Everybody has their stupid moments behind the wheel but some drivers do stuff that simply goes beyond imagination. And it’s not only about speed. They will honk impatiently, start up fights, ignore lights and pedestrians, sway out of lain, tailgate or play chicken with donkey carts. Of course, crazy drivers are part of the fun of traveling. Just make sure you’ve got proper life insurance when you go to the following cities.
Nothing can prepare you for thecollective mayhem going on in the streets of Mumbai. Drivers aregoing nuts in the snarling traffic, trying to make their way throughthe suffocating cloud of exhaust. Traffic rules? No, thanks. The onlyimportant thing is to dodge omnipresent children, beggars and footsellers that slip into every available space when the traffic comesto a halt. Wanna cross the street? Do exactly as they do and pray.Hundreds of auto-rickshaws, huge tracks, bicycles, motorcycles withwhole families on (including women in saris with infants in theirarm) and a kind of noise that defies imagination – welcome to thestreets of Mumbai.
Traveling around Cairo can really give one creeps. Driving arental car is like getting lost in the heart of a treacherous jungle on purpose; step off the curb as a pedestrian and you’re dead.The bane of the Egyptian stereotype of a freaky driver is the taxisin Cairo. Theyhave no problems making a left hand turn from the right hand lane(and vice versa), honk like crazy, always expect you to give way tothem whatever the circumstances, and basically take no notice ofpedestrians, be it at zebra crossings and when the WALK light is on.Oh, and there seems to be such thing as two directions of traffichere. Why restrict yourself to three lanes if you can use the entireroad…
Handsdown, Montreal has the most reckless drivers in all of Canada.Merging is a competition and indicators are merely ornamentation.Nobody signals their intentions, and if they do, others will go outof their way to prevent them from doing so. Tailgating and cutting infront of other vehicles is a standard driving procedure. Backing upon a major freeway? Why not? I missed my exit, right? Pedestrians? Ohboy, they can wait two seconds after the WALK light turns on. Whichlane am I supposed to stay on? Well, I’ll stand in the middle of thetwo to have enough time to decide. Oh, and you, in front of me, youbetter smash that gas pedal as soon as the light turnedgreen, alright? I’m in a hurry. Impatience and a dreadfullyself-centered attitude is what runs in Montreal drivers’ blood.
One ofthe most irritating things about Moscow is not the traffic, but thearrogance of all the posh car drivers. The thing with them is thatthey can afford to spend $10,000 on a flashing, police-like bluelight called ‘migalka’, which, in theory, can only be used inemergency. Yet to many of those Muscovites a traffic jams is a modelcase of an emergency situation, so they will ignore all the possible rules,heading down the wrong lane, rocketing through red lights,intersections, pedestrian crossings and even along sidewalks andexpecting everyone to move out of their way. Isn’t that pathetic?
If you’re planning to get aroundBoston, you’d better stick to cabs and the subway. Driving should beavoided at all costs, and it’s not only because of oppressivecongestion, poor parking options and the complexity of navigation.Boston drivers are just freaking crazy. There are even manualspublished that instruct visitors on how to fit in whengetting around by car in the city. Pedestrians- when the light says for you to walk, do not step off the curb rightaway. Trust the walk light, and you’re dead. As a driver be preparedfor double parking, lane blocking, adventurous teenage drivers, totalignorance of road rules, abrupt swerves and left turns from the rightlane, which is just a small flame in the hell of Boston driving.
Mexico City, Mexico
Driving around Mexico City is generally discouraged due toomnipresent jams, road structure that is difficult to follow and wilddrivers who seem to have developed a system of communicationobviously unknown to outsiders. If you do decide to drive, alwaysmind the driver’s hand gestures rather than the signal lights orlearn to distinguish subtle differences in car honks that mayindicate, among other things: “get a move on”, “I’m about toovertake”, “get off my way”, “Just go; it’s going to turngreen in a second anyway”, or simply “you idiot”. Rules neverseem to be obeyed, the concept of lanes is clearly obsolete, andtaking aleft from the right lane of an eight-lane boulevard is nothing youshould be particularly surprised with.
Driving in China is anightmare, and Shanghai seems to get almost the full blame for thisreputation. The streets are flooded with bicycles, cars, trucks,mopeds and barely experienced drivers, some of whom have fakelicenses anyway. Accident statistics are blood-curdling and theincidence of drunk driving staggering. Everybody here drives like areckless teenager, bikers driveout into the oncoming traffic and headlights arehardly ever used, so you often get to play ‘chicken’ in the pitchdark and collisions are missed by inches. Irresponsible,incompetent, and insanely dangerous – there’s not much more to sayof Shanghai
The ranking would not be completewithout the drivers in Rome, the world’s most dedicated honkers. Tocall them aggressive and adventurous would be an understatement. Beit disrespect for traffic rules, hot Italian temper or the fact thatthe drivers think it’s a core of good manners to say ciao to everywoman they pass, Rome has been cited as the most dangerous city inEurope for traffic accidents. The greatest risk is faced and causedby reckless motorcyclists who dodge in and out of lanes of traffic,often coming within a few centimeters of pedestrians. Hand waving,strings of insults and honking at someone who doesn’t take off withinexactly one second of the light changing is a reality of driving inthe otherwise marvelous capital of Italy.
When you’re silly enough to be going 120 km/h in a 100 km/h zone and cars are still whizzing past you, with drivers throwing fierce and pitiful looks at your direction as if they were expecting an elderly lady at the wheel, you’re no doubt in Bucharest, Romania. In heavy traffic, lanes don’t mean anything and drivers squeeze in ever available space, wildly waving their hands and swearing like troopers. And if you by any chance tread on their toes in any way, they won’t hesitate to get out of the car and flare up a (word) fight. Road accidents take a considerable toll so beware.
It isalmost impossible to describe the chaos and the level of rule-breaking you see in the streets ofManila, the capital of the Philippines. Thousands of cars coming within inches of you, sometimes at hellbentspeed, either tailgatingyou so close that you could not fit a needle between the bumpers orjumping in front of you without any indication. Motorcyclistsmaneuver in ways that you would only dare to try in a computer gameand pedestrians often just leap into the street in an act of faiththat the traffic will stop for them. Rules seem to be totallynonexistent, so stay alert and keep your cool as theytend to show off really awful manifestations of road rage.