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Driving habits from around the world

China Road Image

Despite the fact that the world has gotten smaller thanks to the internet and advanced technology, there are still times when you can find yourself in a foreign country and absolutely baffled by the behaviour of the locals around you. When you’re in Athens and find someone shaking their head when you’re absolutely certain they mean ‘yes’, you’re bound to be a bit confused.

And the same confusion can occur when observing drivers around the world. There are many differences between drivers and their driving habits in different countries and it’s fascinating to watch them in action. Here are a few of our favourite tales of driving culture from around the globe – let us know in the comments section if you have any of your own tales to tell.

Kenya – put that light out!

Bizarrely, Kenyan drivers don’t like to drive with their lights on at night time because of the risk of their battery running flat. So instead, they drive around in the dark and flick on their high-beams as soon as another vehicle comes near them, which can cause sudden panic all around.

Also, driving up hills towards Nairobi, overloaded trucks often struggle. But drivers use their indicators as a way of showing that it isn’t safe to pass – try that in the UK and you’d probably be honked at.

Iran – roundabout roulette

In Iran, there are no road markings or system of right of way at roundabouts, meaning it takes confidence to overcome them. The idea is that drivers make eye contact with those already on the roundabout and then make a judgment call on whether it’s safe for them to pull out. Risky business!

Turkey – roads are always open

Turkey has spent a lot on road infrastructure and when driving in the half Europe / half Asia country, you may find yourself driving along a dirt track that runs parallel to a new, freshly tarmacked road that isn’t yet open for use.

But this shouldn’t put you off. When you get an opportunity, you should move on to the new road and simply move off it again when you come to an obstruction (e.g. a bulldozer). This is, somewhat bizarrely, accepted practice – the construction workers working on the new road will expect you to do it.

China – road markings are merely a suggestion

It seems, when driving in China, that drivers use the lane markings as a suggestion only. When you’re on a three lane road, it’s more common to see as many as eight lines of traffic, with cars straddling the ‘lanes’ and driving as they choose.

Italy – hold on tight

If you’ve ever taken a cab in Rome, you’ll know what we mean. Italians absolutely love their cars, of course, with the nation being home to such industry giants as Lamborghini, Ferrari and Pirelli, and they love their driving too. You can see the pleasure on the face of drivers as they bomb down Rome’s cobbled streets, swerving instead of braking. Seatbelts are a must if you’re of a nervy disposition!

Siberia – the road is always yours

This one does have some logic to it. When you’re driving in Siberia and you’re faced with a u-turn (of which there are many), don’t expect there to be anything coming the other way. The Russian approach for this is that the Russian population is tiny in comparison to the size of the country, and as such the chances of a driver coming around the bend are slim. It doesn’t make it any less frightening if you’re not used to it, though!

Offbeat  28/08/2013 17:00:00

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