road. There’s something about driving in America that just brings out the worst in some people.
You might say it’s human nature, but frankly we expect more from 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 worst offenders you’ll encounter on a commute or long vacation drive. Here are the 15 most hated types of drivers you’ll find out there, ranked.
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.
According to a study by AAA, taking your eyes off the road for more than two seconds doubles the risk for a crash. Imagine getting into a wreck and suffering an injury because someone wanted to add “lol” to someone’s Facebook or Twitter post.
Next: These folks take defensive drives into offensive territory.
14. Extremely defensive drivers
We applaud defensive drivers. They don’t pretend to be speed demons or claim ownership of the road. Instead, they proceed with caution and let the crazies fly past them. These things are all good until they take the defense to the extreme. Here’s an example: a driver who slows down on green lights in case someone is running the opposite red light. These people take defensive driving so far they create an alternate form of danger. Green only means “go.”
Next: Lanes exist for a reason, but these drivers don’t know it.
In a survey by travel site Expedia, respondents ranked drifting between lanes among the most annoying behaviors a driver might exhibit on the road. These “drifters” don’t seem capable of staying in the right, left, or any other lane on the road. Whether they have trouble seeing or simply don’t care, the result is the same: People hate driving anywhere near them.
Next: Speed limits and other drivers factor little in this driver’s life.
Another hated driver demographic is the slowpokes. By that, we’re referring to folks who drive much slower than the speed limit allows. Naturally, there’s only so much someone can (and should) do in a school zone or down a winding mountain path. However, if you’re ambling along in a one-lane road at 15 miles per hour while the speed limit is 35, drivers behind you will become aggravated.
Next: The most basic driving functions don’t concern these drivers.
11. Turn signal abusers
You can handle turn signals three ways:
- Signal before turning.
- Never signal but turn anyway.
- Signal but never turn.
Drivers who are careless about flicking their turns signals will incur the wrath of drivers everywhere. Seriously, how hard is it to do this? 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 for turn signal abusers out there, car makers have come up with smart signals to compensate for this human deficiency.
Next: Drivers of this brand earned a reputation.
10. Anyone in a BMW
This one might sound like it rates as “street truth,” but in fact it comes from a scientific study. University of California Berkeley researchers found that BMW drivers were less likely to act courteously on the road, thus inspiring annoyance and hate in pedestrians trying to cross the street. Some less scientific surveys confirm BMW drivers start out being hated by other drivers.
Next: This driver believes there is a way out when there isn’t.
9. Frantic lane changers
If you drive in Southern California — 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 might gain one car length. Next, you might see them try the right lane. These people manage to make heavy traffic worse and waste gas, too.
Next: Uber drivers offer a useful service, except when they do this.
8. ‘I’m blocking the road because I drive for Uber.’
You know what’s cool about an Uber driver blocking traffic while he waits? Nothing. Drivers have became familiar with this species in recent years, and we don’t blame you if you think it’s a step back on the evolution front. Ride-hail drivers need to figure out a way to pick up customers without inconveniencing the rest of the world. If New York City traffic is any indication, cabbies are way better than their peers at this.
Next: Lines in parking lots baffle these drivers.
7. The parking spot hog
Some people miss their mark while parking, and that’s fine. The solution is to back up and try again. Otherwise, this hated type of driver creates a chain reaction. We’ll let Larry David’s character from Curb Your Enthusiasm explain. “You’re taking up two spaces, then the next car is also gonna be taking up spaces,” David once told an offender. “Then you’re gonna leave and that car is gonna get blamed. This is chaos. Society can’t function like this.”
Next: Drink as much as you like, but don’t take it on the road.
Hopefully, you’ll never have to deal with a drunk driver, as the encounter might prove fatal. However, you can probably tell when there’s someone who’s had too many when driving through a residential neighborhood. 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 rank among the most hated.
Next: The rules don’t apply to this driver.
5. Lane cutters and shoulder drivers
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.
Next: This driver doesn’t understand how parking spots work.
4. Anyone who stops next to open parking spots
Since we have seen this type of obnoxious driver for generations, we can’t pin it on Uber. Sometimes, you’ll notice traffic has stopped for no particular reason. When you make your way past the point of gridlock, you’ll see a car idling next to — rather than in — an empty parking spot. Maybe it’s the UPS guy dropping off a package, but too often it’s a driver too lazy to parallel park. While they do whatever they’re doing, the world must await their next move.
Next: This driver ignores the basic function of lanes.
3. Left-lane hogs
When there are two lanes on each side of the road, we all know what it means: Drive as carefully as you like on the right, drive quickly and/or pass on left. What happens when there’s a slow driver in the left lane stopping all progress? People become furious. The left-lane hog annoys everyone because that driver not only seems oblivious and slow; they also seem to be against mobility, and thus the progress of the human race.
Next: No one likes the feeling of being followed.
Do you ever get the feeling you’re being followed? 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 otherwise there’s no excuse. When you have people right on your bumper in a 25 mph zone and a bunch of cars in front of you, you’ll want to stop and take issue with the offender behind you.
Next: Here’s the type of driver everyone can agree on hating.
1. Horn honkers
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 in a car without moving, but horn honkers don’t make traffic move faster by beeping. On top of that, honkers who make their obnoxious noise in residential areas really grate on people’s nerves. If you want to provoke road rage in the nearest driver, just start honking.
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