Friday, October 08, 2010

Driving culture

YLE had a little piece the other day that a study of the whole Nordic region found Finns to be the worst drivers. This has become one of my little bugbears about living in Helsinki - that people drive like there is no one else around. Perhaps that is the case in many parts of rural Finland but it is certainly not in the Helsinki region, an metropolitan area of around a million people. The thing that I get most annoyed with is the seeming inability for people to use their indicators. My rather tiresome joke is that they must be called "celebrators" in Finnish, because people put them on to celebrate that they can turn the steering wheel and make the turn - because by this point I can see your car is going round the corner so you are bit late for indicating anything. One Finnish friend assured me that you are taught to use them properly in order to pass the driving test but her theory is because yes, everyone else on the road is so crap at using them, new drivers quickly give up on indicating anything with them as well. So, Finland, if you want to be better drivers start using your frigging indicators!

Right. Glad I've got than off my chest and thank you for listening.

7 comments:

Matt said...

As a cyclist living in London, but commuting out (bout 25 km each way so deal with a lot of drivers, no forest pathways for me) I can assure you that the people here are not much better. In Australia they use their indicators & we have pretty much the same road rules in Oz as in the UK.

PS love the blog, been subscribing for a couple of years now (since just before I finished my own PhD) and you've put me onto some great podcasts.

THC said...

Actually, we have jokes inside of Finland about how crappy drivers the people in the capital area actually are. This is noticeable when the winter arrives: fresh snow for people in Helsinki seems to mean an opportunity to bend some metal.

Toby - Northern Light Blog said...

THC - that's so true! I love the way YLE has the same headline every year: "snow catches rush hour traffic by surprise!" It's Finland! It's winter! Go figure!? But being from Junttiland you probably never use your indicators ever. ;-)

Matt - I was worried that your feeling might be right and I was just turning into a grumpy old man, but each time I come to the UK I pay obsessive amounts of attention and I do think the levels of driving are better. People do indicate much earlier than here! The Economist had an article on road safety (death per million kms driven or something) and the UK was one of the safest in the EU. Finland was twice as big a number although I suspect ice and moose account for much of that, whilst in England sitting in traffic jams doing 5 kmph keeps you very safe!

THC said...

Actually I do, but then again, when I do, there is almost nobody around..;)

Tony said...

You've got to save the lightbulbs. They're expensive you know, otherwise why would so many people drive around with just one headlight.

THC said...

Heh, maybe much more people are originally from Laihia than you would expect?

Hugo said...

Quite a lot of cyclists in Helsinki don't indicate either. Not suggesting you!

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