Sunday, 23 October 2016

Group pressure on a small scale: Spanish traffic

The attitude is this: any speed limit is a mere recommendation (who made these rules anyway???) and should be interpreted as 20 km above the stated number. Go even faster at night, it is customary. Use your GPS to detect radars on time and express your discontent about their existence to yourself and your passengers and recreate the mail memory of when you got the the fine in your mailbox last time. Treat read lights rather liberally, "it was about to change to green soon anyway", or "it just was green, it is smoother to just continue."

Daytime, region of Andalusia, Spain.
Speed limit is 60 km/h. I follow that. Behind me emerges a queue of cars. This means they went fast all the way, much faster than 60, and wait for the road to strech out long enough to drive past me. And when they do, they signal their impatience.

Night, countryside, region of Murcia, Spain.
Speed limit is 60 km/h. I go 70 km/h. Cars go 90 km/h and signal as if something is wrong with my car. No, fella, I am just reading the signs and don't have an as liberal traffic attitude as you. Nor do I want to kill the wild animals that cross the road now and then. Didn't you see the bloody corpse to the right?

Evening, close to Murcia city, Spain.
A traffic accident slows all cars down on the highway. We pass a Golf with indoor light on, both airbags out. They are white and flattened as tired balloons. Glass around it on the ground as a broken gloria, ambulances. At least five other cars aside that also got involved in the crash. Yet people speed up completely untouched by this when the road is clear again, far beyond the limit of 120 km/h. Then comes a funny sign: 100 km/h recommended. Everybody ignores. (Even a truck speeded up by me once, a good occasion to swear. I cheered him with surprise.)

Evening, Murcia city, Spain.
Tunnel, 40 km/h is asked even with blinking signs. I go first 60 km/h, then calm down to 50 km/h. People go at 80 km/h. A huge white shiny bus is just behind, getting closer and closer. His lights swear at me with the Morse alphabet badly spelled.

Saturday, plain day on an empty parking, just about to drive in Communidad Valenciana. Spain.
I look back at the passenger who comfortably lies down sitting.
"Where is your seat belt?"
"You drive so well that I don't need one."
Please, be safe on the roads, folks.

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