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Re: Just back from Euro Delivery of my 540i (long) (archive)

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Posted by JEM on August 18, 2000 at 12:57:35:

In Reply to: Re: Just back from Euro Delivery of my 540i (long) posted by Chris on August 18, 2000 at 12:12:38:

Of course, Europeans driving in big cities, are much worse drivers than in the states.

Can't agree on that one. Having never driven south of the Alps, I'll reserve comments on Italy, but the below is based on three trips and about 10K miles of driving through most of north-western Europe.

European drivers are least more consistent and predictable. You have very few Kamikaze cabbies and equally few timid soccer-moms in minivans. Everyone does pretty much what you expect them to.

Now, admittedly, that expectation changes from locale to locale. In Germany drivers are comparatively respectful of speed limits, right-of-way, etc. German city traffic is almost placid.

In Paris everyone just sorta 'gets along' (most of the time, anyway) - lanes don't really exist, and spaces between vehicles will be quickly filled by mopeds. If you signal a lane change you'll find that the vehicles around you magically produce 1.00001 BMW-size gaps for you to move into. Most Americans get paranoid at the prospect of being within two feet of another vehicle; you better get over this in a hurry when driving in Europe.

The Brits are impatient but cooperative. In-town speed limits are honored completely in the breach. If you signal a lane change a London cabbie will give you .5sec to move over. He will give you an opening, but you damn well better take it immediately or it will disappear.

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