9 ways driverless cars could annoy British motorists

Published on 1 February 2016 by Tom Wadlow

As the first driverless self-guiding cars get set to arrive on British roads, driving into the future could bring a whole new set of problems for road users in the UK.

That's the opinion of a national car leasing company that says that while some of the bugbears that British drivers hate will disappear, whole new problems will emerge that will leave helpless passengers seething in their automated vehicles.

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London's first driverless cars could be based on old airport trains

While future-gazing is a difficult skill, the clues are already there to see how a driverless future will pan out, according to car leasing company Flexed.co.uk.

"Driverless cars are built on logic and the passionless scanning of the road ahead by a computer," says Flexed.co.uk 's Mark Hall. "It's going to be all function and no discretion, with no nipping out of road junctions before that chap towing a caravan doing 25 mph. Speaking as a British driver, can you imagine the boredom?"

The following could happen as soon as driverless cars become commonplace on British roads. Some will be uniquely British, while others could happen worldwide:

  1. Sitting and watching other drivers watching films, playing video games or having fun, when you've forgotten to bring something interesting to pass the time.
  2. Mini roundabouts. We all know what happens when three cars get to a mini roundabout all wanting to turn right – British politeness sets in and you could be there until tea-time waiting for someone to go first. Robot cars just won't be able to make that decision, it'll be chaos. 
  3. The art of hitch-hiking is likely to die out, unless robots take up hitch-hiking.
  4. Road rage perpetrated on your own car because it slavishly follows its programming and refuses to overtake the car in front that's tootling along at 2mph below the speed limit.
  5. Banging your head on the dashboard in frustration as your car reacts too slowly to get the last space in a car park
  6. Not a problem: Other drivers won't be able to nip up the 'wrong lane' in a traffic jam, and jump into a gap near the front of the queue. What is a problem: Neither will you.
  7. Higher insurance rates for your make of robot car, because its driving logic is worse than a more expensive model
  8. Pranksters placing cardboard cut-outs of people on crossings.
  9. People 'hacking' their cars to let it break the law.

"The fact that you will be putting your life in the hands of a computer instead of a human is a hard concept for people to grasp," he says. "And there is plenty of science fiction out there where machines have turned on their fleshy masters to fuel that worry,” continues Mark Hall.

“However, as the number of autonomous vehicles on our roads increases, we will slowly work out how to deal with them, and will soon consider them an everyday experience.”

Join the debate on our Facebook page, whether you think driverless cars will annoy you or not. If you think they will bring big benefits to our roads then share your views with us too.