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10 Driving Rules That Bad Drivers Break

Education | 06/27/2023 17:47

We all like to think that we are good drivers. Of course we all have the occasional lapse in judgment or close call, but we at least try to be good drivers, right? But there are some drivers out there that are breaking the rules of driving every day. So what are the most common–and most dangerous–rules that bad drivers break?

Here are the ten most common driving rules that bad drivers break.

#1. Not wearing a seatbelt.


In today’s day and age there is no excuse to not wear a seatbelt. Seat belts have been proven time and time again to save lives and minimize bodily damage in the case of an accident. According to a study by the CDC seatbelts reduce the risk of death by 45% and reduce the risk of serious injury by 50%. In SUVs and minivans their effectiveness only increases, with seatbelts reducing the risk of a fatal injury by 60 percent and reducing critical injury by 65 percent. Experts estimate that seatbelts save nearly 15,000 lives every year.

Despite all of this data, one in ten people do not wear a seatbelt when they are in the front seat of a car. While seatbelts are not failproof, they are our best chance for survival in case of an accident. By breaking this driving rule you are not only putting yourself at risk for a ticket, but you are putting yourself in actual danger.

#2. Distracted driving.


Distracted driving comes in all forms. Distracted driving is defined by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as “any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system — anything that takes your attention away from the task of safe driving.” While it is only second nature to do some of these things, distracted driving is incredibly dangerous and puts everyone on the road at risk, including you and your passengers. Roughly 3,000 people die every year in accidents caused by distracted driving, accounting for almost 10% of fatal motor vehicle accidents in the United States. 


Talking and texting is the most common reason for distracted driving. The NHTSA estimates that cell phones are involved in 26% of all car crashes. Stowing your phone away to avoid the temptation will help ensure that you are focused while driving.

#3. Not obeying the right of way laws.


Right of way laws are in place to ensure that people will safely and efficiently get through an intersection. For the most part these laws are uncomplicated and rely on common sense. Yet we have all ended up at an intersection where the laws were not followed. This results in confusion, slowed traffic, and possibly even an accident. But it’s important to note that even if you have the right of way, you should still drive defensively and cautiously. A right of way does not make you immune to accidents and we should all work together on the road to stay safe.

#4. Driving under the influence.


Most of us know to not drive when we feel tipsy, but some ignore this rule blatantly. The legal limit for driving in most states is a blood alcohol content of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL). Driving with a BAC above this can carry serious penalties and is dangerous for everyone on the road. In fact 32 people are killed every day in motor vehicle accidents involving alcohol in the United States. If you ask “is it safe to have one drink and drive”, the answer is actually no. You can get a ticket even if you are under the legal limit if the police think that your judgment is impaired. 


Driving under the influence doesn’t just apply to alcohol either. “Influence” can mean marijuana, illicit substances, and even prescription medication. The bottom line is that if something can alter your state of mind–intentionally or unintentionally–you need to avoid it if you are getting behind the wheel.


#5. Running through yellow lights.


A yellow light does not mean “speed up and get through the intersection before it turns red”. A yellow light indicates that a red light is coming and you should prepare to stop. The only time that you should not stop for yellow light is if there is not enough time to stop safely. Busy intersections that have a lot of traffic, pedestrians, and bikes can be a dangerous place when everyone is trying to make it through the intersection at the last minute. So unless you cannot stop in time, you should not race through a yellow light.


#6. Not using a blinker.

Blinkers are designed to alert other people on the road of your intentions while driving. More and more people are failing to use their blinkers to communicate, causing confusion and accidents. You should use a blinker in any of the following situations:

  • Turning at an intersection.

  • Turning into a driveway or parking lot.

  • Changing lanes.

  • Pulling over on the side of the road.

  • Parking on the side of the street.

  • Changing lanes.

  • Passing another vehicle.

  • Merging with traffic.

  • Leaving a roundabout.


The more people use blinkers, the safer we will all be. You should use blinkers even if no other cars are around as you should make is a habit to use them whenever you are turning.

#7. Not obeying the speed limits.


Speed limits are put in place for a reason. State and local authorities look at roads and use the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) to determine what a safe speed is for a given section of road. In general the following things are considered when determining a speed limit:

  • Prevailing speeds as determined by traffic engineering measurements.

  • History of accidents.

  • Highway, traffic, and road conditions that may not be obvious to drivers.

  • Residential density.

  • Pedestrian and bicyclist safety.


Speed limits are pretty cut and dry: if the speed limit is 50 and you are driving at 51, you are breaking the law. While most cops won’t bust you for speeding one mile an hour over the limit, they have the right to. But while you may be able to go slightly over the limit without getting into trouble, it’s important to remember that speed limits are put in place for a reason. Maybe there’s a lot of foot traffic that makes driving fast dangerous, or maybe there are twists and turns on a road that come up abruptly. No matter what the reason is, speed limits will keep you–and everyone else on the road–safe.

#8. Tailgating.


Of all of the irritating driving habits that bad drivers put on display, tailgating is perhaps the most annoying of them all. It is an aggressive tactic that some bad drivers use to pressure drivers in front of them to either go faster or move over. But in reality it creates a very dangerous situation where the driver in front gets distracted or feels frightened. The car that is tailgating will not have sufficient time or space to stop in the case of an accident. Accidents caused by tailgating are incredibly dangerous and can result in neck and back injuries, traumatic brain injury, and even death. 

#9. Rubbernecking.


Rubbernecking is when a driver takes their eyes off of the road to look at something such as an accident or arrest. Rubbernecking can severely disrupt traffic patterns and cause accidents. While curiosity is human nature, rubbernecking is just another form of distracted driving and can cause serious accidents and even death. 

#10. Merging incorrectly.


Merging is an essential part of driving. While some merges are easier than others, it is imperative that everyone safely merges with traffic to avoid accidents and traffic disruptions. Here’s how to properly merge to keep traffic moving safely:

  • Adjust your speed to match the flow of traffic.

  • Yield to drivers on the highway but avoid stopping if possible.

  • Find a gap in traffic to merge. 

  • Use your turn signals early.

  • Wait for the solid line to end before merging. 


Coming to a full stop while trying to merge, hanging out in another car’s blind spot, not using turn signals, and not keeping an appropriate speed will all cause issues when you merge. 

Those are 10 rules that bad drivers break all the time.

While everyone has lapses in judgment from time to time, we all need to do our best to keep these lapses to a minimum. In general we need to simply pay attention: pay attention to the road, to the speed limit, to the laws, and to other drivers on the road. Taking these measures can help ensure that we all get from point A to point B without a problem and without an accident.


Let’s agree to not break driving rules–and to not break the bank with our car payments. If you are overpaying on your car payment every month, contact Auto Approve to see how we can help! Drivers can save hundreds of dollars a year (if not thousands) by refinancing their loan with Auto Approve. So don’t wait!


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