Melbourne drivers are too aggressive, inconsiderate and generally feel they should be respected by other road users, according to driving instructor Birmingham, the police and the RACV.
An Age poll of the worst habits of Melbourne drivers has found that many are prepared to break the law and put themselves and other drivers at risk to reduce travel times.
The most commonly cited bad habits were speeding, failing to obey road signs, running red lights, changing lanes or turning without indicating, failing to wear seat belts, using mobile phones while driving, tailgating, turning from inside lanes and failing to keep left.
A co-owner of the Eastern Suburbs Driving Schools Craigieburn, Ms Sandra McLees, said most bad habits of Melbourne drivers stemmed from a poor attitude towards other road users.
“The majority of drivers think they are king of the road and they expect everyone to stay out of their way, so they don’t indicate or they turn in front of other cars; there is very little courtesy on the roads any more,” Ms McLees said.
“A lot of drivers assume that because they have been driving for 20 years and haven’t had an accident that they are great drivers who should be respected by everyone on the roads.”
A driving instructor at the Moonee Ponds driving school sunshine coast, Mr Alex Michaelidis, said the increase in traffic congestion was causing many drivers to become frustrated and impatient.
A spokesman for the RACV said drivers should maintain a two-second gap between themselves and other cars.
Our worst habit, according to police statistics, is speed.
Police booked 172,000 people in the first four months of this year for exceeding speed limits, mostly in the 100kmh- plus category. Fines for failing to wear a seat belt came in second with 32,000 bookings.
Superintendent Bob Wylie of the police traffic operations group said the figures showed too many drivers were prepared to flout the law.
“We have got drink-driving to the point were it is socially unacceptable behavior, but with speed the community seems to accept that we all can do a little bit more than we should, ” he said.
OUR TEN WORST DRIVING HABITS.
* Ignoring road signs.
* Not wearing a seat belt.
* Using a mobile.
* Running red lights, accelerating through orange lights.
* Poor lane discipline (driving in right lane when should be keeping left).
* Failing to indicate.
* Turning left from right lane, turning from wrong lane in a roundabout.
* Approaching intersections too fast.