8 Driving Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

About Samantha Atherton

Samantha is a writer, enjoys being the passenger on many road trips and is your typical female driver - so beware of silver Corsas in Cheshire!

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We all make mistakes when driving. Whether or not you think a better driver than Lewis Hamilton, you will still make a mistake or two from time to time. They will likely be small, simple mistakes, however even these can have a big impact.

The top 5 driving mistakes that cause accidents include:

– Failing to look properly
– Failing to judge another driver’s path or speed
– Being careless, reckless or in a hurry
– Poor turns or manoeuvres
– Losing control of the vehicle

Use the tips below to eradicate your driving faux-pas and become an even better driver than you already are:


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8 Driving Mistakes You’re Probably Making, & How to Fix Them
Since records began, the causes of driving incidents in the UK are mostly simple mistakes. Eradicate your driving faux pas with these handy tips to make you the best driver you know.

Mirror Magic (it’s not magic)

Failing to look properly is the most common cause of road accidents in the UK. By correctly positioning your mirrors – and using them – you can ensure maximum visibility.

  1. Lean left so your head is in the centre of the car. From there, adjust the nearside wing mirror so that the horizon is in the centre of the mirror, and the rear quarter panel of the car is just visible in the mirror. Adjusting your left mirror slightly lower enables you to see the curb when manoeuvring.
  2. Frame the rear window in the mirror.
  3. Lean right so your head is nearly touching the car. From there, adjust the mirror to see the right rear quarter panel, putting the horizon in the centre of the mirror.

When to check mirrors:

  1. Before indicating
  2. Again, before turning
  3. When changing speed
  4. When moving off from stationary

Tip: remember to check your blind spot

Prepare for surprises

22%: Failure to judge the path of other drivers are the 2nd biggest cause. 10% of cycling incidents stem from failing to judge a car’s path or speed.

Solution: We all know how to check mirrors and indicate, but others may forget. Always prepare for driving mistakes that aren’t your own.

Seasonal Distances

29%: Accidents caused by carelessness, recklessness, or hurrying

Solution: Use these stopping distances for safer stopping.

Wet is x2 braking distance

Snow is x10 braking distance

Roundabout Finesse

11%: Accidents caused by failure to manoeuvre.

Solution: Use the correct lanes, indicators, and mirror checking, as if you were on any other type of road.

Check your car

32%: accidents caused by loss of control.

Solution: Check your car regularly to ensure everything is working correctly.

Tyre Pressure – The maximum psi is shown on the inside of the driver’s side door.

Tread – Purchase an easy-to-use tread depth gauge so that you can monitor your tyre. The legal minimum tread depth in Europe is 1.6 mm across the central three-quarters of the tread width and round its entire circumference.

Oil – With the engine off, open the car’s hood and find the dipstick. Pull the dipstick out from the engine and wipe any oil off from its end. Then insert the dipstick back into its tube and push it all the way back in. Pull it back out, and this time look at both sides of the dipstick to see where the oil is on the end.

Check oil levels by inserting a clean dipstick into the oil chamber to show your level.

Tip: In winter remember to add anti-freeze to your windscreen washing fluid, and bring some de-icer whenever traveling.

Understand your Fuel

Premium Unleaded

Using premium unleaded fuel all the time could be wasting money. Premium fuel contains additives that clean out your engine, in particular the pistons. Infrequent use helps to clean dirt away from the cylinder, however this is a clean-up operation only needed sparingly.

Solution – use premium fuel once every 6 months.

Sound the horn

People often misunderstand when to flash their lights, and when to use their horn, causing confusion on the road.

Solution: Use the horn when turning blind corners, to signal any incoming traffic that you’re there.

Never use when stationary or in residential areas between 11:30pm & 7am unless a road user poses danger. Do not use to tell someone you hate them – or everyone will hate you.

Only flash lights to signal potential danger to oncoming traffic. You’re telling them to slow down.

Do not use to tell someone to pull out, as there may be hazards you haven’t spotted.

With these tips, you’ll be a safer, happier and more efficient driver.

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