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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

The best websites for buying a second-hand car in Switzerland

If you are looking for a second-hand vehicle in Switzerland, but are not sure where to look for it then numerous websites can help you in your search.

The best websites for buying a second-hand car in Switzerland

Pre-owned cars are in high demand in Switzerland.

According to data from Swiss Auto Association, in 2022 (last year for which statistics are available), second-hand automobiles were advertised online for an average of 61 days before being snapped up, versus 67 days for a new car. 

In fact, Swiss consumers prefer to buy used rather than new cars, according to Touring Club Schweiz (TCS) motoring organisation.

The main reason is that new cars lose their value almost immediately, while second-hand ones ‘devalue’ much slower.

Where should you look for a used car?

There are several venues for that, both off- and online.

One is to buy it from someone you know, which, of course, is the least risky solution.

You can also look at classified ads in the ‘auto’ section of your local newspaper, or online, in your area.

Alternatively, you can visit physical auto dealerships in your area, and see what used vehicles are for sale there.

But the most practical way is probably to ‘visit’ various websites dedicated to car sales.

Why is this the best option?

The main reason is that each of these sites (see below) lists tens or even hundreds of thousands of automobiles that are for sale in Switzerland at any given time.

The listing includes both new and pre-owned cars, but even so, you will find a larger selection of used vehicles on websites dedicated to car sales than by sifting through newspaper ads.

These are among the most popular ones:

Comparis 

AMAG
 
Carmarket
 
Autoscout24

Autolina

Autouncle

All of these websites are the same, or at least very similar in what they offer — besides the cars, of course.

The vehicles being sold are usually checked by certified dealers, and some offer  limited warranties, which is a good thing to have for a used car (or used anything).

You can choose the geographical area of your search, car type and model, the number of kilometres driven, year of manufacture, and price range.

Is it safe to purchase a car from these websites?

Obviously, the advantage of purchasing directly from a physical dealer, or a private person, is that you can inspect and test-drive yourself.

It goes without saying that you should never buy a big-ticket item like a car sight unseen, based only on a photo.

Therefore, these websites should be resources for you to see what’s available and where, and to compare prices.

You should definitely contact the seller and make arrangements to go see the vehicle and, ideally, have it inspected by a mechanic before actually purchasing it.

READ ALSO: What you should know about buying a car in Switzerland

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