INDIANAPOLIS — For those with years of driving experience the daily chore of getting from “A to B” can seem monotonous, if not “automated.” Traveling the same routes around the same times every day can easily become routine. 

But how much of our daily driving habits are actually “bad habits?” 

Are we even aware of our less-than-stellar driving habits?  

Would you change them even if you knew they were problematic?  

Some of the worst choices drivers make like speeding, distracted driving and driving under the influence have led to well-documented results. But what about the other things? The ones that toe the edge illegal or ill-advised and may be just plain annoying. 

CBS4 hits the road with ISP to find bad habits

To get some better insight into those habits CBS4 drove Indiana’s interstates with Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine, who has 19 years of experience patrolling Hoosier roadways.  

“I’ve spent a lot of time on the highway watching people drive,” he said.  

Bad habit: navigating merges

One of the first “bad habits” Perrine pointed out was how people treat interstate on-ramps, particularly the drivers who don’t reach highway speeds before merging.  

“If you’re merging in front of a line of cars that’s coming at highway speeds, you can’t enter the highway at 30 miles an hour. Those on ramps are designed for you to be able to match highway speed before you merge,” he said.  

Sticking with the topic of merging Perrine says he often sees drivers who refuse to let other cars ahead of them in their lane. A move Perrine adds can usually lead to further problems for the cars behind.  

“If you allow that driver to merge in front of you it keeps traffic flowing. Some of the biggest traffic backups that we see at merge points are caused by selfish driving.” 

Sgt. John Perrine, Indiana State Police

“The zipper merge by design would keep traffic flowing through any kind of lane closure…But when people don’t allow other cars to merge that are in that lane that’s closed, then people start hitting their brakes and as people start hitting their brakes we see this accordion effect of traffic stopping behind them eventually leading to a backup and possibly a crash,” Perrine said.  

Bad Habit: Speeding (and being too slow)

Perrine added that often drivers aren’t aware of their bad habits. Particularly when it comes to their speed.  

“What would shock you is how many people want to argue over what the speed limit is. Because their GPS is telling them something. Right now, we are in the construction area and the speed limit is reduced, but your GPS is not going to tell you that,” he said.  

Speed is a sensitive topic with State Police. It’s the most common ticket they write and is a huge factor in many accidents and issues officials see. But even if you are a stickler for the speedometer who has the best intentions, there is another habit that can cause issues down the road.  

“The other thing that we see is people kind of try to take the law into their own hands. They’ll get out on the left lane and stack up traffic and say well I’m not speeding and I’m not going to let the people behind me speed. But in turn what they’re doing is causing traffic flow issues that are going to lead to traffic congestion and crashes. So, leave the speed enforcement up to law enforcement and police officers. And worry about your own driving your own safety,” Perrine said. 

Perrine says sometimes people develop bad habits over time and don’t even realize they’re doing something wrong. 

His best piece of advice? “Imagine there’s a state trooper in your passenger seat. And ask yourself how you would drive in that scenario.”