Bad drivers are everywhere and even good drivers make mistakes from time to time, but there are certain driving behaviors that must be stopped to make roads safer and less maddening for everyone.

I have previously identified five driving behaviors that must be stopped: being unaware of your surroundings, improper braking, not using turn signals, poor turn signal courtesy, and not turning into the correct lane. The following are equally important and equally systemic dangerous behaviors if not corrected. If you want to know how to be a better driver, avoid the following behaviors.

Improper Left Turns

Many of the horrific images we have seen in the news are the result of improper left turns, the driver or passenger often fatally exposed to the violence of a side impact t-bone collision. There are simple actions every driver can implement to avoid this. Align your vehicle in a position that best affords you a view of oncoming traffic but remember to keep your wheels straight. Most importantly, if one has to think about whether one can make the turn safely, the answer is probably no. Also, remember to never assume the car coming toward you with its flashing turn signal is going to turn.

Not Looking Before You Enter an Intersection

Many years ago, I sat at an intersection as the first car with another larger vehicle to my left blocking my view to the left. As the light turned green, I eagerly began to move forward, too eagerly, carelessly oblivious to the cross traffic, when a transport truck barrelled through the intersection in excess of 50 mph (80 km/h), filling my field of vision with nothing but tons of steel. That moment is etched in my memory, a millisecond difference between life and death. Before entering or departing any intersection, urban, rural or in the middle of nowhere, always glance left first, then glance right before proceeding. It may save your life.

Not Paying Attention to Advance Green Turn Signals

Advance green lights exist to better facilitate the flow of traffic and to make left turns safer. They demand your full attention. Do not dawdle or lollygag or you will most assuredly raise the dander of your fellow driver, slow the movement of traffic and, perhaps most importantly, force those behind you to make risky and aggressively dangerous turns. Virtually all of today’s automobiles have considerable power, so use it and turn with alacrity and decisiveness and, for heaven’s sake, turn into the correct lane.

Ignoring Crosswalk Signals

Utilizing crosswalk signals is essential preparedness when approaching any intersection, as a flashing “do not walk” signal is an advance notice of impending amber, then red light. Most urban/suburban lights flash the “do not walk” symbol five times, with the traffic light turning amber on the fifth flash of the crosswalk signal. All drivers are expected to have an awareness of their surroundings of at least 200 to 300 yards ahead of their vehicle. A basic pre-awareness of crosswalk signals helps a driver anticipate the always-changing dynamics of an approaching intersection. Anticipation is a key component of defensive driving. It also helps mitigate the need to brake harshly prior to the intersection.

Monopolizing the Passing Lane

Perhaps no behavior infuriates drivers more than those who monopolize the passing lane at an inappropriate speed. You do not have squatter’s rights to the passing lane. Owning a Buick, Toyota, or Lexus does not give you special dispensation either. Simply stated, driving at an inappropriate speed in the passing lane encourages, unfortunately, rational people to make irrational and dangerous decisions, instigating recklessly, spontaneous lane changes that would often otherwise, never be made.

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