Tips on Identifying Bad Weather Drivers

Busy intersection with cars and pedestrians narrowly missing one another

Oh man, it’s that time of year again. When folks are out on unfamiliar road braving the winter weather in hopes of seeing their families for the holidays. While that sounds lovely for the families involved, the rest of us are often forced to watch from the next lane, white-knuckling our steering wheels, as distracted and ill-prepared drivers make our commutes a bit more interesting.

Long-haul drivers can attest that there will be no shortage of excitement out on the road during this season. When you spend most of your days out on the road, you’re sure to witness some pretty crazy incidents. So, in honor of all the road warriors out there, we’ve created a list of the 10 terrible drivers you’ll meet (and wish you hadn’t) this winter!

The Drifter

A small car drifts into the next lane in front of a large semi-truck, and is pushed along the road

We’ve all seen The Fast and the Furious movies (or at least one out of the 10 they made) and are familiar with their highly-trained drivers and seamless stunts. Well, that’s cool and all to watch in a movie, but the drifters we’re talking about here fit the part in a real-life horror show.

The drifter is the driver that never seems content with their own lane and so periodically attempts to acquire some of yours. You’re not sure if you should pass them or slow down to keep a safe distance. You begin to create stories of what’s going on with the driver to cause this annoying drifting. Perhaps it was too much eggnog at grandma’s…whatever the reason, keep a close eye on these guys!

The Tree-Lugger

A woman and a boy are driving in a car, and see a Christmas tree in the road and slam to a stop

‘Tis the season for Christmas trees and those who joyfully haul them across town with nothing but a fraying string wrapped around their car..! A freshly-cut evergreen strapped to the roof, excited children screaming Christmas carols in the back seat…What a perfect time to drive a vehicle, wouldn’t you say? And this is the best-case scenario, as we’re assuming the tree doesn’t fall off the car mid-drive! Anyone else cringing at the thought of this?

The Risk-Taker

We all love what this time of year does to our nerves, don’t we? The traffic, the unpredictable weather, the never-ending to-do list! How does all this holiday bliss affect the driver stuck behind the only car going under the speed limit? For some, it means they become something of a daredevil and try to propel their 4-cylinder car ahead of the slowpoke in front the moment they see the broken middle line.

The first-person point of view of a car passing traffic, forced to swerve to the shoulder on the left side of the road to avoid a head-on collision with a semi truck

The Unfashionably Late

A speeding car swerves in and out of traffic on a busy freeway at night

These drivers take the stress of the roadways to the max! We’ve all been there–trying to get to grandma’s house for the family dinner before she realizes we’re late. We’d do almost anything to avoid disappointing nana, but risk the lives of other people by speeding and swerving through traffic? Nah!

The Turkey Slumberer

Family feasts are abundant and delicious this time of year and absolutely one of the highlights of the season. These drivers wait all year for their Mom’s oven-roasted turkey and gravy. As always, the three-course meal never disappoints. Another slice of pie? Sure, why not, they’ve already eaten this much, what’s one more slice?

They say their goodbyes and pack up the car and drive away. Soon enough, with the coziness of the heater and darkness of the night, they drift off to sleep…only to be awakened by the loud noise of the rumble strip beneath their car’s tires!

A man is driving in a convertable at night and has a suprised expression as he loses control of the car and tries to correct the steering wheel

The Forgetful

First person point of view of driving in traffic on a highway, when all of a sudden the red car in front swerves to the right, revealing a stopped car. The video ends with the driver slamming into the back of the stopped car.

Ah yes, that moment of panic when this driver realizes they’ve forgotten the famous fruitcake (that no one wants, but the holidays aren’t complete without). The panic has temporarily clouded their awareness that they’re operating a motor vehicle and their ability to function fails, suddenly stopping the car…usually in an abrupt, unsafe manner, way too close to the moving traffic. For goodness (and humanity’s) sake, make a list and check it twice before you leave the house!

The Driver on Ice

Ever wonder what it’s like to spin out of control with no way of stopping your vehicle? Simply watch a car attempting to drive on ice and you’ll see firsthand.

These situations can quickly turn dangerous for all drivers involved. While no driver can control the icy conditions, you can check the weather to see if there’s a chance for black ice on your drive and plan accordingly.

A car struggles to drive in the snow, and proceeds to slip sideways down a snow covered hill. pedestrians try to help stop the sliding car without prevail.

Equipping your vehicles with the proper tires and maintaining your brakes is a good place to start. A fleet management system can take the guesswork out by tracking maintenance records. This can be especially helpful when there are multiple vehicles in your fleet. There are no surprises since the system sends alerts of any upcoming maintenance needs. Preventative maintenance is one of the best ways to prepare for dangerous winter driving conditions.

The Sidewinder

A car drives up a winding road, past parked vehicles, loses control and spins onto the hillside shoulder and flips over.

This is the driver that’s having a little too much fun this holiday season and is whipping around town on their merry way! In areas with winding roads, their excitement can get the better of them and, if they’re not careful, those fun curves can turn into spin-outs!

You don’t want to be the vehicle behind the driver that asks, “Did I take that corner too fast?”. Take note of vehicles that are driving too quickly or sporadically, as they’re likely to underestimate their speed and whip around a corner a little too fast.

The Maiden Voyager

The holiday season brings with it many great things, including serious deals and abundant generosity. Many drivers will find themselves in the driver’s seat of a brand new car this year. They will likely want to take their new ride out for a spin, open it up, and see what it can really do.

…Not that we can blame them. We get it, they want to show off their new toy to mom (or their friends). Let’s just hope no one is around them when they do!

A side view of a blue car speeding along a dirt road. As it drives down the hill it catches some air, and lands with dust trailing behind it.

The Deal Chaser

A large crowd of vehicles speed around a city block corner, some crashing into one another and others speeding along.

The holiday shopping rush has been in full swing since Black Friday. With every day that passes the intensity increases as bargain-hunters grow more and more desperate and ruthless. Keep an eye out for big holiday sales or shopping areas during their peak hours to avoid getting caught up in a car-cattle drive. No one likes mall traffic!

The Last-Minute Lunatic

Perhaps this driver was on auto-pilot coming home from the office. Perhaps they are visiting for the holidays and aren’t familiar with the roads. Either way, they just missed their exit. And, unfortunately, they won’t just drive to the next exit and make their way back like we were all taught to do in driver’s ed. They’ll instead panic and make every attempt to not miss that exit ramp. Because what’s the worst that could happen if they suddenly swerve across three lanes of traffic? Certainly nothing worse than missing their exit!

A car stops along a freeway just past an exit, two semi trucks behind it break hard and swerve to avoid the stopped car, resulting in one tipping over.

How to Protect Yourself Against Terrible Drivers

A semi truck skillfully swerves into the left lane on a freeway, narrowly avoiding stopped traffic ahead.

I think we can all agree, these drivers are the worst! Even though there’s nothing we can do to prevent our interaction with them, defensive driving techniques certainly help.

If you plan on being out on the road for extended periods of time, even after the holidays, in-cab video cameras are a great investment. We may not have control over what other motorists do but we can control how we protect ourselves.

In the unfortunate case, you happen to have a run-in with a terrible driver a video surveillance camera gives you the proof to show what really happened. This has been proven to save drivers and businesses up to 68% in accident costs when dealing with insurance claims.

It just so happens that now is the perfect time to add this protection, as the tax section 179 deduction is offering up to one million dollars towards purchasing business equipment. Don’t delay, as time is running out. Purchases must be made and put into use before the end of 2018 to qualify.

Happy Holidays! And again, stay safe and alert out there. You never know when you’ll meet one of these 10 terrible drivers (that you wish you hadn’t) this winter. Keep trucking on!