The English speed, down narrow country lanes. The Germans speed and tailgate, especially those black Audis. But Latvians were the worst drivers we encountered: a complete disregard for lanes, pedestrians, indicators, giving way, road courtesy of any kind, it’s every road user for themselves.
Until we got to Russia.
Faster even than the English, through rain, potholes, roadworks, diesel spills; more aggressive than the Germans, pushing in when there is no room, pushing on through traffic lights even when they’re red; and more dangerous than the Latvians, overtaking regardless of oncoming cars, see a space and claim it, see pedestrians and speed on by.
We saw several accidents during our short stay, where cars had stopped without warning and others, speeding close behind, slammed into them.
We saw a Maserati and some nondescript Russian car collide at a T-intersection. We’re not sure who was at fault but suspect both: the Russian car probably ran a red light while the Maserati sped out of the side street without looking. When we arrived on the scene both drivers were out of their cars and on their phones.
All Russians talk on the phone while driving and no cars appear to be fitted with hands-free options.
We had one fun evening sitting by the river near a set of traffic lights, just watching the mayhem. And then the street-racing started.
Half a dozen, perhaps more, Subaru WRXs flew past with their hazard lights flashing. We don’t know whether that was a signal to each other that the race was on or a warning to others to get out of their way.
They were screaming through the evening traffic; I can’t believe no one got hurt.
Motorbikes, too, went racing by; sometimes with pillions, sometimes without helmets. Crazy stuff.
We read that the police had been trying to crack down on St Petersburg street-racers but there was no deterrent that we saw.
Best roads? Sweden.
Best drivers? Sweden. Graham said he felt as safe as a Volvo.