View Full Version : Driven To It
A lot of people from different countries post here, so I'm a little curious about something that popped into my head when somebody came screaming down from an off-ramp and hopped three lanes to get into the left turn lane, nearly taking my nose off in the process.
Are driving peeves the same all over? As a secondary question, what are some unwritten driver's protocols around the world?
My biggest driving peeve are the people who can't read a street sign without applying the brake. At 25mph, the standard speed for a residential zone (California), you should be able to read any street sign from a reasonable distance without slowing down. If you can't think that fast, you can't think fast enough to drive safely.
The unwritten protocol I was thinking about is the custom of a friendly wave when someone lets you cut in. It's not a law, but it's just good etiquette. It annoys me a little when people don't do it, although I know their minds may be elsewhere.
So I'm curious if drivers are the same all over. Would something that ticks off the English also tick off the Americans? (Aside from the fact that we Yanks drive on the wrong side of the road.) And how do the rest of the roads feel after you've driven the Autobahn?
I'm eager to hear from the rest of the world.
(And contrary to my posts in the sex offenders topic, I don't believe that people who don't use their signal lights should have their steering wheels cut off and get raped by homosexual Volkswagens! ;) )
What, no mandatory BUGgery?
I have only two insights on international driving: In Seattle we have a lot of cultural jokes about Canada ... one of them is the motorists in Vancouver, BC. We've known drivers in Seattle have been getting more and more dangerous in recent years, but we still have a need to describe Canadian motorists as ludicrous.
And while we are having more and more conflicts 'twixt motorists and bicyclists in metropolitain areas (anybody witnessed a Critical Mass protest ride?), I feel it prudent to describe mopeds in Caracas, Venezuela.
Imagine urban traffic, with two-hundred cars packed into too-narrow lanes along the length of the block. Now move five-hundred bicycles and mopeds into the tiny spaces between cars at the head of the line. Green light ... just try to miss the two-wheelers.
However, as far as violence on the road goes, it seems the most carnage we hear about here is either an Autobahn crash or someone getting shot up on the highway in Israel for worshipping the wrong God.
My own pet peeve on the roads is the approach to highway or street construction. Don't like the pace? Pull out of line, race to the front, and make the process even more painful. Not, I suppose, the biggest thing in the world, but any other of my complaints will find me railing against pedestrians, motorists, bicyclists ... the whole stinkin' lot of 'em.
"Let us not launch the boat until the ground is wet." (Khaavren of Castlerock)
11-09-99, 11:46 PM
I agree with you concerning the unwritten "wave" etiquette when someone slows down to let you merge, for example. People usually like it when their good deed is acknowledged. It doesn't matter to me, though... When I'm on the road I am usually a calm, alert and reasonably defensive driver.
Last Tuesday night, around 9:30 PM, it was pitch black out on the highway with not many cars on the road. I was travelling in the north-bound lanes when I saw this "HUGE THING" a couple of hundred yards up the road, rolling across the south-bound lanes. I couldn't figure out what it was. It continued over the divider and ended up hovering in the wind like a giant jelly-fish, blocking all view of the north-bound lanes in front of me. Mine was the car closest to this "thing" and knew if I kept up my speed, my vehicle would surely be engulfed by whatever it was. So, I instinctively slowed down, safely, and allowed a car in another lane to pass me so that it would "take out" the "thing" rather than me.
The "thing" was completely wrapped around the car in front of me. It covered the car's front windshield its rear window and it was all caught-up in the car's wheels. The driver of that car was able to "feel" and jerk its way halfway onto the shoulder. (Not being able to see, being that the thing was wrapped around the car, it looked like the driver was concerned about hitting the guard-rail).
Afterwards, my best guess was that the "thing" was a giant tarp from a nearby construction site.
Anyway, as far as the driver of the other car was concerned, my protocol probably stunk in that situation. :)
11-10-99, 04:58 PM
You have not seen bad driving til youve come to Atlanta,they are the worst. No turnsignals,cant control there speed. There is a crash and death daily. I know about the Wa-Canadian deaths as a iam from Mt Vernon so ya it was the same for Californians coming to Wa we hated them too lol. But you havent seen shitty driving til youve been to Atlanta...it sucks here. Ive been on the Autobahn and have to say that im impressed on how fast you can drive yet not too many accidents. Germans as a whole are rude to americans but i can overlook that as that is cultural to them but at least they can drive
The worst place I've ever been to is South Korea. I'm not sure why anyone bothers to define lanes on a road, since no one EVER drives inside the lane. People will drive between lanes, on the shoulder, or wherever they can find a space. You have cars drifting across the road arbitrarily (no one uses their turn signals). And of course, no one really obeys the speed limit, assuming there actually is one. It is absolute chaos.
I read a joke one time where they say the Germans drive on the right side of the road, the English drive on the left side of the road, and the Belgians drive on both sides of the road.
I cut bicyclists slack when they're being cool, but I have encountered quite a few that didn't quite get the idea that my car outweighs their bike by quite a ratio. They seemed to have this idea that since a bike isn't a car, they don't have to follow traffic laws. Then the driver ends up with a Schwinn hood ornament.
I tend to be lenient with certain pedestrians. Old people (give 'em a break, they've done their time), small children (too stupid to know better, slow down but lay into the horn), and the handicapped. I haven't hit any pedestrians yet, knock on wood, but when perfectly healthy, mobile adults meander across the street with all the enthusiasm of a three-toed sloth, images of an old movie called "Death Race 2000" come to mind.
Another driving policy of mine is to never pass around an ice cream truck at any speed greater than an idle. When I was 5 I saw my best friend get his head split open by someone who was in so much of a hurry that they couldn't slow down for just a moment. My friend made it, but I have been paranoid about ice cream trucks ever since.