The number one wish of most motorists is for safety and common sense to prevail on the road. However, that isn’t always the case.
The United States is home to over 238.6 million licensed drivers. Throughout the country’s driving population, you may encounter diverse drivers, whether driving across state lines or to your local grocery store.
Unfortunately, many of these drivers aren’t always the safest on the road. There’s no telling who you might meet on your commute, so it’s important to brush up on who these drivers are so you know how to react accordingly.
The following are some of the common types of drivers you might encounter on U.S. roads:
Student drivers are new to driving and still practicing how to drive. These drivers need more experience operating a motor vehicle and may still be familiarizing themselves with the rules of the road.
This learning period can be exciting for new drivers, especially those eager to learn. At the same time, it can also be a terrifying time, as they can easily get overwhelmed by those they encounter while driving on the road. Although having a driving instructor can certainly help, many student drivers can still feel nervous, anxious and unsure of what to do, so they may be uncoordinated, distracted or inconsistent.
All drivers go through a period of inexperience at some point in their lives. It’s important to remain patient and understanding as student drivers go through the learning process. If you spot a student driver, maintain a safe distance and avoid aggressive behavior as much as possible.
Overly Cautious Drivers
Overly cautious drivers are too hesitant or polite even when it’s unnecessary or safe to do so. Some examples of extremely cautious behavior include driving slower than the speed limit, taking too long to cross an intersection and yielding excessively to other drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
Although it’s always important to be cautious on the road to protect your and other drivers’ safety, excessive cautiousness is not recommended as it can cause confusion and disruption to traffic. In extreme cases, this can lead to unsafe situations for the overly cautious driver and everyone around them.
Aggressive driving is one of the most dangerous behaviors on the road. This is often marked by such actions as driving over the speed limit, tailgating, cutting off drivers, weaving in and out of traffic, excessive honking and being verbally abusive to other drivers.
Often, these behaviors are fueled by rage, frustration, impatience and a sense of entitlement. Through these emotions, aggressive drivers will be more likely to break the law by running stop signs and red lights, swerving or being involved in road rage incidents that may cause disruptions in traffic, injury or death.
If you spot these types of drivers, it’s best to avoid engaging them or matching their behavior with equally aggressive actions.
Driving over the speed limit is dangerous and can put the driver and other drivers at risk. The reverse is also true, as driving significantly below the speed limit can be equally dangerous.
Contrary to popular belief, driving slowly can actually be dangerous on the road. Whether intentional or not, it can create several risky situations for the driver and everyone around them. For instance, a slow driver can impede traffic flow, causing impatient drivers to behave aggressively.
Slow drivers can also cause congestion, delays and frustration among other drivers. If you do encounter slow drivers, stay patient and assess the situation. If passing them is necessary, make sure it’s safe to do so.
Focus is important when driving on the road. Inadequate focus is what makes inattentive drivers dangerous. Engaging in any activity that keeps you from focusing on the task at hand poses a danger.
Distracted driving is a significant hazard and one of the leading causes of road accidents yearly. Such activities as eating, drinking, taking a call, texting, tinkering with your radio or simply daydreaming are all perfectly normal but must be avoided when you’re in the act of driving. Or else, you may fail to notice road signs, incoming traffic or pedestrians, which can cause injury, damage to property or fatality.
Impaired driving is a serious issue that is one of the leading causes of accidents and fatalities on the road. It refers to the act of driving while under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a condition that causes you to feel ill or tired. These can affect your vision, coordination, sense of judgment and reaction times, leading to collisions with stationary or moving objects.
Aside from the hazardous consequences of driving while impaired, numerous legal consequences exist, such as fines, suspension or revocation of license and imprisonment.
Defensive driving is a behavior that all motorists should strive for while on the road. A defensive driver is one who is cautious and proactive in taking the necessary measures to avoid road accidents at any cost.
A defensive driver is committed to safe driving practices to ensure their own safety as well as their passengers and everyone else on the road. This means maintaining a safe distance from other vehicles, following all road laws and regulations and avoiding aggressive behavior.
Above all, a defensive driver ensures their vehicle is road safe. As such, they always make sure their vehicle is in good condition, the brakes are working, the tires have sufficient pressure and all other components are in good working order.
Road Safety Begins With a Well-Maintained Vehicle
Understanding the types of drivers you may encounter on the road is a significant step to remaining safe. Unfortunately, what other drivers do is beyond our control. However, as motorists, we can do our part in maintaining road safety by keeping our vehicles well-maintained.
For over 100 years, Berryman Products has been a trusted provider of quality, innovative products that help motorists worldwide maintain their vehicles’ optimal performance on the road. From fuel additives and lubricants to tire sealants and eco-friendly cleaners, Berryman Products is your partner in road safety. For more information on our products, check out our product catalog or send us a message.