I always find my copy of the Cretan Highway Code useful to have with you, so have pasted it below:-
CRETE HIGHWAY CODE
1. RULE OF THE ROAD. The unwritten rule of the road in Crete is to drive in the centre (except when approaching a bend - see below). In the unlikely event of an encounter with someone from the opposite direction, adopt an engaging expression of absolute open-mouthed amazement and urgently pull the vehicle to the right. It is customary to nod in greeting as you pass the other vehicle as this relaxes the neck tendons.
2. CAR CONTROLS:
• STEERING. A minimalist approach is the norm. A local will usually have a mobile phone clamped to his left ear and will be steering with the first and second fingers of his right hand which will also be gripping a cigarette.
• CLUTCH / GEARS. For the reasons cited above, hands are generally unavailable for gear changes so clutch and gears are only used when absolutely necessary. You will often see vehicles drift to a halt on an incline because a telephone call has taken precedence over the driving.
• ACCELERATOR. Because of a tendency to be in the wrong gear acceleration often has less relevance than might be expected.
• MIRROR. What mirror?
• SIGNALS. There are only two signalling devices used in Crete. The horn for attracting the attention of ones friends and the hazard lights which allow uninhibited parking anywhere. The palm of the hand pushed sharply towards you is not, strictly speaking, a road signal.
• LIGHTS. Lights are non-essential except for seeing ahead in the dark. One headlight is sufficient for this purpose.
• BRAKES. Optional.
• INDICATORS. Redundant.
• SEAT BELTS. The law states that seat belts must be used at all times. This ambiguous regulation is variously interpreted.
3. MOVING OFF INTO TRAFFIC. When ready move off hugging the right edge of the road. No account of other road users is taken into consideration. Gather pace until normal driving speed and road position is attained. It is not that that Cretan drivers intend to be inconsiderate to other road users, they are merely unaware of them unless they happen to be someone they recognise.
4. STOPPING. Simply stop. No signal is given; it is even optional whether to pull to the side of the road.
5. NEGOTIATING A BEND. Remember local drivers don’t like changing gear and wish to minimise the exertions of steering, so the method adopted is to maintain as straight a line as possible. At a right-hand bend, for example, the car is positioned on the extreme left of the road entering the bend, on the right side at the sharpest point and back on the left side exiting. This is, of course, an identical path adopted by anyone travelling in the opposite direction and is the Cretan way of making friends.
6. PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS. In Crete this term is a misnomer as these marked areas are ignored by pedestrians and motorist alike. They do however make ideal parking places as they tend to become occupied last.
7. JUNCTION PRIORITY. Especially in towns visitors are often confused as to when to give way and locals are no less unsure. The rule adopted is, when in doubt, proceed.
8. TRAFFIC LIGHTS. A really fun game has been developed which anyone can play. The objective is to blow the horn at the person at the front of the queue when the traffic light turns green and before they have a chance to move off. If you are the person at the front it is unlikely you will escape being blasted as the locals have refined this game into an art form.
9. OVERTAKING. It will not take long for you to begin to question whether double white lines down the centre of the road mean the same as in the rest of Europe. The answer is that, in theory, they do. Other than that, any further advice on overtaking like a local will fail to prepare the visitor for the reality of the creativity employed in the execution of this manoeuvre. It is hard to reconcile the laid-back, happy-go-lucky guy you meet in every bar or taverna with the maniac with the fixed toothy grin and wide eyes who happily overtakes you at your speed + 2 kph, going into a blind bend and across a double white line. Just remember that Greek Orthodox is a very powerful religion.
10. POTHOLES. As elsewhere potholes lurk to catch the unwary. Be aware that the experienced Cretan driver knows that it is cheaper and easier to repair a wing (or simply dispense with it) than a wheel or axle. He will describe an extravagant course around a problem, rating the pothole considerably more potentially dangerous than other traffic (possibly the result of potholes outnumbering road users).
11. SIGN POSTS. For shooting practice only. They are otherwise ignored.
12. ONE-WAY STREETS. Usually these will be encountered in busy towns where their use, counter to the indicated direction, can save valuable time avoiding jams.
13. PARKING. Remember the magic hazard warning lights. The tradition is that they are not used until the vehicle has come to a halt. Double (and treble) parking is commonplace to the extent that kerb-side parking spaces are often ignored for fear of getting blocked in by a double-parked vehicle. Parking on a corner or road junction offers options for getting mobile again and is favoured by the experienced.
15. NO PARKING SIGNS. Metal signs placed in the road are a real hazard as they force the motorist to park alongside them with their vehicles projecting into the traffic flow.
16. STOPPING TO TALK. The friendly locals always scrutinise on-coming drivers and if they spot a friend will readily halt alongside (or back-up if necessary) and engage in conversation. If a driver meets a pedestrian he wishes to speak with, the accepted practice is for the driver to stop in centre of the road and for the pedestrian to lean in through the driver’s window with legs as far out behind as possible. This safety conscious arrangement blocks the road from both directions thus minimising the likelihood of accident.
17. GAMES FOR THE CHILDREN. Standing up in the back of an open truck is a game local children love. Visitors can play their own variation by allowing their kids to pop their heads through the open sun roof or through the side windows. Another very popular idea is for the driver to sit a small child on his lap and allowing him to steer the car. Remember that at least the kid isn’t smoking or on the phone! Letting the children park the car on their own is also great fun and always appreciated.
18. CHURCHES. A local will cross himself with his free hand, not the one holding the mobile phone, whenever he passes a church. Hilarious results can often ensue if he happens to spot a friend entering or leaving at the same time, especially if the church is sited on a bend.
Additional Rules for Motor Cyclists
1. CARRYING CAPACITY. The maximum safe load for a motor cycle is 4 persons. 5 persons on a bike, though sometimes seen, is generally thought to cramp the driver especially with luggage as well.
2. CRASH HELMETS. Mandatory. Wearing on the left arm is favoured thus protecting the elbow. If worn on the head the straps should be left undone. Then, in the event of an accident the helmet immediately comes off, preventing unnecessary damage to it. With 3 or 4 persons on the bike and insufficient helmets to go round it is always preferable for the driver to wear the helmet otherwise he risks being struck from behind by a helmeted head when breaking.
3. MOVING OFF. The same rule applies as to cars, however motor cycles should be accelerated hard so as to elevate the front wheel. This elegant manoeuvre is always admired and appreciated by other road users, though it’s more difficult to execute with style when there are three or more people on the bike.
4. PROTECTIVE CLOTHING. The locals are aware that accidents can happen and nearly always wear protective tee-shirt and jeans. The visitors uniform of swimming cossy and crash helmet, though often very snazzy looking, will immediately identify you as “not local”.
Despite the high cost of living it remains popular