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Driving in Russia is a demolition derby

by Bruno Deshayes on 09 Mar 2017 permalink
If you ask a traffic patrol officer which are the most likely causes of car accidents they would tell you : speed, alcohol (or drugs) and inexperienced drivers.

The Russian society has managed to capitalise on those 3 points : speed limits do not exists (car, motorbikes or trucks often careen out of control at intersections, curves or pedestrian crossings), a little vodka keeps you warm on a long road trip and finally you have to pay bribes to get your driving licence whether you have any road experience or not.

The dash cam has become a compulsory feature on all Russian vehicles. This is the only way to prove your innocence as the road patrol rarely attend to an accident. When they do, it is always possible to pay a bribe to get an out-of-jail card. Also men regularly carry a crowbar in the boot to settle disputes with unwelcome motorists who smash into your car.

There are no car registration safety checks. People rarely would replace bald tyres and if they do they don’t always replace or tighten the hub nuts. A spare tyre overtaking you on the highway with the screeching noise of some metal scratching on the tar is a sure sign that you have lost a wheel…

People are impatient at the wheel. Giving right of way is optional. Looking in the rear mirror before executing a turn is also optional. Major collisions take place when people overtake (sometimes on the emergency lane) only to plough into crossing pedestrians or passing traffic.

You don’t see too many front wheel drive cars so most cars tend to over-steer and with bald tyres there is no grip on the rear axe so that you find yourself slipping head to tail out of control into the oncoming traffic or into the ditch.

People don’t often wear seatbelts and when an old truck cabin is hit the driver may be ejected out as the doors fly open.

Russian don’t waste money on defensive driving skills - they don’t know how to counter steer or apply the brakes gradually.

Strange scenes occur : a bus tyre explodes into a waiting car on the next lane. A bonnet opens up while driving at full speed. (Oh, what’s that button under the dash again?) With no visibility whatsoever you a doomed to crash into something…

People gladly overtake a turning truck only to find themselves squeezed against the curb as the lorry moves into their lane.

Speed and lack of snow tyres provides unique performances of motorised Russian ballet on ice. A graceful exit is to bump into fresh powder piled up on the roadside.

Russian dash-cam videos provide a limitless supply of cheap and sickening entertainment material for opportunistic YouTube advertisers.



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Bruno Deshayes

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