Friday, July 31, 2009

The worst drivers in the world... well, at least in Norway

Stavanger’s Aftenbladet published an article today alleging that drivers in Rogaland are among the worst in Norway. And here, after I just berated the media for over-sensationalizing, comes a sliver of truth from the press. (You can read the article in English via Google Translate here. An imperfect translation, but you get the gist.)

Words like aggressive and impatient and uninformed were bandied about based on interviews with sociologists, insurance specialists and various other 'in the know' folk. And, frankly, I can’t say that I disagree.

Normal mild-mannered and gentle Norwegians become lotharios behind the wheel. They throw themselves in front of you at high speeds, fail to use their indicators (and mirrors, natch), and they cut you off with little to no notice.

I’m not judging my adopted countrymen too harshly as I have a wreck or two or nine in my checkered past. But after I paid out the gross domestic product of Swaziland* on insurance deductibles I had a ‘come to Jesus’ moment with myself and tried to sort out my bad driving.

I have had several scrapes in Norway, primarily to do with roundabouts. It would appear that no one ever taught my lovely Norwegian compadres how they work, so I am taking this chance to lay out the rules once and for all. (Hopefully this will absolve my need to shout at my fellow drivers when they break the rules of rundkjøringen from now on.)

1. You yield to the person on your left. It is not true that he who enters first, wins.

2. You do not wait in a roundabout. If there is not room for you to pass through the roundabout to your onward road, do not, for the love of cookies, enter the roundabout. If you do, you will just jam it up for everyone else.

3. Use your blinker to indicate where you will be exiting the roundabout. Whipping into the roundabout and careening off an exit with no notice is a recipe for a crash.

I know there are a lot more rules, but if we could just nail those first three, I’d be pretty chuffed. I know you can do better than this, Rogaland!
*This is hyperbole. I do not know what the GDP of Swaziland is. Nor do I intend to look it up. Feel free to post if you stumble across the info though, and we can all learn something.


  1. Bwahahaha---i was about to commend you for looking up the facts, then read your *. I love *'s.

    Also, the cab driver from the airport home told us all about this article. Hilarious. He hates Rogaland drivers, too.

    My personal biggest pet peeves are the ones that drive right on your carbooty as well as the ones that dart out right in front with very little room to spare. Hate that.

  2. I was fairly sure the rule was that you yield to people already in the lane you want to enter, but that people usually just interpret it as "yield to the left", as that's simpler. Exiting the inner lane though, you should yield to people in the outer one.

    There should be five to ten car sized catapults built into every roundabout, activated by cars standing still on them for more than two seconds. That might help cutting down on the number of people who wish to queue in them.

    I agree with you that signaling to exit is vital to the flow of traffic. That goes for when people exit right-of-way roads too, with others waiting to get on.

  3. Dag, my paraphrasing of driving law is based solely on barely passing my US driving test about 15 years ago and then, 6 years ago, flunking my UK driver's test four times before finally eeking out a pity pass from the instructor on the fifth go round. This is all to say I should not be viewed as an authority on driving matters. The twelve dents in my car will attest to this.

    I am totally digging your catapult idea though!

  4. I totally agree and I even add "junctions" to your text. They just do not know how to enter a junction (the right way) either.
    Love your blog!!!

  5. Can I share this article in facebook??? :)

  6. Just saw on your article about facebook. Forget about my request. Sorry, I didn't know.

  7. Anon, I hate FB. But I love it. But I hate it. Get my drift? Feel free to share the article if you would like - I appreciate you thinking it is interesting enough to share. Thanks for reading!