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Who are the worst drivers in Europe?

Who are the most aggressive drivers in Europe? What about the most likely to speed or beep their horns? A new survey claims to have the answers.

Who are the worst drivers in Europe?
Who's the rudest, and who's the most likely to drive too fast? Photo: AFP

Main points: 

  • French and Greeks are the rudest
  • Swedes most likely to drive too fast
  • Swedes also most likely to drive too close to another car
  • Dutch the most likely to undertake
  • Spanish most likely to use their horn

Drivers in most of Europe say they have adopted safer and more courteous behaviour behind the wheel, with the notable exception of the French and Greeks who share the top spot for hurling insults at other road users, polling data suggested on Wednesday.

In a poll of self-reported behaviour, drivers in most European countries said they were less likely to resort to insults than a year ago, to lean on the car horn, to overtake on the right, or to drive too closely to the car in front of them.

However, the poll found the Greeks were most likely (47 percent) to drive on the tail of the car in front of them and, with the French, to insult other drivers (70 percent).

READ ALSO: 'No consideration for anybody except themselves': The damning verdict on Danish driving

The Spanish, at 66 percent, were quickest to jump on their car horn, according to the research conducted in 11 countries by the Ipsos polling agency for roads operator Vinci Autoroutes.

The Greeks, the study found, topped the list for dangerous road behaviour while the British came last.

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Overall, 88 percent of European drivers admitted to exceeding the speed limit on occasion – one percent down from 2019, and 61 percent – a drop of three percent – to not respecting the safety distance.

The Swedes were the most likely to drive too fast or too close to another car, or to take their eyes off the road, the poll found.

Dutch drivers were the most likely – almost half of them – to overtake on the right in lanes meant for slower traffic.

Not on target

On a positive note, the poll found that only two of the 14 indicators of dangerous driving behaviour were on the rise – speaking on the telephone and setting the GPS while driving.

A fifth of drivers – a rise of one percent from 2019 – said they had got out of their car to settle an argument with another road user. The Poles, at 37 percent, were most guilty of this.

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A fifth of French drivers, compared to 16 percent in Europe, said they were “not really the same person when driving”, and judged themselves to be more nervous, impulsive or aggressive than otherwise.

According to EU data, some 22,800 road traffic fatalities were recorded in the 27 European Union countries in 2019. This was about 7,000 fewer than in 2010, representing a decrease of 23 percent.

The number fell by two percent from 2018.

While the underlying trend remains downward, progress had slowed in most countries since 2013, and the EU target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020 from 2010 would not be met, the European Commission said in a report.

“2020 still may prove to be an outlier with early indications that the number of road fatalities is likely to drop significantly in view of the measures taken to tackle coronavirus but not by enough to meet the target,” it said.

Member comments

  1. This is another set of statistics that treats Greece as homogenous. My experience is different.

    On Santorini, almost everyone I talked to said that the most dangerous drivers were American tourists—especially male tourists from specific stated (guess which ones). I didn’t try to drive on Santorini.
    But I drove all over East Crete and I never felt insulted or endangered. The only place I had trouble was the center of Heraklion, after dark, and even my Cretan friends wouldn’t drive there, given a choice.

  2. I spent three months dry retching when I first started driving in southern Italy. This after 35 years extensive driving in the UK. The obsession to overtake, tailgate, inability to look left, no use of indicators. They are crazy, that is why the insurance is so expensive. However they do it all with a smile, a cheeky grin and a shrug of the shoulders. “You got eyes and brakes – use them.” Driving in France is so polite.

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DRIVING

Six key things to know about buying a used car in Norway

Are you dipping into Norway's second-hand motor market for the first time? Here are six things worth keeping in mind. 

Six key things to know about buying a used car in Norway

Check the vehicle’s history

You can learn a lot about the car you are considering buying by looking into its history. On the Norwegian Public Roads Administration’s website, you can check the vehicle’s previous owners, registered mileage, EU checks and technical data about the car. 

This service also gives you a fairly solid idea of whether the seller of the car is the actual owner. In Norway, only the registered owner of a vehicle can sell a car unless they have given power of attorney to somebody else to do so. 

Read over the service booklet

The car’s service booklet can tell you a lot about the vehicle. For example, the service booklet will tell you how often the car has been serviced and what mileage has been recorded at each interval. You should steer clear of vehicles that don’t come with a complete service history. 

Service history booklets also give you an indication of how well a car has been maintained. It can also give you an insight into potential  problems later on. For example, many vehicle models have problem parts that need maintenance or replacement after a certain amount of mileage. If these minor issues that need rectifying haven’t been kept up with, it can spell bigger trouble down the line. 

Additionally, if the car you are looking at is known to have any problem parts, knowing when it was last replaced will give you an indication of when you can expect another bill to resolve the issue. 

You can pay some centres and organisations to carry out an inspection of the car for you

Make sure the car doesn’t have any liens against it

When buying a used car, it is essential to check whether the car has been used as security or collateral and could be subject to a lien. 

When buying a used car from a dealership, this usually won’t be a problem. 

But if you buy a car with loans or debts taken out against it and the debtor defaults, the creditor can legally take the car- even after you have bought it. You can check here to see if a vehicle has a lien against it.

Are you buying from a dealership or private seller? 

Cars bought from a dealership are more likely to have been thoroughly inspected by the company’s mechanical department. In contrast, when you buy privately, you are more likely to buy “as is”. However, you can pay some centres and organisations to inspect the car for you. 

If you purchase a car from a dealership, you will be more likely to have a warranty covering your back if things go wrong. 

When buying from a private individual from Finn.no, you can take out a warranty on cars under 12 years. This warranty only lasts between six and twelve months, though. 

Buying privately also allows more room for haggling and negotiation and will, in most cases, be cheaper than buying from a dealership. 

Re-register and insure the car

When a vehicle in Norway changes owners, the change will need to be reported to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. This will need to be done within three days of the vehicle changing hands. 

The previous and new owners will need to sign the notification of sale. The previous owner is responsible for reporting the sale. 

You will also need to re-register the vehicle. While going through the registration process, the car must not leave the county. To re-register the vehicle, you will need to pay a fee. After that, you will need to take out motor vehicle liability insurance. 

It’s also worth noting that you will need an online ID and personal identification number to buy a vehicle in Norway. 

If something goes wrong

When buying a car from an individual, you have two years where you can claim for defects or faults. You have a five-year complaint period when purchasing a vehicle from a dealership. 

For this reason, using a contract is essential when buying a used car, as you can specify what was expected of the vehicle when you purchased it. 

Buyers can complain about faults and defects with the car that were present when the vehicle changed hands that the seller did not disclose. However, parts and faults that occur later on can’t be the subject of a complaint. Furthermore, the car’s age is also important as older cars can be expected to have more go wrong with them over time. 

Even when sold “as is”, sellers will still have an obligation to provide the buyer information regarding major faults and issues with the car. 

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