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The french really are awful drivers?


Bugsy
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Generally speaking of course.

We've lived here quite a long time and have got pretty used to the little french driving foibles. Coming around a bend on your side of the road, general vehicle positioning, tailgating etc, etc.

The last few days we have witnessed some truly appalling and dangerous driving.

Is it just the time of the year, the weather or what ?

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It's the way they're taught to drive!!! Our daughter passed her test in June - she had to do some really diabolical driving to get through the test!!! She did the Conduite Accompagne so we taught her how to drive properly and safely. However, she had to forget all that for the 45 minutes of her test!!!! Even she now criticises the French drivers (in gerneral, of course!!!)

Lucinda

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[quote user="Lucinda"]

It's the way they're taught to drive!!! Our daughter passed her test in June - she had to do some really diabolical driving to get through the test!!! She did the Conduite Accompagne so we taught her how to drive properly and safely. However, she had to forget all that for the 45 minutes of her test!!!! Even she now criticises the French drivers (in gerneral, of course!!!)

Lucinda

[/quote]

What sort of bad driving did she have to do? I am fascinated. Did she have to drive around the outside of an island even if she was taking the last exit? That one always makes MOH swear.

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Yes, she had to do that. She also had to "keep up" with the traffic which basically involved tailgating - if you're in a 50 you DO 50 even if it means being on someone's bumper. The handbrake is a "parking" brake - you don't use it unless parked even if it means rolling back in a queue of traffic when waiting to take off. Drive as close to the centre white line in the road as possible.......................... do you want me to go on? [blink]

Lucinda

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Probably because when they learnt to drive, there were no roundabouts. Americans have the same problem when they drive in Europe - no concept of roundabouts - but they're great at giving way in turn at crossroads and obeying stop signs 
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They are just as bad in Dorset....be it in France or the country areas of the UK I think the lack of public transport is in the mind of many doctors who should tell some people to pack driving  up but they dont ......In my village in Dorset I know of one guy who kept hitting the cerb......waiting to go in for cateract opperations .....one guy who could not turn his head ...had mirror on a stick he shoved out of the window to see who was coming from the left before he went over cross roads...and a neighbour..He has.just been done for speed on the Bournemouth spur road ......As he told me and the police ....he was in a hurry to get to the hospital as he was late for an appointment .....thats why he was doing 91 ......six years more than his age .... Its the same in France ....there are people who should not be on the road ...but who is going to tell them to stop driving ...old French tractor drivers ....give them a wide berth !

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In the words of Fox Mulder "trust nobody".

 I trust nobody on the road here and if they are indicating to turn right when I want to turn left I will not go until they have turned, so many leave their indicators on from previous use that it looks like they are turning but instead they come straight at you. Always give way to ANY side roads regardless of whether it has priorité or not,the number of times people come shooting out of them where there is a STOP or double lines is amazing. I hate the tailgaters, I switch on my lights and they think I am braking and then I slow to the speed limit to tell them to get off my backside.

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A quick walk round your local car park looking at the cars tells you a lot about the French attitude to cars and car care. Slowly, people are moving away from old bangers and buying newer, modern cars, but they treat them the same way. I would say at least 1 in 4 cars here, and quite possibly more, has some kind of scrape, dent, broken bumper or other accident damage. Im not talking wee door dinks either, but proper bashes.

This is much rarer in UK, as people tend to be more carefull on the roads, and the slightest knock means the car is repaired (usualy at the expense of someone elses insurance!). This seems to be much less common here, people dont take the same care when driving and when parking, and the resulting damage is just left.

 

Last time I was at Toulouse airport, there was a beautifull black Maserati GranTourismo parked there with a massive scrape down the whole length of one side as if it had been scraped down a wall or bollard. Judging by the weathering, Id say the damage was pretty old too. [:(]

 

 

As for driving standards, Im going to rock the boat here and say I genuinely think standards are better here than in UK.

Yes, no-one knows which lane to be in on a roundabout here, and yes, people cut corners on the open road, and yes they tailgate, but on the plus side, lane discipline on motorways is much better than UK, people here know how to overtake, and dont get aggresive when overtaken like in UK, and everyone seems more relaxed and less uptight behind the wheel here, which counts for a huge amount.

In UK I used to do a 90 miles round trip 6 days a week, plus a lot of driving during the day for work, and standards were shocking. It was a rare day when I DIDNT get the finger or get shouted at or be blasted with a horn, or see someone else getting this treatment. I could spend countless miles stuck behind dimwits/arrogant fools hogging the outside lane of the dual carriageway. I regularly had people speeding up and swerving over in deliberate attempts to stop me overtaking them, 3 or 4 times, I was "offered out" for a fight, and once had someone deliberately drive their car into the side of mine. Now I dont do nearly as high a mileage in France, but in two years I have never once seen any kind of road-rage incident. - Actually, I tell a lie, I had some guy who had happily held me up for 17 kilometers on a twisty road at 40kph then deliberately speed up to prevent me overtaking him. Turned out he was English though[:@]

 

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I tend to agree with you Dave, on balance I find the driving in France to be far more relaxed and less aggressive which, as you say counts, for a lot. It's impatience and aggression which causes so many accidents in UK but it's an almost primeval thing, there is just too much traffic there which causes frustration which in turn brings out the worst in people.

Put 100 rats in a space really only big enough for 75 and see what happens [:'(]

Idiots, tailgaters, speeders and all it's still a pleasure to drive in France, something it hasn't been in UK for a decade or more and I love it [:D]

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All to do with the old principle of priorite de droite!

We experienced awful motorway driving going to south of France earlier this year - no signalling and even overtaking from hard shoulder, weaving, bumper to bumper. Not just bad but very dangerous. There are good and bad drivers everywhere, but the Italians and the French do seem to have la medaille d'or overall.

[quote user="babcock"]I am astonished. I am looking at a copy of the code de la route and roundabouts are supposedly approached in the same manner as they are in the UK. How on earth do driving schools and testers not know this?[/quote]
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[quote user="Val_2"]

In the words of Fox Mulder "trust nobody".

 I trust nobody on the road here and if they are indicating to turn right when I want to turn left I will not go until they have turned, so many leave their indicators on from previous use that it looks like they are turning but instead they come straight at you. Always give way to ANY side roads regardless of whether it has priorité or not,the number of times people come shooting out of them where there is a STOP or double lines is amazing. I hate the tailgaters, I switch on my lights and they think I am braking and then I slow to the speed limit to tell them to get off my backside.

[/quote]

Val, your post made me smile and I couldn't agree more.

I know you have lived here for yonks and know what you're talking about.  I, on the other hand, have only lived here a short while but I note your comments and I think "trust nobody" sounds pretty sensible.

I'm going to try on your trick with the lights to see if I get any results!

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I saw my first example of road rage in France last week.  A sign of changing times? 

As we came into the village, bloke overtook another car an forced him to pull in.  As I passed him he jumped out of his car, went to the car behind, yanked the driver's door open and started throwing punches.  This happened as I was passing, the last bit seen in rear view mirror.  I pulled in, got out and started to run towards them, just as angry geezer slammed the other bloke's car door shut and jumped back in his own car (where his wife and 2 kids were waiting).   He started to drive off but as he pulled level with me he wound down his window (perhaps he saw me looking at his plate to memorise it) and called out to me that the old fellow in the other car had pulled out in front of him from the forest road (about 2km back) and made him brake.  I told him he was a p*t**n espèce de c*n and that was no excuse.  Only as he drove off did I realise that (1) the bloke had a Paris plate, so did not know the roads, and (2) the road he was talking about is a priorité à droite - the old fellah had had right of way in any case.  There's a triangular "X" warning sign before the junction but Paris bloke had presumably not seen it - probably yacking to the family or on his mobile and not paying attention.  Old fellah was okay.

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Yeah, well, don't mess with the sausage when he's got his wife standing in front of him.

I think that technically, French driving is appalling, but the upside is that it's amusing to watch the near misses, reversing bumps, hapless attempts to park etc. as long as your own car is not at risk.   And, with the odd exception like I mentioned, the attitude seems less aggressive.  Though until you're used to people driving a couple of feet off your rear bumper in a hurry to get home to lunch 10 seconds earlier than if they stayed a safe distance behind, it does not always feel that way.  [:)]

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The funniest thing I've seen here is Parisian parking - and I saw an example of it outside Saumur station.  There was a gap which the woman in her Renault couldn't have fitted into.  So she reversed into it and shunted the car behind backwards.  Then she shunted the car in front.  Eventually she ended up perfectly parked ! !  Luckily the two already-parked cars had no visible damage..... I don't know whether they were left in gear or not....

If you look at the tailgaters (we call them 'trailers'), what sex are most of them ?  I can tell you - most of the ones round here are female - young girls !

The French get terribly upset if you hoot at them to say "I am here, don't reverse out yet !".  I have received the golden fist on more than one occasion !

On the one occasion when someone cut in front of me and forced me to stop, I put on the central locking (luckily for me).  The man leapt out of his car and tried to wrench my door open.  He shouted and banged the window, but I just looked ahead and eventually he gave up.  Plus the other traffic behind was starting to hoot.  Scary, and to this day, I don't know what I did to upset him - unless he didn't like green cars.

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[quote user="Callie"]On the one occasion when someone cut in front of me and forced me to stop, I put on the central locking (luckily for me).  The man leapt out of his car and tried to wrench my door open.  He shouted and banged the window, but I just looked ahead and eventually he gave up.  Plus the other traffic behind was starting to hoot.  Scary, and to this day, I don't know what I did to upset him - unless he didn't like green cars.[/quote]

Ditto, but it happened in Worthing![:D]

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Re Lucindas post on how her daughter was taught to drive:

There is some method in all the madness and regardless of what the code de la route may say if that is what they are taught and what it takes to pass their test it is no wonder that they continue to drive in that manner.

The famous going all the way around the roundabout in the outside lane to take the last exit (I am sure that I dont need to explain it any further!) avoids having to change lane when taking "your exit" (i.e. the one that you own[:)]) in the event of a collision with (or being T-boned by) a car executing the correct manoeuvre and changing lanes prioité à droite will rule so who is the mug?

Re tailgating, I speak from painfull experience of two rear end shunts (where the driver behind was not paying attention) destroying my car each time and giving me severe whiplash (the latest compo cheque is on its way [8-|]) compared with too numerous to remember similar incidents when I was  motor racing, (usually the first corner after the start flag has dropped) when I only ever felt a nudge and the car was never damaged, the difference was that when racing there was only a fag papers width between each car.

So if you are unlucky enough to be shunted from behind you will be much better off if it is by an inattentive tailgater, preferably French [:D]

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Never mind the French - they're models of driving competence compared to the British.

The British are all perfect drivers - until they've passed their driving test, then they forget everything they've been taught.

They constantly break the posted speed limits and pay a fortune into the coffers of the revenue grabbing authorities, all because they're incapable of properly controlling their vehicles.

They never signal at roundabouts and they always pull straight out in front of you - especially if you're riding a motorcycle.

They drive down the middle lane of their motorways at 20mph under the limit, and drive down the outside lane at 20mph over the limit in high speed formation, a few feet from each other's bumpers, flashing their headlamps at the car in front.

If they get upset with another driver, they pull a knife on him.

They come to France on holiday and get regularly picked off by the gendarmerie for speeding on the way to the ferry ports.

They come across to France to live and don't even buy a copy of the code de la route so as to learn the rules of the road over here.

They post questions on forums like this, such as 'what does this traffic sign mean' or 'what's the speed limit in villages'.

They have no idea what priorité a droite means other than it it is silly because it's not what happens in the UK.

They believe it when people tell them French driving examiners will only pass people who drive badly.

 

Oh, yes......and they think the French really are awful drivers.............[Www]

 

 

 

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[quote user="Sunday Driver"]Never mind the French - they're models of driving competence compared to the British.[/quote]Would this I wonder include the one who recently tried to prematurely end both your and your good lady's lives, and the other one with whom our own Cooperlola has just had a near death experience [Www]

British drivers of Volvos in France must be utterly confused at having no middle lane to hog on the motorway [:P]

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