Driving manners: 6 tips for staying polite on the roads

Kwik Fit | Friday 9th November 2018 3:10pm

Man in blue shirt driving

As the saying goes, ‘manners don’t cost a thing’, and regardless of whether you’re in a shop, at a restaurant or in the office, you should make a conscious decision to always be polite - and the same rule applies when you’re behind the wheel too.

It can be easy to forget some simple road manners from time to time, especially if you’re in a hurry and you’re focused on arriving at your destination. However, letting your standards slip could result in angering other road users or even putting your wellbeing at risk.

To brush up on your driving manners, check out our six tips for staying polite on the roads...

1. Always use your indicators

Whether you’re switching lanes on the motorway or turning into an upcoming road, it’s important that you use your indicators to make other road users aware of your intentions so that they can adjust their driving accordingly. Failing to use your indicators at the appropriate time is not only dangerous, but it can extremely frustrating for others.

For example, if you don’t signal properly at a roundabout, other drivers will not know where you’re going, making it difficult for them to work out if they can safely proceed or not. In this instance, not indicating could increase your risk of causing a collision, putting the wellbeing of you and others in danger.

To avoid a situation like this, make sure you always use your indicators correctly. According to the Highway Code, you should give clear signals in plenty of time, using your indicators to advise others of movements such as a change in direction, pulling over and moving off.

2. Say thank you if someone gives way to you

If someone gives way to you while you’re behind the wheel, it’s polite to say thank you. While it might not seem like a big deal at the time, it’s courteous to offer a simple hand signal, such as the palm of your hand or a quick thumbs up, to let the other driver know that you appreciate the kind gesture.

3. Stick to the speed limit

Speed limits are put in place for a reason, and it’s important that you adhere to them while you’re out and about on the roads. Excessive speeding can make those around you feel uneasy. Any time you drive too fast, you’re putting the safety of yourself, your passengers, other road users and even pedestrians at risk.

Aside from the dangers involved, speeding could also land you in trouble with the law. The minimum penalty is a £100 fine and three penalty points. In some cases, you could be even be disqualified from driving altogether.

So, instead of putting your foot down, make sure that you stick to the speed limit to keep your licence clean and do your bit to help keep the roads a safe place for everyone.

4. Never use your mobile phone while driving

In the UK, using a mobile phone while you’re driving is against the law. Even if you’re stopped at lights or waiting in traffic, checking your phone behind the wheel is considered a serious offence. If you’re distracted by your device, you’re four times more likely to be involved in a road accident, putting you and others in danger.

If you’re caught using your phone, you could receive a £200 fine and six points on your licence. You could even be asked to attend a court hearing and pay a bigger penalty fee, or you could be given a driving ban for a set period of time.

So, for the sake of your own safety and the safety of others, it’s important that you refrain from using your mobile phone until you’ve come to a complete stop in a safe place.

5. refrain from driving too close to the car in front

While you’re driving, you might not think twice about the distance between you and the vehicle in front. However, not leaving enough space can be highly annoying for other drivers, and it can also significantly increase your chances of having an accident.

Otherwise known as ‘tailgating’, driving too close to the car in front of you can often be unintentional, but sometimes it’s done on purpose in an attempt to force the vehicle ahead to move out of the way into another lane or to encourage them to speed up.

The truth is, tailgating can come across as aggressive and intimidating. It can make the driver in front to feel targeted, distracting their attention and making it more likely for them to make a mistake.

Tailgating is also considered to be a criminal offence. If you’re found to be driving too close to another car, you could receive a £100 fine and three points on your licence. So, for the safety of yourself and others, and to avoid being caught out by the law, you should back off and keep an adequate distance between you and the vehicle in front at all times.

6. Don't throw litter out of the window

We all know that dropping litter on the streets is a nuisance - and it’s no better if you throw rubbish from your car window either. Whether it’s an empty drinks container or cigarette butt, disposing of litter from your vehicle is completely unnecessary. Not only is it bad news for the environment, but it’s unsightly too, making the roads look unkempt and ruining the beauty of the countryside.

Also, did you know you could receive an on-the-spot fine if you’re found to be discarding rubbish from your car? As of April this year, the government introduced new steps to tackle littering, giving local authorities the right to issue a default fine of £100, with the minimum fine being £65 and £150 being the maximum. Even if the litter was thrown by a passenger, you are still held liable.

To avoid being stung and to make a more conscious effort to look after the environment, you should hang onto your rubbish until you can get rid of it in a more responsible manner.

Good manners can go a long way - especially on the roads. Keeping these etiquette tips in mind could help you become a better driver and reduce your chances of having an accident while you’re out and about.

To learn more about the do’s and don'ts of driving, why not check out our blog post on the ‘6 driving violations that could land you in big trouble’?

Tags : Tips

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

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