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What drives you crazy behind the wheel?

November 5th, 2009
10:41 PM ET

Tom Vanderbilt has literally written the book on a facet of daily life that in one way or another affects just about every human being on the planet: Getting from A to B and the obstacles and frustrations we enounter in between. [cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/11/06/art.vanderbilt.jpg caption="Send your traffic questions for Tom Vanderbilt."]

From the bicycles of Beijing to the taxis of Toronto, TRAFFIC is unavoidable. Strap yourself in as we discuss his best-selling work "Traffic: Why We Drive the Way We Do (and What it Says About Us)".

Part psychological study, part "how-to" guide, "Traffic" features amazing tid-bits about what happens to us when we get behind the wheel, go for a ride, or simply try to cross the street.

Red lights? Cyclists? One-way streets? Other drivers? Tell us what drives you mad when you're behind the wheel, plus send your questions for Tom and we'll put them to him during Friday's show.

soundoff (57 Responses)
  1. Kate

    One word: TAILGATING! So dangerous. So unnecessary. So rude!

    November 6, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Reply
  2. Natalie Eslinger

    Drivers talking on cell phones and the many other distractions - eating, reading and everything else that takes minds off the road. These distractions are becoming more deadly, in my opinion, than any other life-threatening situation while driving.

    November 6, 2009 at 12:14 pm | Reply
  3. Stone

    Thanks for bringing up this topic.
    I have lived in many big capitals in the world but to me none is more
    frustrating to drive in like Paris.
    I've lived here for a few years and I fully understand that this city was
    not designed with cars in mind. Traffic jams, slow drivers, reckless drivers and so on are a given all over. But, when it comes to motorcycles I have to say I almost lose it every time!
    The great majority of them have no regards for anything around them
    and 'think' that they have the right of way permanently.
    Q: I've always wondered if in Paris (France) they are legally allowed
    to ride right on the line in between lanes.
    Thank you

    November 6, 2009 at 12:25 pm | Reply
  4. Kristin

    I get really annoyed when pedestrians don´t wait to cross the street. This happens a lot in Brazil. Instead, they see you coming, start crossing and basically end up in the middle of street while you, the driver, are left to wonder if they see you or if they are going to stop.

    November 6, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  5. norman echelberry

    With all the extra features we pay for when buying a car I really need to ask why bother, if nobody uses their headlights and turn signals lets just not install them on a car and save money.

    November 6, 2009 at 1:19 pm | Reply
  6. Alexander P.

    as a driver in Greece, what angers me the most is the blatant disrespect of any driving law, buy Greek drivers. I'm particularly prone to road rage whenever:
    *I see drivers talking or texting with their phones while driving,
    *drivers violating bus/motorcycle lanes because they have less traffic,
    *taxi drivers changing multiple lanes without warning to pick up customers
    *drivers trying but not succeeding to park their SUV's in the centre of Athens creating traffic havoc behind them

    November 6, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Reply
  7. Charlie

    I get annoyed at people that drive on my front bumper – hoodgating. They should get behind me.

    Or the one's that get mad when I drive with my brights on (it's sooo much easier to see).

    Then there's the walkers that refuse to run when the little red man starts flashing.

    I'm really glad they put wheels on the phone booths. It's so relaxing to have a chat with friends as the scenery rolls by. And..boy..modern technology – one can hardly hear the honking.

    November 6, 2009 at 1:25 pm | Reply
  8. Will

    To Stone,
    I can't promise you that it is in fact a law, but traditionally, anywhere you drive in France you will find that motorcyclists will shoot between lanes. This is especially true in traffic jams, as it is common practice for those in the left-most lane to hug the shoulder, so that motorcyclists can pass between the two lanes safely. Also, I would say that the French have a different conception of the role that motorcycles play in regards to transport. (as opposed to americans, assuming you are in fact american) As such, drivers in France are much more accustomed to this phenomenon and are aware of the fact that there may be motorcycles around them.

    On a personal note, nothing annoys me more than people who sit in the left lane on the freeway. The rule is keep right except to pass! Just because you are unsure of yourself on the road does not give you the right to sit there in the left lane and slow up traffic. If you are being tailgated, it is probably for that reason! (since flashing brights to ask someone to move over is considered rude in America) In Europe, it simply is not allowed, and although it happens, it is not a very common sight.

    November 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  9. Ivan

    Caracas: permanent traffic jams, motorciclyst speeding between lanes, pedestrians crossing like cows (I have seen street dogs using the pedestrian bridges while some people cross the highway bellow), and when there is a road without a traffic jam, you allways find somebody at 20 KPH in the fast lane. I suppose this person is from some dark organization that hates speed and makes his members hit the road to produce traffic jams. But they are fougth by the other terrorists that drive at whatever the engine gives.
    Paris, Rome, come on, you live in paradise!!

    November 6, 2009 at 1:33 pm | Reply
  10. Doug

    People who have watched way too much NASCAR, weaving in and out of traffic, not using signals.

    November 6, 2009 at 1:56 pm | Reply
  11. e man

    I'm foreigner in CZ, and driving in Prague sometimes drive me nuts. They seem to forget all manners when under the steering wheel. High speed driving through towns and narrow streets is common...and nobody seems to care about the high possibility of accidents related to that. On the other hand...if you seem to have done something wrong (according to czech drivers, even something very very minimal), they horn or giving you a staring crazy look)....funny actually after you have been very patient towards number of dangerous drivers and you do something like slowing down when turning....
    Anyway...they are probably the worst drivers in Europe and the high accident rate is proving it.
    Czechs...learn your manners on the road and grow up !

    November 6, 2009 at 1:59 pm | Reply
  12. Bob

    Why don't people use their turn signal? This simple act seems like it could help avoid a lot of fender benders.

    November 6, 2009 at 2:02 pm | Reply
  13. Hugh

    My father was a truck driver in NYC; I drove trucks in Germany while in the US Army; I drove taxis in NYC to put my self through school; I drove a delivery truck in Paris; and currently drive about 30,000 miles/year both in the USA, Italy, and France.

    # 1: Driving customs change all over the world. People have different unwritten rules that they follow.
    # 2: It seems sensible to observe and emulate the local drivers. For example, flashing headlights in France will signal the driver ahead of you to move to the right to allow you to pass; in Switzerland, this effect is achieved by turning on your left directional.
    # 3: In the USA, drivers 'believe' that as long as they are within the speed limit that they can 'cruise' in the left lane, even if they are side-by-side with another vehicle, which of course prevents anyone else from passing.
    # 4: Frustration with other drivers is universal.

    Be alert, drive safely, keep improving your skill set as you drive.

    November 6, 2009 at 2:07 pm | Reply
  14. ben

    I believe there is a disconnect between the people we are when we drive and the people we are in everyday life. The larger the city you drive in the more anonymous you feel behind the wheel. If we cut someone off or nearly cause a wreck there is no real consequence and you will likely never see the other driver(s) again. It is this anonymity that can make the ever-courteous soccer mom give you the finger after she nearly causes an accident.
    The irony lies in our definition of dangerous weapons. If I were to walk into a McDonald's and, without concern for the safety of the others, blindly swing a bat through the air causing people to duck out of the way I would be committing a crime (reckless endangerment?), even if I did not hit anyone. The people in McD's would have a right to subdue me. If I were to cut someone off on the highway and slam on my brakes or run someone off the road, because I did not make contact with their vehicle I have not "technically" broken a law. Only if a police officer witnesses the event could a reckless or careless driving ticket be issued. Yet if the drivers who avoided the potential accident confront me it is defined as road rage and we condemn their actions. Our laws only seem to punish terrible and dangerous driving if an actual accident/injury occurs. There is no accountability for the narrowly avoided accident/injury.

    November 6, 2009 at 2:16 pm | Reply
  15. Laura in Northern Ky

    Cigarette butts being thrown out the window drive me nuts. Not only is it not safe and a potential fire hazard, it is just gross. There are intersections that literally look like ash trays. Why is it that we do not enforce the litter laws on these offenders?

    November 6, 2009 at 2:18 pm | Reply
  16. Nazmul Ahsan

    A few of too many

    1. Intentional blockers
    2. Distracted drivers
    3. Slow traffic on fast lanes
    4. Trucks not on right most lanes

    November 6, 2009 at 2:20 pm | Reply
  17. Bea

    Unnecessary honking. In the middle of a traffic jam, some people will get the nerve to honk at you when clearly there is nowhere to go or nothing you can do. Chill out people!

    November 6, 2009 at 2:35 pm | Reply
  18. Mahes

    Come to Nepal and you will see what violation of traffic is

    bikes always keep on changing lanes from one to another just to cut short. they even go to pedestrian streets.

    and abt pedtestrian no cares to see the traffic light.

    same with taxis and public buses, they stop anywhere and everywhere to pick up passengers

    November 6, 2009 at 2:47 pm | Reply
  19. Chad

    14 years here in rural Japan:

    –Truck drivers that drink alcohol while driving. Believe it or not, it's very common. Be careful if you drive the highways here, get out of the truck's blind-side as quickly as possible. One truck almost wiped-out my family–splurged and bought one of the safest family vans–Toyota Estima. Took years to pay off.

    –Drivers that go through red lights seconds after they change (the yellow light is about half the time as in the U.S.).

    –Brainless pedestrians who just wait for the light to turn green–especially children who have no sense of defense...they just blindly trust the walk sign and the drivers.

    This article caught my eye, because one of my students died today after being hit by a car. He didn't stop and look–the driver was going to fast on a small, canal road. Only 6 years old. RIP, little fella.

    November 6, 2009 at 3:08 pm | Reply
  20. Bruce

    Another one about Paris, while it's true about the motorbikes they truly do believe they own the road and will flash you, and honk, they worst being they rip off your wing mirror and or kick in your door. It's happen to me on more than one occasion. Honda Goldwing riders being the typical case, damn the things are as wide as a smart the more room I give the more they take.

    I decress, the one thing that really annoys is the lack of indicators. The cars are fitted with them, I know I asked a garage. When I bought my new car I actually asked the garage if I could have indicators fitted as it didn't seem to be an option on French cars.

    Anyway in the 1 hour 15mins commute each way, everyday, I believe I've only seen 3 people make any use of the indicators. Indiscriminate lane change is the order of the day, visitors beware.

    I'm sure I've read that Paris and French drivers in general have recently been voted the worst drivers in a Pan-European poll. It's so easy to believe.

    November 6, 2009 at 3:13 pm | Reply
  21. Chad

    On a lighter note (to assauage my feelings on my last post)–I once drove from JFK to BOS with my 5 y.o. daughter in the car (it was her second time in the U.S.). A guy drove by with his middle finger pressed to the window.

    My daughter asked me what it meant.

    I said, "it means welcome to NY".

    If you really want to anger someone who has flipped you for little reason, just wave, smile and say, "HI!"...as if running into an old friend.

    That riles them!

    November 6, 2009 at 3:16 pm | Reply
  22. Toni Knight

    When ppl brake to much. Nothing infront them. Just step on the brake just to step on the brake.

    November 6, 2009 at 3:22 pm | Reply
  23. Ishrat Rumy

    First of all, I can’t afford to be mad when I’m behind the wheel; if I’m a responsible driver 🙂

    Irresponsible drivers are the pain on the neck. So, please drive with responsibility. Live and let live.

    November 6, 2009 at 3:27 pm | Reply
  24. dori

    cell phones and drivers paying more attention to that chat than the road

    November 6, 2009 at 3:38 pm | Reply
  25. Steve

    I love driving in the autumn when the driver in front of me hits the brakes when leaves scamper across the road in front of them.

    November 6, 2009 at 3:55 pm | Reply
  26. Agron

    It seems to be a statement of the beauty of the car rto drive with fog lights on in Ireland! The rationale of these individuals is that they want to be seen better and tobe able to see everything. I have driven in many countries but Ireland is extreme when it comes to abuse of fog-lights. I knowe a few Irish drivers who brought their cars to the continent and were slapped withg fines due to the illogical use of fog lights in summer months-midday!

    November 6, 2009 at 4:11 pm | Reply
  27. David

    lol @ Charlie, very funny. Lighten up people, with Charlies attitude we will all have a pleasant driving experience

    November 6, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Reply
  28. André Schimmer

    One word: TAILGATING! So dangerous. So unnecessary. So rude!
    I fully agree with the above message.

    What drivers. 'especially truck and bus drivers' seem to ignore
    is that closer they are to the exhaust pipes in front of them
    the more gases (especially CO2) they breath.
    Exhaust gases are very hot, they will move quickly toward the sky.
    So leaving a distance of 3-4 meters should be good for your lungs.

    November 6, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Reply
  29. Hans

    What drives ME crazy behind the wheel?

    Women driving!

    November 6, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Reply
  30. Jake Brake

    As a professional driver, I have noticed that the one thing that irritates most truck drivers is this: a large minority of people do not read the signs that are posted on the side of the road. Ask any truck driver and they will tell you that many people simple do not know how to drive correctly. They know how to steer a car and step on the accelerator, but they know little or nothing about how to behave in traffic. They complain about the bad traffic situations that crop up not realizing that their poor driving habits and selfish motivation to get somewhere without cooperating with their fellow drivers, (as though they were an intolerable annoyance), causes the traffic to be so awful in the first place.

    November 6, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Reply
  31. Stephen

    Well here in Rome all lanes are fair game for motorcycle riders....yesterday was an accident between two motos going different directions.. and if the traffic is even a few seconds slow...the side walk is the preferred path..even if pedestrians are on it. Not to mention double parking everywhere and NO, NOT ONE police person to give tickets!

    So Rome trumps Paris and I have driven recently in both.

    November 6, 2009 at 4:41 pm | Reply
  32. Tracy

    I would have to say, drivers lack of using their turning signal. That drives me crazy. I know your vehicle was built with them, so people, please use them!

    November 6, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  33. Jeremy

    People who think that the safe breaking distance I leave between myself and the car in front is a great place to merge into. So annoying.

    I'm happy to do an MPH or two over the limit to ease the flow of traffic when necessary but I do tend to drive at *exactly* the speed limit and not a single fraction of an MPH more when somebody starts tailgating – they tend to get the message quite quickly! It works especially well on those few roads where the speed limit is set unreasonably low.

    November 6, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  34. josie Irrgang

    Here's how Argentians (in Buenos Aires) drive:

    – Seldom use blinkers
    – Tailgating very common
    – Running the red light: common, even for buses
    – Old cars driving without lights, at night, on the freeway! Even in fog!
    – Turning onto another road without watching the oncoming traffic
    – Stop signs only serve for decoration (not an exageration!)
    – Cutting other drivers off, rarely letting others merge and last;
    Very aggressive, immature and unnecessary dangerous driving in general. It took me two years, after driving in L.A. for 16 years, to dare to drive in down town Buenos Aires. Funny thing is, when they are not driving, the Argentinians are wonderful people!

    November 6, 2009 at 5:18 pm | Reply
  35. Diana

    Pet Peeves:
    • Accelerating toward the car in front of you that is going slower than you (thus a never ending braking/accelerating cycle that causes traffic to operate like an accordion).
    • Not using turn signals to signal every intent to turn/change lanes.
    • Not checking blindspot for cars before changing lanes. (No, this cannot be done using one's mirrors.)
    • Braking before signaling.
    • Tailgating.
    • Doing anything other than driving.
    • Going too slow/fast for safety/road conditions regardless of the posted speed limit.
    • Driving with the attitude that if they do hit you it will be their fault. So what? There's still a wreck and still a traffic jam, and all because you couldn't be bothered with avoiding an accident.
    • People who own cars worth more than mine. (Not a valid gripe, but definitely a peeve.)

    November 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  36. Xtine

    I can't stand pushy drivers. I am all for people not driving 55 in the fast lane, but if someone was walking slowly in front of you person to person, most people would not scream profanities or treat that person rudely.

    I think people hide their identities behind their vehicles. It creates a "safe zone" to say and do whatever they so please. (Sort of like the internet and social networking).

    I also hate the "bullies" of the road so to speak. That expect you to move out of the way no matter what lane you are in, and if you do not, they intimidate you by riding your you-know-what.

    November 6, 2009 at 5:23 pm | Reply
  37. Olivier

    One and only pet peeve: being inconsiderate...

    November 6, 2009 at 5:38 pm | Reply
  38. Rosaly

    I'm a Brazilian, and live here, IN Brazil.. I've been to many other countries in the world, but I've never seen such crazy, reckless drivers like the ones here, specially in my city, Salvador, capital of Bahia... There are no such a thing as a lane for them... they just go weaving from one to the other, no sign, high speed.... then you have those on the left lanes that would make a turtle look like a Formula I pilot... Then, cell phones, and talking, etc etc... And the state of some of the vehicles... you wouldn't believe they could still run... but THEY DO!!! And run away from them, because if they hit you, most probably they won't have a insurance plan to pay for your damages... And the motobikers and the bikers!! They're the owners of the road!!! Well, but now, as I read the other comments, sounds as I'm not alone here... :-0

    November 6, 2009 at 5:39 pm | Reply
  39. Frank in New Jersey

    my peeves?
    -Feeble people driving over-cautiously causing more acccidents than those they may prevent
    -elderly drivers, as above
    -braking on entrance ramps to freeways
    -braking excessively, needlessly- usually because of tailgating
    -women drivers- the irritating passive aggressive nonsense kills me
    -people driving in inappropriate seating position, like the little scared lady driving too close to the wheel gripping the wheel for dear life like its a white-knuckle experience, or the guy with the gangster lean... how idiotic. Do they really think it looks cool? Think again.
    -non-use of signals... are people supposed to read your mind?
    -driving slow in the left lane. I wish I could blow them out the way.
    -inattentive driving- driving on autopilot-distracted driving-multitasking
    like the guy reading a newspaper while driving 80 MPH on the NJ turnpike
    -random lane drifters.. without signals
    -tailgating women (Pennsylvania drivers especially) who brake constantly because they are too close yet dont have the brains to understand why and fix the situation.

    People talk badly about European drivers, yeah they drive little toy cars without regards to civility- but Americans are worse in many ways, driving big dangerous vehicles inattentively (as if 'theres plenty road, why care?') Get with it, America.

    November 6, 2009 at 5:42 pm | Reply
  40. Laurel

    Gosh Andre, maybe those we should encourage those tailgaters then. With all those exhaust fumes they're breathing in, they may not be on the road much longer. Same with the chatters & texters out there. Put them all on a closed course and let them do their best (or worst). Whoever's alive at the end of it gets their plan canceled and then banned for life from owning a cell. For those that refuse to use their signals, encase their cars in some gaudy coloured boat bumpers. You'll see them a ways off and hopefully be able to avoid them. Or have a shot at anticipating what they might do.

    Instead of flipping off someone (for any litany of reasons) place your thumb on your nose and "wave" at them a la child-style. Or blow then a kiss. As for the folks that run red lights (especially turn lights) drive at them whilst leaning on the horn. One or two of them might actually have some form of bowel movement. But not too fast. You may need to stop quickly if they panic. Another good one is seeing how loud you can crank up your audio system so cars within 100 feet can clearly hear it too.

    For the tailgaters that like to talk on their phone, eat and sit on your arse, hit your brakes for no reason every so often. They might choke after the first one or two, but eventually they'll move. If they can steer into another lane with their knees that is. How about when it's snowing/raining like mad and those SUV/4-wheel-drive suburbanites that drive like they have Superman's powers but wind up on a sidewalk/kissing a sign or lamp post/in a ditch. We should just put skis on their vehicles instead of tires. That would be much more entertaining.

    For those that would prefer to put their disdain of their fellow automobileists into words without popping a blood vessel while driving, try platerage.com. I like it. I'm starting to see plates from all over the place now and don't have to drive anywhere to do it.

    November 6, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Reply
  41. D. Enemi

    People who don't know the difference between what sideview mirrors are for and rearview mirrors are for.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:05 pm | Reply
  42. Johnnyrvf

    I agree about Parisienne drivers, living in south west France someone visiting from Paris or the Ilse de France is immediately recognisable by their aggresive driving in comparison to the locals. As a motorcyclist (who does'nt consider a Goldwing a bike, more a powered two wheeler) I find most French drivers attitudes to bikes in that they are aware of your presence and willingly move over to let you pass, a refreshing change from the selfish attitude of London drivers that do virtually anything to block your way when filtering. As I have passed my I.A.M. test and was once a courier I know the difference between filtering safely and filtering like Harry the despatch rider, not using indicators OR using them AFTER the manoeuver to change lanes in traffic causes much strife, if someone is indicating it's useful imformation which saves a lot of grief.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:16 pm | Reply
  43. Sam

    I don't understand why people don't use their SIGNALS! It is just a good habit...if you want to cut people off, go in random directions, or just do donuts......at LEAST let others know, so that they won't get killed.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:17 pm | Reply
  44. From Russia with ... a Honk!

    I love pissing my fellow Russian drivers off! Here's how:

    1) I use indicators when changing lanes (pisses off everybody – they start expecting some kind of trap)

    2) I don't blast off taking left the millisecond the light turms green on intersections without waiting for oncoming traffic to clear (pisses off the guys in the front waiting for me to do it)

    3) I slow down seeing yellow so I don't need to roar through the intersection on a red light (pisses off the guy behind)

    4) And now for the worst crime – many a Russian motorist almost ended up in my boot while I actually slowed down and stopped before pedestrian xings – this pisses off both the driver(s) behind AND the pedestrian who is thinking it's a very elaborate trap so that my buddy (we must be working as a team!) speeding in the left lane can hit him right after he clears the safety zone in front of my stopped car!

    Other than that – learn the local ways and act accordingly – otherwise you get honked at, ytelled at, flipped at, etc.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Reply
  45. From Russia with ... a Honk!

    Another grrreat tip from you rRussian comrade: – one for people pissed of at tailgaters (not too many in Russia, everyone just hits the high beams) – once you get on on your... well... tailgate, place index finger on rear fog light switch and push in a brake-like fashion – it's red so they can't tell it from the brake signal so it;s fun to watch them slow down and increase the distance thinking you're hitting the brakes!

    November 6, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Reply
  46. antonfilipe

    Driving in India will drive you nuts. Unnecessary honking (happy or sad they just love it), changing lanes, overtaking from the left, parking on the middle of the roads, no signals, etc, etc. name it and the problem is there. I think worst of all are the badly designed roads and manoeuvring the potholes. Its like driving on the moon.

    November 6, 2009 at 6:46 pm | Reply
  47. Mark Trimmings

    What annoys me the most is
    Sunday drivers and it is the middle of rush hour.
    People who drive slower than the stimulated speed
    Women making themselves beautiful in the mirrors whilst driving.
    Cars drifting all over the place whilst their driver is multitasking

    November 6, 2009 at 6:55 pm | Reply
  48. swag

    Some things that push me over the edge while driving to/from work every day:
    * People talking on their cell phones
    * "soccer moms" in vans talking on their cell phone while driving in the left lane and leaving 20 car lengths between them and the car in front of them (get off the phone and move over!)
    * senior citizens – they should have to take a road test every year after the age of 65 – they are just as dangerous as the 16 year old learning to drive for the first time
    * every vehicle has turn signals and mirrors – learn to use them before you switch lanes and cut me off

    November 6, 2009 at 7:04 pm | Reply
  49. Niclas

    People who take too long before accelerating when the red light goes green. Makes the trafic less fluent.

    November 6, 2009 at 7:29 pm | Reply
  50. JohnCharles

    I drove in NYC, Paris, Rome and other cities around the world too. Although Rome is very confusing when it comes to streets direction, Paris has narrow streets, Buenos Aires has reckless drivers. None is more chaotic or annoying than Sao Paulo – Brazil. Rosaly gave an outlook, but I fear it's too simple to describe what I call the dumbest traffic in the world. Dumb drivers, dumb authorities, dumb traffic lights, dumb speed traps that do everything to worsen the traffic and contribute in making this one of the deadliest places to drive in the world.
    Dumb people that pay a fortune in government taxes to have nothing in return: no subway, poor public transportation (buses), dumb traffic lights that only worsen traffic, violent drivers, motorcycles passing in narrow gaps between cars (lots of them!), no sidewalk for pedestrians, narrow streets, speed traps that only function to gather money (most of them actually help provoking accidents), holes instead of asphalt all over (there is no street without a huge bump)... and violence/burglary. Don't even dream of going to work walking with your laptop. What drives me mad is how dumb can people be to live under these conditions and do nothing about it. Facts: Sao Paulo have 0.6 cars per person, around 12.000.000 people, 120km average traffic jam (all day long!) and an average traffic speed of 15Km/h. That is just ridiculous.

    November 6, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Reply
  51. Will

    One more thing that just came to mind...

    After reading someone's post that claimed they have the tendancy to drive exactly the speed limit, nothing makes me more angry than that. (except people sitting in the left lane of course, as previously said) Having grown up in Detroit, where many of the urban freeways are 55, I can safely tell all of you that if you go one mph under 80, you're likely to end up shot. Thus, while most of the city obeys this unwritten rule, there is always the one person who finds it more important to obey the posted speed than to go with the flow.

    It is not excess speed that kills! It is speed DIFFERENTIAL. If everyone is cruising at 80, the most dangerous person on the road is the one trying to be a good citizen by following the "posted speed." Again, while tailgating is annoying, if you are in the left lane getting tailgated, move over! If you are getting tailgated in the right lane, well, the person behind is just an idiot.

    And again on the european front and agreeing with previous posts, being in a car in Rome is somewhere being tons of fun and absolutely terrifying.

    November 7, 2009 at 4:50 pm | Reply
  52. Will

    somewhere between* tons of fun and absolutely terrifying.

    November 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  53. Kazeem

    I see that Lagos, Nigeria is conspicuous by its absence from the list of "favorite traffic hells". We have a phenomenon here called "go-slow" which has been on all my life (I am 44). the average speed in this town is 15 km-hr, which is about the same as the horse and carriage days (and with the smell of exhaust replacing the rather more organic smells of yore). There is another phenomenon called "Okada" or suicide motorcyclist, who seem hell bent on being sent to their maker thru their driving habits (weaving, dodging, bobbing and generally being a bloody nuisance). And then there are the drivers, who are probably all rehearsing for a part in a demolition derby, as I can't seem to explain the tailgating, lane changing and sheer lunacy of their driving. The irony of it all is that we definitely are not moving faster. My average commute time in the evening is 2 1/2 hours for a 32 km route (so much for rush-hour, we have a rush day). The traffic lights don't work (when they are installed), the pot-holes have a few roads connecting them (I have changed shocks on my 2-year old car twice), and the police and other traffic control authorities are venal. The condition of the majority of the vehicles is appalling, and not helped by the fact that most spare parts are re-conditioned or fake. And all this in a city with an estimated population of 15 millin and nearly 2 million vehicles, surrounded by water and with narrow streets. Hope anyone can beat that!

    November 10, 2009 at 6:52 am | Reply
  54. Janis Hicks

    Whoo – try Taiwan. 7 million scooters weaving everywhere, some with families of four plus a dog on board, no one willing to pick a lane (every driver trying to keep his options open by straddling them), no one looking right or left as they enter a 6-lane road from an alley.

    The worst is the utter lack of acknowledgement that anyone else is trying to drive. Cars double-and triple-park, blocking whole roads so their owners can get breakfast at a street stand and eventually saunter back. I want my own tow truck every day . . .

    November 10, 2009 at 2:17 pm | Reply
  55. Ken Mcguire

    Drivers doing 20MPH driving in the passing lane! Also drivers who drive on the shoulder instead of waiting like the rest of us drives me bonkers!

    November 12, 2009 at 2:12 pm | Reply
  56. Bruce

    Apart from people not using indicaters, which a personal bug bear of mine. I was horrified by the increasing amount of near misses, due to "Texting". I was actually witness to a mine "ding" , when a young women who was obviously writting her memoires ran straight into the back of the car in front. Her reaction, fury, she'd dropped her phone. More amazing still was the guy she ran into, got out of his car still holding his phone, I think he'd been texting as well. Without missing a beat the guy surveys the damage, whilsting continuing to text, thinks nothing of the damage, gets back in his car. I wish I could have video'd the scene, too bizarre.

    December 2, 2009 at 8:19 am | Reply
  57. annoyed driver

    people who always wave you on at an intersection when they were there first , just go!

    February 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm | Reply

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