Respectful Insolence

Here’s something that tells me, that should I ever visit Russia, I will need to be very, very careful crossing the street or going anywhere near traffic:

About 25 percent of Russians have had sex while driving, a poll released by KRC Research and Goodyear revealed. And this is just one of the things that make them the worst drivers in Europe.

According to the research, Russians do not use seatbelts, break speed-limits, drive through red lights, drive drunk and have sex while driving much more often than other Europeans do.

The odd thing is they don’t think all this is bad.

According to the poll, 36 percent of Russian drivers regularly cross speed limits. This is the highest rate in Europe, the Delovoi Peterburg newspaper reported. Russians talk on the cell phone while driving more often than drivers in the other 14 European countries polled. About 30 percent of those polled in Russia have driven drunk before.

And I thought Tri-state area drivers were bad.

Comments

  1. #1 Bronze Dog
    September 17, 2006

    One of these days, the Earth is going to produce a driver so astoundingly bad, he will cause a pileup that somehow ends the world.

  2. #2 Stuart Coleman
    September 17, 2006

    There’s no way they beat Mass or RI. I honestly think that astounding stupidity is worse than anything in that poll. Also, why doesn’t the poll say anything about the accident rate in Russia? I wonder, if they engage in all these unsafe driving habits, are they actually worse off for it? One would assume so, but that could be wrong.

  3. #3 NHPete
    September 17, 2006

    One in four drivers are having sex while driving? Never mind pedestrian caution; I’d get a driver’s license!

  4. #4 Ruth
    September 17, 2006

    Would this play any part in the drop in life expectancy for Russian men?

  5. #5 Peter Z.
    September 17, 2006

    Not only do most Russian not use seatbelts, but for reason they consider them a nuisance and either cut them off or tuck them away behind the seat. Taxi drivers to that as well, which drives me mad. I don’t mind if the driver doesn’t wear the seatbelt while he speeds through a red light, but I would definitely prefer to do so myself.

  6. #6 somnilista, FCD
    September 17, 2006

    Russians talk on the cell phone while driving more often than

    I noticed that in the photo accompanying that article, the driver is wearing a phone headset.

  7. #7 jeonjutarheel
    September 17, 2006

    Having actually been to the two busiest Russian cities for long enough to do a great deal of walking, the attitude about traffic is just different. Those things aren’t enforced (speeding, red lights, etc). The way you cross the street is to wait for the first side to clear, cross to the center, stand on the line while cars whiz by you, and then cross the second half (I did it for three months and never got hit!)

    Driving is similar here in Korea. No seatbelts, no care for pedestrians. And you know how we have right on red when clear? They have straight on red when clear. Seriously.

  8. #8 llewelly
    September 18, 2006

    One of these days, the Earth is going to produce a driver so astoundingly bad, he will cause a pileup that somehow ends the world.

    Bad driving – and pileups – have both been shown to increase pollution. Presumably, CO2 output increases as well – thus intensifying global heating.
    Not the end of the world, but it could turn out to be a very rough ride.

  9. #9 luna_the_cat
    September 18, 2006

    Doesn’t surprise me; to illustrate some other aspects of the Russian mindset, the Moscow zoo separates its humans from its big cats (cheetahs, lions, etc.) by a chainlink fence. If someone is stupid enough to stick a body part into the lion enclosure (or climb in to fetch out their 4-year-old’s toy, as once happened), then the consequences are purely on them. And, you know how a lot of countries now have a version of “Rescue 911″ (or in the UK, “Rescue 999″)? Well, Russia has one of those as well, but rather than show the successful rescues, mostly they show the ones where people die after all.

    Oh yeah, and building codes are for wimps, too.

    Russians laugh in the face of “protecting people from their own stupidity”. Or protecting them from anyone else’s stupidity, either.

  10. #10 Michele
    September 18, 2006

    When I was Russia, a car drove up onto the sidewalk, completely ignoring pedestrians. That was an interesting experience, along with the chaos of drivers ignoring traffic lanes, signals, etc. I didn’t see anyone having sex while driving but I wouldn’t have been surprised given how the Russians drive. Oh and as for luna_the_cat’s comment, Russians laugh in the face of “protecting people from their own stupidity”. Or protecting them from anyone else’s stupidity, either…. I was in St. Petersburg in the spring and there were signs on the buildings telling people to beware of falling icicles. You would have to be next to the building to see the warning sign by which time it may be too late.

  11. #11 Prup aka Jim Benton
    September 19, 2006

    As someone who rarely travels — I’ve been outside the Eastern Time Zone for exactly one week in my 60 years, you’d think this wouldn’t affect me.

    But I live in Brooklyn, about a mile from the main Russian section. People who live there, many of whom have not been here that long have cars.

    I didn’t have enough to worry about.

    Gee, thanx!

  12. #12 Keanus
    September 19, 2006

    Several years ago I visited Russia, staying with Russians in their homes and being driven by them. My hosts, both faculty at the University of Moscow were good drivers, but most other drivers were beyond description. On the way in from the Sherementeyo (sp?) Airport we were passed by countless large black limousines traveling down the emegency lane in the middle of the highway at speeds in excess of 90 MPH; they also ignored traffic lights. And to drive on the highways in the country was frightening. There was no dividing line and no markings for no-passing zones. Without markings or warnings the road would suddenly shift from maybe three lanes wide to five and then shortly thereafter shift back to maybe just two. Such wide spots invited mad passing dances in which the more reckless drivers tried to get ahead by a few car lengths, usually while playing chicken with the oncoming traffic. (It’s a wonder more cars didn’t wind up in the roadside bushes.) I sat in the back seat and gritted my teeth the whole time. It’s a wonder I got out of the place in one piece.

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