How driving should be done
Driving in France takes a lot of getting used to.
In the last three days, I have driven a smidgen short of 1,000 kilometres. By non-Irish standards, that may not be much, but when you think in terms of driving from Dublin to Galway nearly five times, it’s quite a lot.
I think I have finally worked out why driving in France is such a pleasure. It’s all down to who owns the road.
In Ireland, if you drive a flash car, you own the road. If you are a local, you own the road. If you have a fast car you own the overtaking lane. If you have a tractor, you own the road. If you have a four wheel drive you own fucking everything. Driving in Ireland is a constant battle of oneupmanship. The car behind you has to get in front of you at any cost. If it means overtaking on a bend on the brow of a hill, then so be it. Every driver in Ireland seems hell bent on proving that they are faster than you, and that they can get to the next village thirty seconds faster than you can.
In France, it is equal ownership and the difference is staggering. For a start, nearly everyone drives at the speed limit. So, if the limit is 110, then everyone will drive at or close to 110. This means there are few hold ups and no impatience. Overtaking here has to be seen to be believed. It is a simple process – check your mirror, indicate, pull into the overtaking lane and overtake, indicate and get back into the normal lane again. Everyone does this, almost without exception. Unless traffic is very heavy, the overtaking lane will always be empty.
Another aspect of French drivers is their patience. If you are driving at the speed limit of 70 through a village [yes – they have very sensible limits here] and you have a car behind you, he will never flash his lights or hoot at you. He will stick with your speed until it is clear to overtake. In the tree days of driving I never once saw a car being flashed at. I heard a car horn a few times, but that was usually just someone waving at a pal on the pavement.
Throughout that 1,000 kilometres, I don’t think my pulse rate once rose above normal. My adrenaline levels stayed exactly where they were supposed to stay.
Try driving a single mile in Ireland and the pulse goes into near heart attack mode and the adrenaline flows by the gallon.
French drivers are great.
Irish drivers are fucking wankers.
French overtaking manouevres are astonishing. There is a jinking movement as they move out, pass and cut back in again – as though no-one wishes to be seen in the outside lane.
What they are bad at is queueing – driving on the first Saturday in August is a nightmare!
I’ve seen better driving in India than in Ireland. For some reason everything here seems to be a frigging competition, even the politicians expense claims. France is a nice spot to drive alright.
Ian – to someone who is used to Irish madness, that is truly a sight to behold. We met a few congested spots on the way down, but there was no impatience – everyone just waited quietly until the traffic moved again.
What strikes me about Irish driving is how anyone survives at all. The speed limits are not the problem – it’s the drivers who need a complete mass brain transplant.
Must agree with you, Irish drivers really are wankers.
Welcome Ironbed! It’s only when you have something to contrast it with that you realise just how appalling Irish driving is. It is fucking dire!
Sounds just like the kind of driving that’s done in Vermont which is a bit strange seeing as a fair portion of the state’s population are Irish. Of course most of the the folks in this country who are of Irish descent are located in Massachusetts (and most of those are located in and around Boston). And considering that Massachusetts has been #1 on the annual list of the country’s worst drivers since the inception of the Model T, I suppose that would stand to reason wouldn’t it?
“If you are driving at the speed limit of 70 through a village [yes – they have very sensible limits here]”
…Sez you. The limit is actually 50 km/h, and comes into effect at the town or village’s name sign. This is such a fundamental of the French rules of the road that a sign is not considered necessary
Kirk M – It really wouldn’t surprise me to find that Irish drivers ranked at or very near to number one. God knows what the reason is?
Welcome BrendanH! Yes. I am well aware of the 50 limit within villages and the fact that they are unmarked. I’m referring to those places where major roads pass through villages, and the signage quite explicitly states that the limit is 70?
Should you get to Paris you will find the drivers very different.
TT – Aha! I have heard that. I have no intentions of going near Paris. 🙂
But Grandad, you ARE an Irish driver, just happen to be driving in France.
Some definitions of a ‘driver’…
1. One that drives, as the operator of a motor vehicle.
2. A ‘tool’, that is used for imparting forceful pressure on another object.
3. A jib-headed spanker.
Glad I always take the bus then…