Innovate Blog

Unsafe Driving Habits (Annoying Drivers)

You know what really grinds my gears? ANNOYING DRIVERS!!

Let’s get right to the point. No matter how calm of a driver you may be, there is always one car on your daily commute that finds a way to get on your nerves. Better yet, you might even have someone you work with who has a driving habit that drives you nuts. When it’s that person’s turn to drive to lunch, you always either offer to drive or find a way to hop in another coworker’s car (this statement is hypothetical and is not an admission of the author’s coworkers’ poor driving ability).

Regardless of what the habit may be, the truth is, many of the frustrating behaviors we observe on the road or in the backseat are not only annoying, but they’re also unsafe. An FHWA study of crashes from 2005 to 2007 found that driver behavior was the critical reason for 94% of crashes (1). Putting aside the emotional part of why you won’t ride with your coworker, let’s look at a few of these habits and the safety issues associated with each.

  • Driver Inattention: In case you were wondering, texting, personal grooming, and reading a book are not activities meant to be done behind the wheel of a car. Virginia law prohibits texting while driving, but any activity that takes your attention away from the road is potentially unsafe. Dating as far back at the late ‘90s, FHWA identified Driver Inattention as the leading crash causing behavior in America (22.7% in 1996 - before cell phones even became prominent) (2). As transportation engineers, we are constantly working with our clients to improve the safety of roads throughout the region, but the safest designs are only so good if drivers aren’t paying attention! Remember folks: keep your eyes on the road!
  • Vehicle Speed: Whether it’s traveling 55 mph in the left lane of a 70 mph interstate or not slowing down in a work zone, unsafe speeds are the second leading contributor to crashes according to the NHTSA-- responsible for almost 20% of crashes (2). As Transportation Engineers, we spend many days within work zones across Virginia’s roadways and cannot stress enough the importance of slowing down and staying alert to keep people on and off the road safe. For more information on VDOT’s ‘Drive Toward Zero Crashes’, please visit Do your friends give you a hard time for being the slow-poke in the left lane? Traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic is both dangerous and illegal in Virginia; check out our July 14th post titled “Move it on Over” for more details.

Driver inattention and failure to adhere to speed limits are just two examples of the hundreds of driving habits that can be incredibly dangerous.  So, the next time you’re behind the wheel, try to implement safe driving habits for you, your coworkers and others on the road. Help us spread the word and make Virginia’s roads safer for all of us!


  1. Singh, S. (2015, February). Critical reasons for crashes investigated in
    the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey. (Traffic Safety
    Facts Crash•Stats. Report No. DOT HS 812 115). Washington, DC:
    National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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