Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tues 15 Dec

When driving in Belgium it is worth bearing the following in mind: no matter how inexperienced a driver you are, you are still probably a better driver than most Belgians. All I read and hear about is how dangerous and reckless their drivers are. Part of this may be to do with the fact that the driving test wasn't actually introduced into Belgium until the early 1970s, whereas England first introduced its test in 1935 and France as early as 1893. This means that there are a considerable number of drivers on the road in Belgium who have never had to pass a test. Quite terrifying when you think about it.

The blogospshere is awash with various tales from expats and other non-Belgians about their experiences on the roads over here. One of the most common recounted, and one that I can back up in my time as a passenger here, is the inability of Belgian drivers to indicate when changing lanes on the motorway. They just don't do it. Even when they're crossing four lanes at once; something which you must do if you are travelling towards one part of Brussels.

Drivers also don't bother to wait patiently before joining the motorway from an adjoining smaller road (you can tell I don't drive. I'm sure there's a proper name for this) They just seem to speed up and cut you up, so the only sensible option is to slow down and let them on. In Brussels, I saw numerous cars with dents. More than normal. And everyone seems to use their mobile phone when driving. They also have one of the worst accident rates in Europe.

I was also told (no idea if this is true) that even disqualified drivers have the means to continue driving: if they buy a particular type of car that can only reach speeds of 40km p/h! Imagine these cars on the motorway, alongside all the others? And Belgian drivers like to drive very, very fast.

Is it therefore surprising that there's a Facebook group entitled: 'Are Belgian drivers the worst in Europe?'

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