Every one of us who has ventured onto the road driving or riding has encountered them. Pedestrians daily walk across roads or stand at street corners, their lives endangered by them. Police vainly attempt to stop them, but lack the requisite army of officers to even dent their presence. Courts are thick with them after they run amok on the roads. Insurance companies use them to justify ever-escalating rates.

Who are they? They are the mass of bad drivers who populate our roads and highways with increasing frequency. Not merely the sloppy, the incompetent, or the lazy drivers of daily experience, these are the truly dangerous, the real threats to life, limb and property. And they form an enormous and growing percentage of drivers on the road.

How do we prevent ourselves from becoming statistics at their hands – or rather at their vehicles? How do we avoid becoming targets of their all-too-frequent fits of road rage? How do we even recognize them, hidden craftily among the millions of otherwise normal drivers out there? To aid your survival, this guide to trends and tendencies that will help you spot – and, we hope, avoid – the really seriously stupid-yet-dangerous drivers on the road. These are the warning signs – in no special order. If you spot them, then stay well back. Change lanes. Change roads. Change countries. Pull over and wait until they are gone from sight. And pray to whatever deity moves you that there isn’t another one closing from the rear.