Driving pet peeves – they’re universal

There was an 80-car pile-up on Highway 401 just outside Toronto on Friday. It appears that lake effect snow squalls had a big part to play in the crash but, as one police constable told the Toronto Star, it wasn’t just the snow: “It’s obviously drivers’ reactions in weather conditions of that nature that led to the crash.”

Which is the perfect opening for looking at driving pet peeves. Strangely, they’re not much different from those listed in surveys by Motor Trend, Insurance Hotline and others – listed at the bottom of this blog.

It begs the question: if these behaviours bug us all, why are they still happening?

  1. I bet you that, leading up to that crash, a few people were probably tailgating – at 100 km/h on a snow-covered highway – especially irritating and dangerous on icy roads. When people do this to me I want to tell them that I won’t go any faster because I don’t want to spin out in front of them. I slow down instead. This usually earns me the finger when the driver flies past me.
  2. Not signaling. I can’t read your mind. When you don’t signal, you take away my choice – had I known you were going to turn, I would have changed lanes earlier and made it through the light. Instead, I’ve lost five minutes of my life that I’ll never get back. This peeve is universal – and there’s a reason it’s universal. Inconsiderate  people drive in every country.
  3. Bad parking. An SUV driver who thinks they can get into a parking spot that’s about a foot too small, tries anyway, and ends up dinging your bumper.
  4. Impatient drivers. Beeping at me before I’ve even had a chance to put in the clutch. Mr./Mrs. Driver behind me – you are not as important as you think you are. One time a woman did this to me as I was turning left. I ignored her as I didn’t want to drive into the car that was travelling into the intersection (to give her the benefit of the doubt, she probably couldn’t see it). She continued beeping. To get my revenge, I simply drove the speed limit on the residential road we turned on to – about 20 km less than she expected me to go. I’ve never seen a granny so angry in my life.
  5. Merge hogs: Drivers who rush up to the end of the merge lane when everyone else is already in queue. Particularly when a lane is closed due to construction. It’s just rude.

The beauty of asking questions like this is that, no matter where we live in the world, we can relate. Who doesn’t like to complain about other drivers? While the complaints never really change, we all like the chance to vent every once in a while.

So let me know your pet peeves – and check out these surveys, particularly the last one which includes comments from around the world:

Motor Trend top peeves: http://www.autoguide.com/auto-news/2011/06/motor-trend-finds-out-top-five-driver-pet-peeves.html

Insurance hotline survey peeves: http://www.insurancehotline.com/driving-pet-peeves-national-survey/

Driving.ca came up with these: http://www.driving.ca/driver+peeves/2953098/story.html

A conveniently edited selection from different countries around the world: http://www.carbibles.com/petpeeves.html

Transport Canada has some great tips on how to drive in the snow: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/roadsafety/safevehicles-safetyfeatures-winterdriving-tips-700.htm

Transport Canada photo. The government agency has some great tips on how to drive in the snow.

Winter Driving Tips from Transport Canada.



  1. […] Driving pet peeves – they’re universal. […]

  2. I used to have a three-hour daily commute to and from work and if there’s one thing I learned it’s that most people DO NOT adjust their driving habits to suit the weather. There ought to be an app for that! (Car senses snow on windshield, immediately ejects driver’s foot from gas pedal . . . )

    1. Oh, I like that idea! My horn has been getting quite a workout lately …

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