5 things to stop doing wrongly in your car from TODAY, including lane merging
Lane merge (yes, we've gone there), wing mirrors, your route, windscreen defrosting and lane changing
1) LANE MERGE PROPERLY AS YOU APPROACH ROADWORKS
When you approach a lane closure, don't stay only in the open lanes too early; don't sit in one lane for a mile with an empty lane next to you; don't sit there fuming as people over/undertake you in the empty lane and drive right up to the point where the lane closes.
It's not their fault for queue jumping - it's yours for sticking to the still-open lane too early. The UK highway code says "Where lanes are restricted due to road works, merge in turn." If does not say get in one lane way too soon.
In particular, DO NOT DO THIS (people who try to stop you overtaking like this are acting without reasonable consideration for road users and can be prosecuted in the UK):
Obviously it's a bit embarrassing if you drive up the open bit and everyone glares at you. But they are wrong, not you. The traffic jam will be shorter in length if we all did this properly - which might mean the back of the queue could be past the junction someone wants to turn off at rather than before it.
2) ADJUST YOUR WING MIRRORS CORRECTLY
The more of your car you can see in your wing mirror, the less of the outside world you can see, and the bigger your blind spot. You don't need to see much or any of your car. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) looked into this a few years ago, and came up with this recommendation.
Look at this picture. The view of the car uses more than a quarter of the visible wing mirror area. This is not necessary.
Image Source: Alamy Stock Photo
3 STOP LANE CHANGING IN TRAFFIC JAMS
That theory you have about which lane is going faster? It's almost certainly an illusion. Scientists have looked into this.
When you drive past 5 cars in a stationary lane, they will be very close and you pass them in a short space of time and over a short distance. When you are stationary and those same 5 cars pass you, they will be spread out more - the distance from the the front of the 5 cars to the back is much longer than when you drove past the same five cars bunched up. When this cycle happens repeatedly in a traffic jam, this gives the illusion that the other lane is going faster - and every driver suffers from this illusion.
Source: Mirjana Chamberlain-Vucic at https://www.flickr.com/photos/mirjana/117740264/ under https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/ Also there is too much car in this wing mirror ... see above
Also the ones you've overtaken disappear from view, while the ones who overtake you are there, in front of you, mocking you with their presence.
Don't believe me? Here are some models to prove it: playingwithmodels.wordpress.com/2010/06/24/should-you-switch-lanes-in-traffic/. Lane switching doesn't work and slows everyone behind you down.
Of course, not everyone agrees with this:
4 MAKE SURE YOUR REGULAR JOURNEY REALLY IS THE QUICKEST WAY
Scientists have found that around half of people's favourite routes for regular journeys aren't actually the quickest way to get there and back: "For example, people tend to choose routes going south rather than routes of equal lengths that go north.
"People favour routes that are straight at the beginning, instead of shorter ones that aren’t straight.
"Landmarks also influence route choice, by attracting more trips than travel-time minimization would expect." blogs.discovermagazine.com/crux/2016/03/16/driving-were-doing-it-wrong/. So check your sat nav / google maps.
5 DON'T POUR BOILING WATER ON YOUR FROZEN WINDSCREEN
The UK Automobile Association is very clear on this: "Using hot water brings a real risk of damaging a screen. Sudden expansion caused by hot water followed by contraction as it cools can cause the glass to crack, especially if it already has chips or small cracks.
On very cold days this method is ineffective, as the hot water will rapidly cool and almost instantly turn to ice. Worse, it will accumulate on the wipers and freeze them to the screen, risking damage to the wiper motor or ripping off the rubber if you switch them on." www.theaa.com/newsroom/news-2012/defrosting-your-car-aa-autowindshields-advice.html
So there we go. Are you going to change any of your behaviours - or are you a perfect driver and car owner already?