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Why I dislike driving, is it easier/less dangerous outside america?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ideogenous_mover, Aug 8, 2022.

  1. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    I've driven mostly in the southwestern U.S., so I've rarely had to deal with driving on icy hills.

    The cloverleaf interchanges can be hazardous, as they have short on-ramps and no way to accelerate quickly. However, the newer stretches of road and interchanges seem to be moving away from that to having
    longer merge lanes.

    As for analyzing driver error over structural error, I've noticed that too. I think it's a combination of both factors, as well as the general practice of using traffic enforcement as a means of gaining revenue or a pretext for harassment - and not a genuine, good-faith commitment to traffic safety. The number of "routine traffic stops" which end in deadly shootings is an indicator of shoddy police practices and corruption at high levels of government. Yet with all the games they play, they're not making society any safer.

    I'm not sure how it compares with other countries, but I found a site which compares fatality statistics by state: Fatal Car Accidents by State 2022 (worldpopulationreview.com)

    It notes that the lower death rates occurred in the northeastern states, where there is more infrastructure, higher population density, and better mass transit. This also appears to be the case in many European countries with higher population densities than what is typically found in U.S. states.
     
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  2. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Green is for go,
    Amber is for go with caution,.
    Red looks pretty.

    A comment from the mayor of Naples some years ago.
     
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  3. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I think much of the problem with US road safety is the lack of a coherent annual (od biannual) vehicle safety test.
     
  4. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    I do like driving, it's almost a hobby of mine. The main trick is, watch out for the other idiot and always assume every other driver is the other idiot.

    Another trick is try to keep the shiny side up.
     
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  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

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    India is at 16.6. We agree it is high.
     
  6. F1fan

    F1fan Veteran Member

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    As a cyclist myself I have seen a lot of poor driving from Americans. The vast majority are courteous but it's the few bad apples that cause problems.

    I'm curious how drivers treat cyclists in France and Belgium since bike racing is so popular there and we train on roads as a necessity.
     
  7. ChristineM

    ChristineM "Be strong" I whispered to my coffee.
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    Generally speaking a cyclist is king of the road in france. On tricky roads with cyclists the traffic slows to the speed of the cyclist. And only overtakes when it is safe to do so.

    I've been here nearly 7 years now and have never seen any road rage directed at cyclist's.
     
  8. Stevicus

    Stevicus Veteran Member
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    In America, the King of the Road is a vagabond who ain't got no cigarettes.

     
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  9. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    @ChristineM or @Vee can probably give you a more definitive answer, but experience in France is that the cyclists one sees in the countryside are usually in groups (pelotons?) of quite serious sportsmen and women. They constitute a substantial "vehicle" and get treated much as one would treat one of the ubiquitous tractors. I have no experience of how solo cyclists are treated in city driving.

    The Belgians are all F-ing mad, behind the wheel.They tend to drive black BMWs, at absurd speed, and without any "due care and attention". When driving on the Continent I've learned to look out for the telltale red number plate and give them a wide berth, whether they are in front or (especially) behind me. I have no clue how cyclists get on in Belgium.

    In the Netherlands of course, famously, there is a law that if there is ever a crash between a car and a bike, it is automatically, without question or appeal, the car driver's fault. Result: cars are very careful indeed around bikes - and some cyclists arse around, doing daft things. To this day, I always check the passenger's side mirror before turning into a side road, in case there is a hitherto undetected bike sneaking up. It's actually a good practice anyway. There is also the Dutch method of opening the driver's side car door. You use the gear lever hand (hand farthest from the door) to control it when you open, so that you can't accidentally "Italian job" an unseen cyclist.
     
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  10. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I can't picture that happening here. Railroad crossings are numerous, and often cross roads

    Well there was a disturbing story a few years ago about a pit maneuver in a state out west somewhere. The woman was going to pull over once she got off the freeway, I think, but they wanted her to pull over right then and there. I think she might have sued

    Around here, bikes rarely stop at stop signs, though they are supposed to
     
  11. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I've never seen anything quite like that. Not talking about the traffic jam itself, so much as the width of that road.. and no lines for lanes? How does that work.
     
  12. Audie

    Audie Veteran Member

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    I don't know.
    Hong Kong isn't like that.
    Taipei has normal sorts of roads, but people
    make 6 lanes out of three, partly by driving on sidewalks
     
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  13. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    Well back 20 years ago, we had some training sessions with an instructor. It was me and another kid from school, who was my partner for it, so we took turns. Then there was a final test at the dmv, where you have pass a relatively short list of rules. A lot of people have to retake the final test I guess, maybe just to try and drive certain points home. So I had to do it twice. I think there might have been a nascent computer based quiz too, and I can imagine that in our modern age, there might be more computer stuff for students to do. Not sure
     
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  14. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member
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    Driving is first of all a utilitarian action. The first priorities are, or at least should be, safety and efficient completion of the task. But driving can also be pleasant and even enjoyable. To get the most enjoyment prepare and plan. For example make sure your vehicle is serviced and in proper working order. Breaking down or running out of gas ⛽️ is at the least unpleasant and potentially quite dangerous. Plan your driving based on your purpose. A short trip running errands needs different plans than a cross country road trip.

    Most Europeans don’t appreciate why the United States is so car focused. One reason is the large size of the United States. It is way bigger than Europeans usually think it is. You can drive 1300 km (813 miles) for 12 hours within just one state (from Texarkana to El Paso Texas). Commute drives of one hour each way to and from work are commonplace.

    On the other hand the great American “road trip” is a quintessential zeitgeist in America. Americans would readily consider packing up their car and driving hundreds or thousands of miles to go to a special spot such as Yellowstone National Park, Las Vegas or Disneyworld. Which is easier to do in a single country without border crossings or language issues.

    I can remember a road trip I took once from Florida to California in a Studebaker Avanti I had bought there. It looked like this,
    upload_2022-8-8_9-18-31.jpeg
    It was a great trip and quite an adventure. Despite its flaws America is a great country.
     
  15. ideogenous_mover

    ideogenous_mover Well-Known Member

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    I've done a few 300 and 400 mile ones with other people, and I almost got roped into doing big ones. Then again it might be kind of unfun just to see something like yellowstone alone. I don't know, maybe not
     
  16. exchemist

    exchemist Veteran Member

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    What struck me in Houston was that the time people spent commuting was just the same as in Europe. The difference was that the city sprawled uncontrolledly outwards for miles - because people had cars - so that the radius for, say, a 1hr commute was 2-3 times what it would be in a typical European city. So in fact the car has brought no benefits at all in terms of convenience. And in fact it makes things less convenient, since a sprawling Texas neighbourhood can't be served by a village high street of shops, so to get anything at all you have to jump in your car and drive for miles. Furthermore, as a result oft he sprawl, the built environment in the US is hideous. Ugly strip malls, huge advertising hoardings, needed to get the attention of drivers, as they pass in their cars, even houses turned inside out so that the garage is the focus - because that's how you arrive and depart.
    I hated it.
     
  17. pearl

    pearl Well-Known Member

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    Driving now seems to be more work than pleasure. Being afraid of making a mistake and pissing someone off and becoming the victim of road rage.
    At least once a month a truck driver either has no sense of height or is unable to read the height restrictions under a bridge, and gets caught in the middle, tying up traffic for hours. Seldom do they think of letting the air from the tires might lower the truck so it can be cleared from the bridge. I used to enjoy driving, now its a chore. We used to take road trips every summer, loved them, certainly not anymore.
     
  18. Wildswanderer

    Wildswanderer Veteran Member

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    I love driving anywhere I've been in the US except in cities. City drivers are often insane.

     
  19. Sand Dancer

    Sand Dancer Crazy Cat Lady

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    Driving in the US is getting hard to enjoy anymore. There are many short on-ramps, etc. The interstates are safer but are very boring to drive on. I prefer back roads, even though you may get stuck behind a slow driver and have to pass on a two-lane road. I am always afraid of drunk drivers. I think when they stopped making small neighborhood bars in favor or big bars/night clubs that you have to drive to, it made things worse.
     
  20. Shaul

    Shaul Well-Known Member
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    In America one can find either urban or rural living. What you deride as “sprawl” others would call “elbow room” and idyllic. Some find urban living congested, crime ridden and chaotic. To each his own, I say. America allows for choices and the pursuit of happiness. Don’t yuck someone else’s yum.
     
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