11 incredibly common driving errors – and how to fix them

Our team give their tips on how to drive better, safer and more comfortably...

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What Car? team
17 October 2018

Steering wheel buttons

5. Not using the steering-wheel mounted shortcut buttons

Steering wheel buttons

These were originally invented for safety reasons, not convenience. Once you get the habit of altering functions like the stereo through them, it will ensure you take your eyes off the road far less and you’re much less likely to have an accident.

6. Not checking your tyres

Checking tyre tread depth

This may sound like a simple one, but it’s something that’s so readily ignored, even though your tyres are so important. After all, the only contact your car physically has with the road – whether it’s a sports car, a city car or an SUV – are those four small patches of rubber.

So, the law requires you to have 1.6mm of tread on your tyres. How to check? Just place a 20p coin into the main tread on your tyre. So long as the outer band is obscured, you’re good to go. Tyre-makers recommend you check your tyre tread depth and your air pressure level once per month.

7. Playing loud music

Tailgating

We’re all guilty of it. Your favourite song comes on the radio so you automatically crank up the volume. But did you know that playing loud music, while enjoyable, also has a detrimental effect on your ability to focus? This was demonstrated by research conducted by the Memorial University in Canada, which showed a direct link between a higher sound volume and reaction time.

 Incredibly, when music was played at just 95 decibels (your average smartphone speaker is capable of over 100 dBA), reaction times increased by 20% across all participants. Additionally, loud music can also mask the noise of your engine, which can make judging your speed more difficult. So if you’re planning on going for a spirited country drive, make sure you turn the radio off.

8. Ignoring the fact you’re in a blind spot

Blind spot monitoring

Being continuously in another driver’s blind spot on a multi-lane road can be perilous. Try to drop back or accelerate to remove yourself as soon as you can.

If it’s unavoidable – for example because there are cars close behind or in front of you – then a handy tip is to rest your hand on the horn so you can quickly remind the other car of your existence if they show any sign of trying to pull into your lane.

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