7 In Life

Bad Driver Pet Peeves

Bad Driver Pet Peeves

It happens every morning and after 5 p.m. The commute to work is riddled with bad drivers – many of which should not have driver licenses. I’m sure there are many others who have bad driver pet peeves, so you may find yourself nodding in agreement when you read this post.

I take the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW) to and from work between Burlington and Mississauga, Ontario. It’s not the dreaded Highway 401 across Toronto, considered to be one of the worst highways for traffic in North America. Nevertheless, the Queen Elizabeth Way can be hellish during rush hour drives.

Add the new High Occupancy Vehicle lanes to the mix, and you have many cases of bad driving.

I admit that I’m not “Margarita Andretti.” I follow the rules of the road and sometimes revert to more assertive driving to make sure I get to work at a decent time. What makes me head into the territory of road rage is the blatant bending of the rules of the road, the lack of respect for other drivers and  bad habits that we are increasingly seeing on the roads in the Greater Toronto Area and Southern Ontario.

This post isn’t about pointing fingers at any specific demographic or ethnicity as bad drivers. I’ve seen them all – men and women, young and old. Visible minorities and the other half.

My Top Bad Driver Pet Peeves

What I want to share with you are my bad driver pet peeves, and perhaps you will nod in agreement with some of these.

  • People who are too impatient to wait in the morning conga line to turn onto the ramp to get on the highway. You know these people as those who will bypass everybody in the adjacent lane and then squeeze themselves in front of you. They hold you up and cause you to brake (and fear that somebody will hit you from behind).  These are the people who impede the flow of traffic and CAUSE the slow conga line to grow longer.
  • Drivers who have merged with the highway traffic, but want to be ahead of the slow trucks/cars. They move right into the merge lane and pretend to have not merged yet, speed up and head up front. This use of the merging lane as a passing lane can be extremely dangerous to cars trying to merge. It’s also plain discourteous.
  • A pet peeve of many: the car that’s in the left passing lane doing 105 km/hour and blocking others who want to pass the car in front of them. During rush hour traffic it’s still a passing lane, so go fast, pass cars and merge into the middle lane once you’ve done so.
  • Drivers thinking that the passing lane next to the HOV lane is actually the middle lane.
  • Illegal crossovers from the passing lane into the HOV lane and vice versa when the signs on the road indicate you shouldn’t cross. This can cause huge accidents when drivers who follow the rules get an unexpected car cutting them off.
  • Drivers using the HOV lane without the extra passengers in their car. If we’re stuck in traffic, it doesn’t matter if you have a Cadillac with tinted windows. You are driving there illegally if you are the sole occupant!
  • Drivers using their cell phones and going below the speed limit.
  • Tailgaters who continue to tailgate, even if they see that you have nowhere to go as you have a car right in front in you, less than two car lengths away. I won’t go faster just because you are sitting on my car’s butt!
  • The driver who is going so slow in rush hour traffic that they have more than six car lengths in front of them. You are impeding traffic. If you are sleepy/tired or daydreaming, get off the road! Worse yet, if you are afraid of traffic or claustrophobic with so many other cars around, don’t use the highway.
  • Drivers who don’t bother to merge when they have an opening but will get to the end of the merge lane, ram themselves in front of your car and don’t bother to wave “thank you”. Be nice – I could have not let you in at all!

Crazy Things Seen On the Road

I’ve seen many interesting activities during rush hour traffic. One that “amused” me was the guy in the car in front of me holding two drumsticks, playing them against his steering wheel while going super slow (creating that six -plus car lengths in front of him). I guess he was practicing his drum solo. But it was at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Another case was driving on Highway 427 back from a client meeting. My colleague and I saw a woman driving with one hand while holding a cooking pot and using her other hand to scoop up what looked like Kraft Dinner. All of this while doing about 100 km/hour. I think she was a great candidate for the Darwin Award.

I’m sure there are other pet peeves that people have when it comes to bad drivers. If you’re looking for tips on how to reduce stress during your commute, check out my tips.


What are your bad driver pet peeves? What is the craziest thing you’ve seen on the roads of the GTA or your area?


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  • Reply
    September 17, 2013 at 9:52 pm

    When in the HOV lane going with the flow (110-120) we get tailgated. The HOV lane is not the Autobahn super high speed passing lane. Some treat it that way. The merge lane being used as an inside passing lane is just terrible, I agree.

    I use Hwy 410 a lot, I think that road makes the 401 child’s play in comparison. And yes bad driving includes all races, sexes, baby on board, Support Our Troops, Yarises to Hummers. Yes we know what it’s like.

    • Reply
      Margaret Bourne
      September 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

      Hwy 410 used to be a great road up to Orangeville and beyond, but you are right, it’s now a disaster. Ever since Orangeville has become the new bedroom community for the GTA, it’s a mess.

  • Reply
    Bill Smith
    September 17, 2013 at 10:52 pm

    I feel your pain and I work from home. For some reason in the GTHA driving on the 400 series of highways seems to bring out a special level of stupid out of people during rush hour and other times where there is heavy traffic.

    • Reply
      Margaret Bourne
      September 18, 2013 at 9:05 am

      YES! You are right. The “stupid” level just goes up when it’s heavier traffic. If only we could all work from home, it would be a much less stressful commute anywhere. We can only dream!

  • Reply
    September 18, 2013 at 9:34 am

    The 410 extension is great on weekend mornings though. It’s a quick getaway if I want to get the bikes on a rack and ride the rail trails. Northwest is about the only direction one can escape the GTA quickly. Going towards Lake Huron for example I never feel like I’ve escaped until I hit the Hwy 7/8 stretch west of KW. The open fields around New Hamburg.

    Going to Niagara of course the Harvester/Fairview/Plains Rd escape route is often a necessity. Too many cars!

    • Reply
      Margaret Bourne
      September 18, 2013 at 9:39 am

      Weekend mornings – before 8:30 p.m. is always good for pretty much every route – both the 410 and the QEW. When we head out to Niagara Falls or the area around there, we always get up and out of the house super early, otherwise you hit traffic throughout Burlington.

  • Reply
    Christine Pantazis
    September 18, 2013 at 9:06 pm

    Bad drivers…

    I agree there are too many of them on the roads. Don’t know what we can do about it. Sadly, right now all we can do is live with it.

    Mind you, I wonder how it would be different if we had a better infrastructure?


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