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I like the article on UK drivers, so so right notworthy.gif

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No No NO! It's so wrong it's unbelievable. Yeah, British drivers do crap things, but to suggest they're the worst is barmy. Have you driven in other countries!? Ok, the Germans are good, but Italy, Portugal, all of S. America, SE Asia!? What about the USA?

I lived in Seattle, and though they must have been the worst drivers on the planet, but now I live in Boston, MA, and here they are as incompetent and oblivious as the Seattleites, but 40% faster and many orders of magnitude ruder and more agressive. (ok, the faster bit is less annoying, but some competence to go with it might be nice.) Nobody has a clue what the rules of the road are, and using indicators is seen as a sign of weakness. At a pinch indicators can be flipped on while you're turning the wheel for the manoeuver, or once you've actually stopped in the middle of the road to read the map with a queue of cars behind you (not exaggerating!).

My wife (Boston native) hints at the reason when she describes her driving test, which was to drive around a block, 4 right turns (the easy ones when you drive on the right), and park. She also had to do a 3 point turn, but as long as you completed it without bending anything, within 10 minutes or so, you passed. Parallel parking? No need mate. Hill starts? well , using the handbrake ("emergency brake", to the yanks - a clue there), is considered cheating. Not to mention that you can do your test in an automatic, and then go out and buy a manual to drive home, as my wife did. She taught herself to drive it on the way home from the dealer. crunch crunch lurch.

Come to any situation more complex than a traffic light, like a roundabout (of which there are quite a few), and people are just bewildered, yielding their right of way, or taking the right of way they don't have. The presence of "Yield" signs doesn't seem to give people hints, so half the population seems to think that those on the roundabout give way to those coming in. You can be cruising around only to find the person in front of you stop suddenly to let someone in, or you can find someone barrelling in at you taking no prisoners so you have to slam on the brakes, and then they sound their horn at you!

It's not all the fault of the drivers - the road layouts are so absurd and unclear that to attempt to follow the rules makes no sense. The road markings are put down using a thin coat of emulsion paint that wears off in a month, so lanes and stop lines are a matter of guesswork. Road reflectors are obviously some sort of pinko communist plot, so right out; in the rain in the dark the roads are just a shiny black potholed area in front of you, and where to go is guesswork. Still, lanes don't matter much since you have to weave around to dodge the car-eating potholes. People frequently can't make it into work in spring because some pothole has blown out both tyres on one side.

It's madness I tell you! I yearn for the quality of driving of the UK. And to think you get pissed off at people for sitting in the middle lane! You don't know how lucky you are. It's a marked difference between the US and the UK - in the US they always crow about what a fantastic country it is, when in many ways it's kind of crap, while in the UK everyone goes on about how rubbish it is, when it's actually kind of good. Don't get me started on politics.

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It's madness I tell you! I yearn for the quality of driving of the UK. And to think you get pissed off at people for sitting in the middle lane! You don't know how lucky you are. It's a marked difference between the US and the UK - in the US they always crow about what a fantastic country it is, when in many ways it's kind of crap, while in the UK everyone goes on about how rubbish it is, when it's actually kind of good. Don't get me started on politics.

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In terms of almost all areas of life, with only one exception [and I`m beginning to change my mind on that as well], I`d prefer to be living in the US rather than here in the UK.

In terms of driving, I spent one week in the US last year and found it to be infinitely preferably to driving here. The amount of time lost through congestion is an obvious starting point. I found navigation a lot easier Stateside, too.

"Better" drivers here, maybe, but it doesn't alter the fact everything else is better elsewhere.

Oh, and the Germans? Good drivers? Have you ever been there?! They are nearly as dangerous as the Italians!

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In terms of driving, I spent one week in the US last year and found it to be infinitely preferably to driving here. The amount of time lost through congestion is an obvious starting point. I found navigation a lot easier Stateside, too.

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In that case, I'd lay large money you didn't drive in metro Boston, especially if you found navigation even tolerable. Locals proudly state that you don't need signs: "If you don't know where you're going, you shouldn't be on the roads.". Congestion? Well, compare like with like and it's as bad here as anywhere. Driving in and around the multi-million person eastern cities in the US at peak times rivals anything the UK can produce.

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"Better" drivers here, maybe, but it doesn't alter the fact everything else is better elsewhere.

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Ah, that's a whole other issue we could spend days on if we want to broaden the topic. Hey, I like Seattle, it's a quality place to live, even if people couldn't drive. Many of the places without congestion are also filled with inbred ignorant bible-thumping Christian Taleban. Irrespective of the relative merits I think the yanks have an overinflated view of their country, and the Brits consistently underrate the UK. It parallels the confident vs self-deprecating cultures, and to some extent the attitudes are self-fulfilling, so that is on balance a point for the US. On the other hand it would be nice if the Yanks could criticise and poke fun at themselves a bit more.

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Oh, and the Germans? Good drivers? Have you ever been there?! They are nearly as dangerous as the Italians!

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Well, I felt I had to concede somewhere. I'm not asserting that the British are the best drivers, just good. My last trip to Germany, I was impressed. They use their mirrors on the autobahns!

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My last trip to Germany, I was impressed. They use their mirrors on the autobahns!

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They need to, they're full of British journos trying to v-max the latest Brabus/Ruf/9ff!

I found Californian drivers very considerate, they must be used to European tourists charging round as they give you room to pass as soon as they can. Rush hour LA was a more relaxed place than the A4 on a Thursday night too...

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...I found Californian drivers very considerate, they must be used to European tourists charging round as they give you room to pass as soon as they can. Rush hour LA was a more relaxed place than the A4 on a Thursday night too...

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No, southern Californians are considerate 'cause they remember when they were shot if they weren't (ref. the freeway shootings in the late '90s openfire.gif).

Someone said: "An armed society is a polite society". Sometimes that's true.

This native other-side-of-The-Ponder can say that Boston driving is likely the most hazardous in the States. They don't call it Zoo-ston for nothing. IIRC, it is/was legal to pass/drive in the breakdown lanes (laybys?) during rush hour.

Detroit, where I live, is Boston w/ some semblance of a road plan. And illegal to pass in a breakdown lane. Tho people still do (including the "centipedes")...

Can't comment on Seattle...never visited the place.

Over on your'all's side of The Pond, I find driving in the UK, Ireland, and Germany to be the most courteous, orderly, & predictable.

Italy & France (Paris especially) were quite the opposite.

Czech Republic was somewhere in between.

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This native other-side-of-The-Ponder can say that Boston driving is likely the most hazardous in the States. They don't call it Zoo-ston for nothing. IIRC, it is/was legal to pass/drive in the breakdown lanes (laybys?) during rush hour.

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It's true... (Brits call it the hard shoulder typically - laybys in the UK are mostly areas to pull off and park legally).

The worst of it is that Bostonians are proud of the fact that they are the rudest people in the US. At least the French and Italians combine recklessness with a semblance of coordination, skill and style on the roads. Most Bostonians would be quivering wrecks in Paris, when asked to go through a gap with only a foot either side of their mirrors.

To expand on my Seattle experience, the driving there was ideally suited to being stoned. If you're ok with cars gently drifting unannounced between lanes, all doing 55-60 in random lanes of the 60mph 5 lane freeway, drinking lattes in one hand, talking on the phone with the other, then everything was cool. If you actually want to get anywhere today and find it annoying when people amble across your bows without warning, then it will give you an aneurism. I took about 3 years to adjust, but I'd take driving there over Boston any day. It's a bit like watching baseball - initially it's really frustrating while you're waiting for them to stop scratching themselves, swapping teams, warming up, and for something to actually happen, then after a while you get used to the fact that almost nothing happens, and relax, drink your beer and talk to your friends.

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...To expand on my Seattle experience, the driving there was ideally suited to being stoned. If you're ok with cars gently drifting unannounced between lanes, all doing 55-60 in random lanes of the 60mph 5 lane freeway, drinking lattes in one hand, talking on the phone with the other, then everything was cool. If you actually want to get anywhere today and find it annoying when people amble across your bows without warning, then it will give you an aneurism. I took about 3 years to adjust, but I'd take driving there over Boston any day. It's a bit like watching baseball - initially it's really frustrating while you're waiting for them to stop scratching themselves, swapping teams, warming up, and for something to actually happen, then after a while you get used to the fact that almost nothing happens, and relax, drink your beer and talk to your friends.

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OK, now I can back you up...this sounds more like them.

Grundge-loving, latte-slurpin', oblivious to the world...that sounds like a few Seattlites I know.

Note that 'Seattlites' sounds like 'satellites' for a good reason. Far out, man...spacy...

(Nice analogy to baseball, too! 169144-ok.gif)

(From my previous statements, please don't infer that Detroiters don't have issues, either. wink.gif )

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