Tag Archives: bad driving in portugal

Inconsiderate Drivers or Road Rats?

Today I was driving down a very ‘wibbly wobbly’, twisty narrow road to my mosaic class. Given my knowledge of the road I drive steady. Real steady. I call it the road of Hell or the pathway to Heaven.

I always anticipate the unexpected  as it is not unusual  to drive round a  bend to discover a burro and cart, chickens and stray dogs, or even  police cars parked in awkward places to pull in cars for vehicle checks. And that’s before you’ve taken into account drivers who overtake on the brow of a hill or/and or a blind bend. Anything can and does happen, so I concentrate.

This morning I caught sight of a car in my side mirror. For God’s sake, he was overtaking me on the brow of hill and and crossing a single white line. I had a ‘moment’ as I was not planning a trip to heaven just yet. He pulled back at the last minute as a large oil tanker hurtled round the bend at speed (thankfully I carry a spare pair of pants). I blinked then prayed before beeping my horn at him in disgust while shouting, Asshat!

He then hitched a ride right on my bumper for the next few wibbly wobbly terrifying miles impatiently weaving in and out to overtake then pulling back.

He makes his move. Again on the brow of the hill. No way could he see. He is almost level with my drivers door before he realizes he is running out of road as an oncoming car appears over the hill and flashes the headlights at him in warning.

I am now incensed. He is still tail-gating on my bumper. I slow down as his inconsiderate overtaking tactics are making me nervous. Extremely nervous.

“Hey, Asshat, I don’t want a bunch of flowers left at the side of the road to mark my passing to the next world. There is nowhere for me to pull over or for you to overtake. PATIENCE!”

Sheesh, this guy must have nine lives. I looked in my mirror, Asshhat is on his mobile phone gesticulating to an invisible audience.

Eventually, he overtook and squeezed by narrowly missing an oncoming car.

Needless to say he got the two-finger sign from me as he sped past. He was gone in seconds, and as beads of perspiration trickled down my back I let out a sigh of relief. Why are some drivers SO inconsiderate? He may have had a death wish aka late for the airplane, doctors appointment, work or whatever, but you are a long time dead.

I mused: would I stop to help if I discovered his car wrapped around a tree as I rounded the next hairpin bend? Ponderous.

 I is for ‘Inconsiderate Drivers‘. That’s my pet peeve for today.

Why not join me in the A-Z of Pet Peeves Challenge by sharing your  personal A-Z .  Simply post a peeve to your blog and don’t forget to share a links to your peeves to  Pet Peeves A-Z  page so we can all follow your progress!

 

Who’s up for the challenge?

Photo credit: Pixabay.com

Driving in Portugal – 12 Survival Tips

Driving in Portugal

Driving in Portugal

 I always cursed driving in the UK until I drove in Portugal.  My first experience and practice drive was round the roads of a holiday complex in Albufeira. Everything felt the wrong way round and back to front. For example when I instinctively reached for the seat belt on the right hand side I found myself just grasping at thin air. Whoops! It also felt strange changing gears with my right hand instead of left, plus every time a car approached from the other direction – I ducked. Not good for inspiring passenger confidence! Driving in Portugal, for me, was the equivalent of a white knuckle ride. I gripped the steering wheel so hard I physically shook with terror. Roundabouts were definitely a challenge as were junctions. The only time I felt remotely confident was driving in a straight line.   All this before I had to start worrying what everyone else around me was doing. I was a nervous wreck.

 That was then…

 I now feel more confident, and as I turn the key in the ignition my whole persona changes from relative calm to the devil incarnate. The survival tips I now share with you are a must for your sanity.

 Always work on the basis NEVER assume anything

  1. Concentrate on the road at all times. You will need psychic powers to survive.
  2.  If the driver in front of you is indicating to turn right, he may indeed turn left. Don’t assume he is going to turn in the direction indicated. He may just drive straight on.
  3. Constantly check in your rear view mirror for the maniac who will overtake a line of traffic and then carve you up as he nips in front of you at the last minute. Hand gestures will be exchanged when he ‘squeezes’ in narrowly missing the approaching articulated lorry as it hurtles past.  So be prepared to break or swerve – probably both.  More hand gestures and obscenities as he motors off at speed. You will learn to multitask – drive, curse and hand gestures. 
  4. Look out for lorries, cars, scooters, bicycles, burros and carts, pulling out from side turnings. Don’t assume they have seen you or they have even bothered to check for oncoming traffic.!!” You will learn to swerve instinctively to take evasive action.  
  5. Don’t forget whilst looking in your rear view mirror and observing side roads to look at the road in front. Hit the breaks! Drivers will screech to a halt without warning.  No signal. Maybe some break lights if you’re lucky. Pheww! Frogs are blessed with all round vision I believe, but we are not.  
  6. When you pull out gingerly to pass a stationary vehicle with said driver (see above) totally oblivious to the chaos behind – check your mirror as an impatient driver from six cars back will probably decide he does not want to wait his turn. You will learn to just sigh and accept their impatience 
  7. Approach the brow of a hill or blind bend with caution. Local drivers are notorious for over-taking on both. They were obviously born with X-ray vision. Who in their right mind would overtake when they can’t see oncoming traffic? If you are not blessed with 9 lives – buy some on Ebay –  you will need them. 
  8. Motorway driving also has its moments. For example, when you are in the outside lane overtaking a stream of traffic you may look in your rear view mirror and there will be a Mercedes an inch from your rear bumper frantically flashing his lights at you, to move out of the way. Inpatient he will expect you to evaporate into thin air. Don’t be intimated. 
  9. Beware of pedestrians. They present the most danger during the ‘Terrorist’ season. (This is the name we have bestowed on the tourists as they terrorize the locals). Many tourists come on holiday and leave their road sense at home, as they walk four abreast the road, or just step off the pavement without looking. Lean on the horn to wake them up. Hot tip – when you buy a car test the horn. Don’t buy one with a pathetic beep – you need a fog horn!
  10.   Roundabouts – remember they work anti clockwise not clockwise. Drivers don’t use lanes on roundabouts and they don’t signal. You will definitely need to develop all of your physic powers to guess which direction they are heading so you can take evasive action. 
  11. Parking is great fun. NOT. Your car will get scratched and scuffed resulting in colorful scars from other people’s paintwork. Hot tips – park between the best 2 cars you can find in the car park, if not avoid parking near cars that would look more at home in the scrap yard. 
  12. Finally, when you make a mistake – adopt the Portuguese shrug and a nice smile.

Boa Viagem!