Posted by: tabliope | November 1, 2011

Driving Range

Every morning Mr Tabliope gets into his car and drives the 25 kilometers or so to work and once he’s  there he sends me a text message to say that he’s arrived.  Sweet, isn’t it?  But it’s not just because we can’t bear to not hear from each other for an hour or so, it’s because the traffic and standard of driving is so dreadful that at times it approaches lunacy and I worry that one day he’s going to end up spread in little pieces across the Ethniki Odos.   In Athens the problems are rarely down to excessive speeds because of the volume of traffic but rather because most people don’t want to be behind anyone else and there’s no real comprehension as to why anyone else might want to know what it is you are going to do next.

Hazard Warning Lights:

Using your hazard lights is the signal of choice and it can mean anything from: I’m just going to stop at the next kiosk and buy some cigarettes and it means your way will be blocked for a couple of minutes to I’m looking for somewhere to park and when I find somewhere I’m just going to stop dead so don’t expect any more signals.  It will rarely, if ever, mean that there is a hazard ahead.  Apart from the rest of the people driving cars.

Indicators:

If you see someone indicating left or right then it can mean:  this isn’t the windscreen wiper then? or Daddy, what happens if we keep flicking this up and down? or I think I’m about to do an illegal or dangerous driving movement and you’re not going to like it but that’s tough.  You can be quite sure that it does not mean that the driver is about to turn left or right.  The only time they are going to be turning left is if the indicator is set to the right.

Brake Lights:

You mean those little red lights?  They’re actually some sort of warning?  I never knew that.  Hey Theo, you know those little red lights….

Reversing Lights:

This means that the car in front of you on the slip road is actually reversing and we all know that that’s wrong but they’ve just decided that they don’t really want to be on this road so it’s easier to reverse back up it.  Sorry and all that if it inconveniences you.  Oops, was that your wing mirror?

The Horn:

What’s the shortest measurement of time?

The length of time it takes between a traffic light turning green and a Greek driver sounding his horn.

Sounding your horn is a great substitute for using effective signals and should also be used to demonstrate your pleasure or disgust at whatever your fellow drivers are doing.  It’s worth just randomly tooting to make sure that you don’t forget its location or how to use it.  There is never an opportunity where it can’t be used and good drivers will ensure that they use it several times on even the shortest journey.

Roundabouts:

This is not a joke – in Greece when you are on the roundabout you give way to traffic coming onto the roundabout.  Not everyone understands this and those who do don’t really care anyway.  You will be relieved to know that there are very few roundabouts in Greece.

Parking:

If there are no pavements to park on or the pavements are already full of cars then this is what your hazard lights are for.  Sorry pal but my need for a packet of cigarettes certainly outweighs the need to keep the traffic flowing on this main road into the city.  What is your problem?  I used my hazard lights.

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Responses

  1. As someone who’s quite frightened of traffic in general, you’ve done nothing to allay my fears.

  2. Just so y’all know, that roundabout rule also applies in France. Hence yours truly going round the Arc de Triomphe about 11 times trying to get off …. most of the time with my eyes shut.

  3. Who knew that Greece and Belgium had SO much in common?


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