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When you’re learning how to drive, your bad habits will be picked up on and corrected by your instructor. However, once you’ve passed your test, it can be easy to fall into bad driving habits! Many drivers don’t even realise the habits they have formed and how some of them can be harming their vehicle, wasting fuel and reducing performance.

Check out the top 10 worst driving habits.

1. Not using your indicators. 

Not using your indicators can be dangerous and is a common pet peeve for many drivers! Your indicators tell other road users and pedestrians where you intend to turn. You should never use your indicators too early, too late or not at all and always use them when pulling away, at roundabouts, changing lanes and overtaking. Failing to use your indicators properly can increase the risk of car accidents and endanger not only yourself but other road users too. 

2. Harsh braking and accelerating. 

Hard braking and accelerating quickly can not only be a bad driving habit but it also wastes fuel. This type of behaviour is often associated with aggressive driving and can be linked to speeding too. When accelerate rapidly or brake harshly, you are putting more pressure on your vehicle and using more fuel in the process. Try improving your driving by anticipating the road ahead and preparing in good time. 

Sick of spending so much on fuel? Read our top 10 fuel savings tips

3. Driving with hands at ‘ten and two’. 

Many driving instructors used to recommend driving with your hands on the wheel at ‘ten and two’. Ten and two referees to the steering wheel being an imaginary clock and position your left hand at 10 o’clock and your right hand at 2 o’clock. However, this advice is now outdated and could put you at risk of injury if the airbag were to activate. Instead, new guidance suggests a more comfortable and safer potion of ‘three and nine’ instead. 

4. Using premium fuel. 

Many fuel stations will offer a ‘normal’ petrol and diesel option and a ‘premium’ version too. Premium fuel is more expensive and can contain additives that help to keep your engine clean, reduce friction and improve the performance of your car. Some manufacturers may advise using premium fuel if your car is on a PCP agreement or lease deal. However, there is little evidence to suggest premium fuel is worth paying extra for.

5. Overloading your car. 

Many of us are guilty of using our car as a place for storage or lugging around way more than we need to. Overloading your car can increase the weight of your vehicle which puts more pressure on the components and increases how much fuel you’re using. We suggest having a good clear-out and only keeping the absolute essentials in your vehicle. Check out what you should include in a car emergency kit

6. Riding the clutch. 

One of the worst driving habits many rivers are guilty of is riding the clutch. Riding the clutch or ‘half-engaging’ is when drivers keep their foot on the pedal and don’t fully release the clutch after a manoeuvre. Not only is riding the clutch just plain lazy driving but it can also damage your transmission and cause premature wear. Every time you change gears or use the clutch pedal, you should always take your foot off the clutch and disengage the pedal. 

7. Driving over potholes or bumps in the road. 

A pothole is an indentation in the pavement and happens when cars continuously drive over the same spot. Potholes are a major issue in the UK and uneven road surfaces can harm your vehicle. Driving over potholes can damage the suspension and can cause punctures. Where possible, you should try to drive around bumps or potholes (if it is safe to do so) If you can’t avoid a pothole, slow down before the bump or pothole to reduce the impact and keep a firm grip on the steering wheel. 

8. Ignoring car warning signs. 

Another bad driving habit that UK drivers are guilty of is ignoring warning signs on their cars. A warning sign usually indicates a problem with the vehicle and it can be daunting if pay day is a long way off. You can find out what the most common car warning lights are and then find out how to fix them. It could be as easy as inflating your tyres or topping up your engine oil! Leaving a problem too long can make it worse and could be costly so make sure to get it checked at the earliest convenience. 

Did you know fatigue is one of the major causes of road crashes in the UK? 

9. Driving when tired. 

Research from Brake.org shows 10-20% of all crashes are estimated to be caused by driver fatigue. Many drivers think fatigue only applies to the time of day such as early morning or late at night. However, tiredness can hit at any time and each time you get in the car, you should ask yourself whether you feel fit enough to drive. Factors which affect fatigue can include stress, disrupted sleep, driving for long periods and an irregular sleeping pattern. Do not attempt to drive if you don’t feel fit enough or take regular breaks when covering many miles at once. 

10. Exceeding the speed limit. 

Speeding is the worst driving habit you could adopt and not only that but it’s also illegal. Research from the RAC suggests, almost half of drivers have admitted to breaking the speed limit of 60mph on rural roads! UK driving laws have a tier system when it comes to speeding and the penalty depends on how much you are over the stated speed limit. A speeding fine can result in a fixed penalty charge to pay, penalty points on your license and even disqualification from driving. You must always stick to the speed limit on any road you drive on. 

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