Crete driving is appalling !

Chat and items of interest about Crete and Greece.
Cundalini
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Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Cundalini » Thu Jan 12, 2017 11:47 pm

Arrived Monday morning after leaving Rosslare on Dec 22 nd , Travelling via Germany ,Austria ,Italy .Bari to Patras .Suprised to see the snow in Crete
! Cold in Chania but not nearly as cold as Italy , Austria and Patras to Athens! After sleeping in Chania I took a wander off the national road and ended up in Sougia where it was actually quite warm ! After attempting to cross from Prasses to Osmaliso ,passed the wind turbines ,I gave up because the road was impossible without four wheel drive and snow chains .Heading back to Chania for the national route ,I thought driving was bad in Italy and mainland Greece but I have never seen anything like it here ,Already had five near collisions and I have only been her two days ! my nerves are shredded !
Cundalini wants his hand back!

Kilkis
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Kilkis » Fri Jan 13, 2017 12:50 am

You'll get used to it. Just assume every driver is out to kill you and drive defensively.

Warwick

filippos
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby filippos » Fri Jan 13, 2017 9:45 am

Buses serving out of town areas reach quite remote places, are mostly air-conditioned coaches, quite comfortable and cheap. You sit up high so get a good view over roadside obstructions (oleander and other shrubbery) and you don't need to watch the road so can sleep, read or chat to other passengers: a great way to meet local people. They also have a good safety record despite the fact that many drivers use their mobile phone (they are mobile, after all) and drink a coffee from time to time. Also, the driver is the only person on a bus who is able to ignore the no smoking regulations with impunity.

Finally, if there is an accident involving a bus no passenger can be held responsible (unless they have their hands round his throat).

As Warwick says, one gets used to it.

STEVE.W
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby STEVE.W » Fri Jan 13, 2017 10:05 am

You've noticed lol!!
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Kilkis
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Kilkis » Fri Jan 13, 2017 11:29 am

You have to understand the Greek psyche.

Firstly you need to realise that a Greek man has been brought up to believe he is a god. His mother treated him like a god from the moment he was born. Consequently his needs are paramount over those of every other person in the world.

I rationalise a lot of Greek behaviour with the simple explanation that, to a Greek, there are two kinds of people. One possibility is that you are their friend. If you are not their friend then you don't exist. For example, you are driving along a main road and you see a pick-up truck approaching the main road on a side road. Ask yourself, "Are you the driver's friend?" If you are then, obviously, when he gets to the main road he will stop to chat to you. If you aren't then he will pull straight out because you don't exist. In a narrow town road, with cars parked on both sides, he will park his pick-up exactly outside the shop he wants to visit completely blocking the road. Obviously that cannot cause a problem. Any cars behind him that can't get past will either be his friend, in which case they will stop their car and get out to chat, or they don't exist. He can wander across the street in the middle of a major city without looking because of the same logic.

Another major group of behaviour can be explained by Greek logic. If you drive through a traffic light on red and don't get hit what conclusion do you draw from the event? Personally I wouldn't do it but if I did, accidentally, then I would conclude that I was lucky to get away with it. A Greek would draw the conclusion that it is perfectly safe to drive through traffic lights on red. The same with overtaking on a blind bend at night in the fog.

Finally you have to understand how a Greek gets a driving licence. In Greece a qualified driver cannot take you out to get practise. You can only drive with a qualified driving instructor. Also by law you have to take a specified number of driving lessons with an instructor before you take your test. When you go for each one hour lesson you will find three other students taking a one hour lesson with the same instructor in the same hour. You all get in the car and one student drives. After 10 minutes he stops and the instructor spends a few minutes discussing his mistakes. Repeat the process for all students. So for each hour of instruction you get 10 minutes experience. When it comes time to take the test you are not really ready to take it so you give the driving instructor the test fee plus the bribe. The driving instructor gives the fee plus the bribe to the examiner. You take the test and you pass as long as you don't kill anybody.

I'm sure that doesn't cover all behaviour but it gets you started. You'll pick the rest up as you go along.

Warwick

louisejersey
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby louisejersey » Fri Jan 13, 2017 5:02 pm

When I first started driving here, I was terrified. I used to come home and say "You'll never believe what I just saw!" after 18 months I am still nervous, but now just shake my head at the appalling things I see.
Warwick's explanation of the Greek Driver's psyche is spot on . So is his advice to treat other drivers as if they are out to kill you.
Happy Driving. x

scooby
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby scooby » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:51 pm

Kilkis wrote:You have to understand the Greek psyche.

Firstly you need to realise that a Greek man has been brought up to believe he is a god. His mother treated him like a god from the moment he was born. Consequently his needs are paramount over those of every other person in the world.

Warwick
Very funny post but I don't think it's just the men who don't drive safely. I actually find it relaxing to drive here and don't get any sort of rage when things happen, opposite in the UK where I find it aggressive, and what with all the speed camera's, speed bumps, a trillion signs everywhere, bus lanes that jump out at you when you haven't had time to see if it's legal to be in that lane, because you didn't have time to read the bloody sign that's among the other 20 surrounding it, ooh not to mention the plod who might pop round a bush with his gizmo and takes great delight in nabbing you at 36mph in a 30mph zone, Parking mmmm pay for it, private companies clamping, fining, traffic jams, cones everywhere, far from safe or relaxing. PHEW!
Men in suits will always make you pay.

allan
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby allan » Fri Jan 13, 2017 7:20 pm

I have just spent 2 months in central Greece,.... you think Crete is safe for driving????

Central Greece..3 lanes, one for donkeys, one for normal speed, and the outside lane for the idiots at 150 kph +

After 16 years here I am still amazed at the stupidity of Greek drivers, that`s why they are still No 1 in the European Union for Road Accident fatalities.

Allan

Kilkis
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Kilkis » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:05 am

scooby wrote:...Very funny post but I don't think it's just the men who don't drive safely...


You're a man Scooby. Haven't you learned to never ever criticise women drivers? You might be happy to walk home tomorrow night but I'm not.

Warwick

filippos
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby filippos » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:08 am

Be reasonable, Allan 150kph is only 93mph (Yes, I did notice the +)*. Aside from that, I'm with scooby: last time I drove in the UK I was worried most of the time. Sure, drivers here do stupid things but, in my experience, there's rarely aggression. It's worth remembering that until relatively recently very few Greek people had modern vehicles and, in many cases, people are only now appreciating the power of current vehicles, even those with quite small engines. 50 years ago I belonged to a car club and most of the members had cars capable of 100mph and more in some cases. I had a Citroen with a 3 litre engine that would reach about 120: back then more than a few Greek people were still coping with galloping donkeys.

P.S. The speed was generally only let loose at club events on disused aerodromes not on public roads even though there were few speed limits and no national limit at all. Also, more than ½ the club members (including me) belonged to the IAM having passed their test as well as the MoT test. many of us also took courses on skid pans and high speed circuit driving where it was dinned into us that we could get away with things on the circuit as everyone was travelling in the same direction at roughly the same speed and there were run-off spaces etc. which was just a tad different from driving on the public highway.

* Think tongue, cheek.
Last edited by filippos on Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

Kilkis
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Kilkis » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:27 am

allan wrote:...Central Greece..3 lanes, one for donkeys, one for normal speed, and the outside lane for the idiots at 150 kph +...


I am not sure which particular roads you are talking about, Allan, but there are a number of three lane sections of the Athens - Thessaloniki National Highway. Those have a speed limit of 120 kph so 150 kph is only 30 kph above the limit. Not that excessive. In Italy on the Autostrada, which has an 130 kph limit, there are cars doing in excess of 200 kph and they don't intend to slow down for any reason.

Warwick

Carolina
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Carolina » Sat Jan 14, 2017 12:55 am

scooby wrote:. I actually find it relaxing to drive here and don't get any sort of rage when things happen, opposite in the UK where I find it aggressive, and what with all the speed camera's, speed bumps, a trillion signs everywhere, bus lanes that jump out at you when you haven't had time to see if it's legal to be in that lane, because you didn't have time to read the bloody sign that's among the other 20 surrounding it, ooh not to mention the plod who might pop round a bush with his gizmo and takes great delight in nabbing you at 36mph in a 30mph zone, Parking mmmm pay for it, private companies clamping, fining, traffic jams, cones everywhere, far from safe or relaxing. PHEW!
[/quote]

100% agree with you Scooby. I much prefer driving in Crete to driving in the UK - especially hate ring roads around towns and motorway driving in the UK when traffic constantly joins, roads split, artic lorries gunning to your left then pulling out in front of you to overtake at the last minute. Generally lots of aggression and speed, more so than here in Crete to my mind. Maybe we are all generally more comfortable with whatever we are used to.

altohb
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby altohb » Sat Jan 14, 2017 8:55 am

Carolina wrote:
scooby wrote:
Kilkis wrote:y. I actually find it relaxing to drive here and don't get any sort of rage when things happen, opposite in the UK where I find it aggressive, and what with all the speed camera's, speed bumps, a trillion signs everywhere, bus lanes that jump out at you when you haven't had time to see if it's legal to be in that lane, because you didn't have time to read the bloody sign that's among the other 20 surrounding it, ooh not to mention the plod who might pop round a bush with his gizmo and takes great delight in nabbing you at 36mph in a 30mph zone, Parking mmmm pay for it, private companies clamping, fining, traffic jams, cones everywhere, far from safe or relaxing. PHEW!


100% agree with you Scooby. I much prefer driving in Crete to driving in the UK - especially hate ring roads around towns and motorway driving in the UK when traffic constantly joins, roads split, artic lorries gunning to your left then pulling out in front of you to overtake at the last minute. Generally lots of aggression and speed, more so than here in Crete to my mind. Maybe we are all generally more comfortable with whatever we are used to.


I'm another who prefers driving here these days, though it did scare me to start with. Many drivers here are complete idiots, but they are not aggressive idiots. The aggression in the UK is terrifying. I go back at least twice a year, so it isn't a case of being suddenly shocked by it, and I used to drive there a lot, including in central London, so I'm certainly not a wimp, but I'm always glad to hand the hire car back at the end of my trip.

scooby
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby scooby » Sat Jan 14, 2017 9:04 am

allan wrote:I have just spent 2 months in central Greece,.... you think Crete is safe for driving????

Central Greece..3 lanes, one for donkeys, one for normal speed, and the outside lane for the idiots at 150 kph +

After 16 years here I am still amazed at the stupidity of Greek drivers, that`s why they are still No 1 in the European Union for Road Accident fatalities.

Allan
I only base my experience in Crete not central Greece which is what the original post mentioned?
Men in suits will always make you pay.

Kilkis
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Re: Crete driving is appalling !

Postby Kilkis » Sat Jan 14, 2017 10:42 am

I've driven in northern Greece, a lot over 9 years, the whole of mainland Greece, several other islands and central Athens. The driving is about the same everywhere. I think that whatever the skills, or lack of, of individual drivers, the subjective impression of how bad the driving is is dependent on traffic density. In the UK traffic density is usually much higher than in most of Greece. Crete, outside the cities, is very low traffic density.

There are a few particular idiosyncrasies in Greece.

    1 A Greek driver will almost always pull so far forward at traffic lights that he can't see when they change. The driver behind will sound his horn to let him know when they change, i.e. it is more of a courtesy than a "get a move on" which is how it would be considered in the UK.
    2 Many roads have a hard shoulder and drivers tend to drive on it or partly on it. A Greek driver will overtake, even when there is continuous on-coming traffic, because there is a sufficient gap between the two streams of cars to allow him to do so. It never occurs to him that a driver in the opposite stream might make the same decision. A large percentage of the excessively high fatal accident rate in Greece, noted by Allan, is due to bad overtaking.
    3 Traffic lights will often turn green for traffic going straight on, or turning right, before they turn green for traffic turning left. Greeks cannot stand queues. If there are more than 3 or 4 cars waiting to turn left at traffic lights the next car to arrive will pull past the queue and slew across the front of it, even if he is partially blocking the traffic going straight on. I've even been in a taxi in central Athens where there were 3 lanes that widened into 5 lanes at the lights with an extra lane for turning right and one for turning left. We were turning right but there was a queue in that lane and in the straight on lanes but the one for turning left was empty. The taxi driver pulled into that lane and then gunned across the front of the other four lanes when the lights change.
    4 If a Greek driver wants to stop somewhere for a few minutes he will never look for somewhere to park and then walk to the premises he is visiting. He will always park exactly outside the premises even if he is blocking traffic.

I am sure these four behaviours are also observed in the UK but they are not as common as in Greece. You see them every time you drive here.

Warwick

PS If you want to sample a fun ring road try the one round Thessaloniki at night. It's a fast dual carriageway with lots of traffic light controlled junctions. When the road isn't busy, nobody stops for red lights or even slows down. Turning left onto it from one of the side roads is truly terrifying. You risk being hit from either side.


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