The wonders of Russian driving

The feeling of driving in Moscow is, in many ways, like getting a Tabasco enema while being savagely punched in the face by a Russian man sporting a leather baseball cap.

You know how bad people in the metro can be at just walking right?
Now imagine all that shit, on wheels - made of angry, and you have a pretty good idea of what the average Russian driver is like.

While most of my time in Russia was spent on the bus or in the metro, I am now behind the wheel on the daily. Before I took to the roads I would spend my weekends in the car as my now wife's handsome driving instructor. She actually got her licence about ten years ago, but since she never practiced once.

All those ten years ago she got her licence without even driving in the city. After taking the first part of her test, a 'high-octane' cone obstacle course, her driving instructor had been given booze by one of the other people getting tested. He managed to get drunk enough that he wasn't fit to be let loose on the public, fortunately, he didn't poop his pants, that time....

Russia being Russia, she got her licence (to kill) without venturing out in the mayhem that is the city...

                                                      I was the crash test dummy 

Driving and even being a passenger here is like getting your own cameo in one of those Russian driving youtube videos. Those babies aren't fake.

D'you know why there are so many movies like that on youtube? Why do all Russian drivers have dash cams? Because so bad are Russian drivers and so fucked is Russian insurance law that this is the best way to prove who was really to blame for the accident. 

Also, in Mother Russia, if you hit someone in your car, you have to compensate them for any harm done, even if they can't prove it was your fault. What does this mean? It means dick heads in pink suits throw themselves at your car to try and get a sweet payout unless of course, you have a dashcam, the tool that captures all that video montage hilariousness.

Judging by the pinkness and blueness, he probably  had it coming

Some of the things I've had the pleasure to rage over include the following:

Drivers are always in a rush

Maybe this is because the average city driver spends half of his life blasting nerve cells in traffic, but the most common thing I see is people driving like crazy, pulling out maneuvers that save around three seconds and that create huge possibilities for road chaos.

                                                                          with hilarious outcomes

Stopped at a red light? Just watch how speedy Mc.Mullet behind you pulls out fight in front so he can be first away from the white line, even though he's already over it.  fuck the oncoming traffic, he's burning rubber first.

I have been overtaken in car parks, that right, in a car park. I actually get some perverse pleasure watching the guy behind me itching to overtake, any chance to get into that oncoming traffic lane. And by the way, this isn't on the highway, I'm not a slow driver. It's just that certain parts of the road and certain streets, don't warrant 60kpm, sadly, this common sense/safety factor doesn't seem to worry most drivers. 

Some time back, while leaving the flat complex via the security barrier (which is the entry and exit point), a driver almost T-boned us because he was coming out of the parking at about 30 mph and headed directly for the exit (so he would have had to have stopped anyway). It's like he was in his own drag race - in the parking lot where kids of old people hang out.
If he had hit us, which he almost did, he would have rammed my legs and I probably would have ended up like 2013 expat version of Ironside

                                       although I'd be far too depressed for any retro crime solving 

Driving fast like a dick, cutting everyone up and endlessly changing lanes won't save time if you crash and have to wait for the road pigs to come and twirl their black and white traffic sticks at you. 

They love an  excuse to get in the oncoming traffic lane

You know how in the metro people pull 100-meter sprints from the escalators in a frenzied dash to get to the train, even though another train will be along in 30 seconds?  They do that in cars too. Except while the worst that happens in the metro is that a pensioner ends up sucking down a clothesline or two, on the road they come at you in oncoming traffic in a steel death bullet.

If you drive a Nissan Micra, you're totally fucked.

Russian drivers are in the oncoming traffic lane so much, it might as well just be extended into a third lane. Perhaps there's a rule I don't know about somewhere.
It's not hard to imagine how this leads to endless accidents, just head over to youtube and see for yourself.  

                                                                                  coming through!

When the average driver is not blasting toward you in the oncoming lane, they're putting their horns to work.

They really love that horn
Nothing like cruising along, sitting in traffic or waiting at a red light while having your ears sexually assaulted by honking horns. Sadly, most drivers out there have made the age-old mistake of confusing the horn for a magic go-faster button.

If you don't burn rubber away from the traffic lights at F1 speeds, some guy will be behind you, horning the shit out of you, you know, just because honking is fun, especially when it sets off an angry chain reaction.

They don't know/obey the road rules 
It seems like Russians specialise in finding ways around rules, rather than following them, and this is true on the road too.
The Russian highway code might as well be a one-page document that says "go with the flow don't forget some bribe money" 

                                           Red lights only count when there are other cars about?

Another common favourite of mine is this: you have two lanes, one is for left turners, one is to go straight ahead. While you sit there, in the correct lane, waiting to turn left, someone behind you is horning you, probably frustrated because his turbo booster isn't working again. 
He's in the wrong lane, he wants to go straight ahead and he's horning you - the guy in the correct lane.

That guy is out there, he's a douche and there's lots of him


If you are lucky enough to make it to your destination alive, you'll need to park. Luckily for you, in Russia, everywhere is a parking space. If your bonnet fits, you can park there - pavement, pedestrian crossing, babushkas face - you name it, just roll up in that bitch.
Also, feel free to double park and block people in wherever you see fit.

The worst parking (and most of it is bad), happens on the side of the road. Some many cars park on the side of the road that two lanes actually become more like one - which causes a whole ton of slow moving traffic, zigzagging, rage-embittered driving - you know, the stuff Moscow's is especially famous for.


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Captain Capitalist on August 19, 2013 at 6:52 AM said...

Thanks, I was looking for someone to verify that the russian dashcam vids were real, and why they drive that way. Here in florida we have state, county and city police hiding behind every bush to give you a ticket if you even think about driving stupidly. However, Boston drivers are just like the Russians. There, defensive driving means you defend the space in front of your car against all others.

Lt. Columbo on August 19, 2013 at 6:40 PM said...

Usually if the police catch you, you can bribe them off, but there sure is a lot of aggression on the roads. We basically only drive on the weekends, then it's much better!

Anonymous said...

Is it because the Russians are drunk or retarded?

Anna on October 15, 2013 at 9:39 AM said...

Russia: the only place where you can get rear-ended while driving the wrong way on a one-way street.

Michael said...

I drove in Hungary and Romania a few years ago. Thankfully I knew what the driving and roads there are like, so when I picked up the rental car I had to ask for "the one you won't mind if it comes back a little dented". How I managed to get through that fortnight without having a major crash is a mystery.

But then you watch those Russian dashcam videos - they are ten times worse!

Lt. Columbo on November 8, 2013 at 11:31 AM said...

i get road rage in Russia and im usually in the passenger seat, flipping people off out the window. I have to control myself a bit better though, gf gets more stressed at my stress!

Anonymous said...

Well there you go.. Russians are Morons..

Anonymous said...

I am a British ex-pat and have been living in Russia for almost 10 years and i am a driver here. Yep, every time I go for a spin, everyyyy timeeee, i see a crash or a shunt. Going to the dacha i can come across at least 5. Here's the funny thing: the drivers of these cars involved in crashes are probably nice people; the kind i meet in the gym or a bar. So why does it happen?

1) There is no concept of "consequence" in Russia. This comes from their lack of lateral thinking which is not nurtured during their upbringing as well as their education. So they might drive like idiots really believing they're not causing any harm.
2) From point (1) they believe the bigger the car the safer they are. Hence why drivers in 4x4s tend to seem aggressive.
3) As mentioned in the article, their is a lot of corruption so basically a one-armed blind monkey can take to the wheel providing it's got some cash with it. Due to this fact there is little reason to learn the highway code. So everyone has their own vision as to what the laws of the road really are. For example, around Himki (north Moscow) you will find one of Moscow's few roundabouts. Up until recently (about 18 months ago) the traffic coming onto the roundabout had right of way. Many drivers still believe this so i cruise around the roundabout with a lot of caution.
4) Continuing with corruption, if you drive like a total twat and get stopped, yep, you can bribe your way our of being punished. So there is basically no fear of punishment so drivers can behave at the wheel like they do with impunity.
5) And continuing from point (4) the Police are nowhere to be seen. They might occasionally pull you over nearer the centre by being flagged down but in my 10 years i have NEVER seen a police car pull someone over. Never! There are no cameras, except around the city centre but even if you are sent a bill, there is no decent system in place to guarantee payment. I know many Russians who have been sent a fine and have never paid it. So again, you can act without fear of punishment,

So all in all, this theme finds its way into the Russian psyche. The Russians are not stupid because, well, being stupid, you ought to know the difference between right and wrong. Sorry for saying this but... the Russians are primitive. There is a big difference.

Lt. Columbo on April 5, 2014 at 6:44 PM said...

Again, all very valid points there.
I think, as with a lot of aspects, Russians know the basic difference between right and wrong, but they just don't give a shit. zero thought as to consequence of actions. like the idiots that speed по дворам, zero thought that kids could be around or anything.

also, i find that the better car a person has, the more entitled they feel to act like a complete A hole. there's an element of this in the UK too, but it's far worse here . i have a BMW, thus i am god and will do whatever i want and everyone else is a shit muncher

Anonymous said...

I think it goes with the selfish, liberal mentality we see in the US...its all about "me" and what "I" want. Screw everyone else. They have no regard for others and do not respect others and their property.

Anonymous said...

How in the Sam hell can you park a car in a tree?

Anonymous said...

Just glad I wasn't born in Russia.
What a complete MESS.

Anonymous said...

That's odd you say a "selfish liberal mentality". My uncle is as liberal as they come, he bleeds blue, however he's also very successful and donates a lot of his money to helping underprivileged kids and families in poverty. He not only donates his money, but his time. Your remark is completely ignorant how you base your narrow view of things and people. By the way, if you want to check the states getting the most welfare, hate to tell you, it's red states. Business insider has a great article detailing this. It's comical it happens to be the ones that claim Republican and tout "personal responsibility" that suck up much of the welfare. Kind of ironic, huh? All that talk of 'pick yourself up by the boot straps" sounds great to those 'republicans' in red states, until they lose their welfare, housing and actually have to do it all themselves. I'm only injecting political views in here because you did, which is a silly thought process you have.

Unknown on March 16, 2016 at 9:33 AM said...

Economy= cars
Good roads = government
Good driving= being civilized
Russia (only) has a good economy...when...the oil price is high, something their personal efforts have absolutely no bearing upon. Nice country... Yeah right

Anonymous said...

Let's be real. The reason this happens so frequently in Russia is because the Russian people are uncivilized savages.

Anonymous said...

So, i found this article because I just couldn't believe how dangerous it is to drive in Russia. In fact, being a pedestrian is a total health hazard. Do they not have drivers training? They have traffic lights but who follows them? Making a left/right from two lanes going the wrong direction. And most of all, no common sense! Good god people..what the hell wrong with you. I just want to know are Russians just dumb fuck stupid? I mean are they like this in other areas of life? How many people are injured/killed in car accidents each year? Even pedestrians are such idiots too..running across a busy intersection without looking AT ALL. It just seems like they don't give a fuck about anything, no regards for for themselves or others. It really makes me question their sanity. They deserve the Darwin Award. It is just so fucked up over there.

Lt. Columbo on June 7, 2017 at 1:54 PM said...

They're pretty nuts for sure - im now in Bulgaria and i have to say, the drivers and pedestrians are as bad as the Russians

mike sokolow on July 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM said...

Thank goodness for stupid Russkies, endless entertainment.

Australian Political Vagrant on April 8, 2018 at 12:17 AM said...

I thought some things in life were constants. Not putting your hand in an open fire for instance. It doesn’t matter what language you speak or culture you practice - no one does it. I thought this applied to fundamentals of driving. Clearly not. As offensive to my politically correct cousins it may be, Russians (and others like them) (at least behind the wheel or handlebars), are plainly deficient. Of course there are reasons for this (many), but the results speak for themselves.

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