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-   -   Driving in Europe has opened my eyes to US insanity (http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/showthread.php?t=560635)

jsleemd 08-09-2011 10:18 PM

Driving in Europe has opened my eyes to US insanity
 
I just drove up and down I-5 from LA to SF this weekend and I can't believe the nation of lazy inconsiderate drivers all american's are becoming. Sure, I am used to the left lane hogs cruise controlled at the limit totally oblivious to any one behind them but it seems now that everyone is doing this. The right lane is for the 18 wheelers and RVs and old beat up trucks going steadily around the limit and the left lane is for all others forming a train going just barely above the limit. It used to be old men and mostly women( I know but it's true) but now it's dudes in their SUV's mindless plodding along. The only way to jump the train is to pass between openings in the right lane between the 18 wheelers and to make it worse these mindless drones all of a sudden decide to speed up and close the gaps so you can't go faster than them. Thank god for the mightly torque of the X5 35d which quickly gets you up to speed so you can pass them before they pull this move. Why can't we all use the left lane to pass and then get the f out of the way to let faster traffic through. In europe, on narrower roads and with same or more traffic, things move a heck of a lot faster and in much more safer fashion. One more rant, trucks hopping each other in the middle of this traffic so they can draft is really too dangerous. They should be restricted to 100kmh/60mph just like europe. it will be safer for us all and they will also save fuel. And no open truck beds with stuff that flies out which become dangerous flying debris. My dad almost died last year when a piece of metal flew out from a truck in front and hit his car on top of the grill. If it was only couple inches higher, it would had cracked his windshield and possilby killed him directly if not indirectly from an accident.

mdsbuc 08-10-2011 06:13 AM

All the above plus the friggin' 18 wheelers passing each other for a half mile per hour difference in speed. :mad:

BatteryPowered 08-10-2011 06:38 AM

Not much you can do about it. I've been barking up that tree for years. 100 mile ride on Autostrada took me roughly one hour (left lane all the way), in USA 100 mile ride on I-95 takes at least two.

I am pretty sure that 85% of US drivers don't even know that left lane is for faster moving traffic. Right lane passing is also annoying, I see the car flying in the back, I try to move right only to see him passing me on the right already, zero civility.

3ismagic# 08-10-2011 06:38 AM

Having driven all over the US and recently completed my ED, all I can say is that most American drivers are effing retarded.

My personal pet peeve are the a-holes who know there is an imminent lane merge coming and yet wait until the last possible second to merge and then try to force themselves into line. This causes more disruption to the flow of traffic and slows everyone down as everyone has to jam on the breaks. All so they can get some small smidgen of perceived advantage. Plus where I live (PHX) it seems like every one drives and enormous dooshy pick-up truck with massively oversized wheels that make 1980s caddies feel small on the road.

mgthompson 08-10-2011 06:46 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mdsbuc (Post 6245970)
All the above plus the friggin' 18 wheelers passing each other for a half mile per hour difference in speed. :mad:

You see this in Germany on the two lane Autobahns, especially up large hills. It is called an elephant race.

AggieKnight 08-10-2011 07:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3ismagic# (Post 6246014)
My personal pet peeve are the a-holes who know there is an imminent lane merge coming and yet wait until the last possible second to merge and then try to force themselves into line. This causes more disruption to the flow of traffic and slows everyone down as everyone has to jam on the breaks. All so they can get some small smidgen of perceived advantage.

This is my biggest pet peeve. I go out of my way to cut these drivers off, which drives my wife batty.

I was actually pretty impressed driving back from Dallas last week, when I20 went down to 1 lane in Mississippi and everyone merged politely hundreds of yards before the lane ended. Everyone that is, except for one a-hole that tried to slip by, only to have a country boy in a jacked up pickup cut him off (maybe 10 cars behind me). It was amazing; traffic didn't stop, or jut a bunch, just slowed down a little and everyone moved on. First time I've ever seen a merge go well in the US.

pharding 08-10-2011 08:28 AM

American drivers are awful whether on the interstate or on city streets. In Chicago it is becoming routine to see morons pulling out from a parking lot who desire to cross a busy arterial road and turn left. The moron will pull out into traffic blocking one lane, then they inch out further and block another lane. After blocking traffic in two lanes going in the opposite direction to their desired direction they wait for an opening in traffic. Once they find the opening they then complete their left turn after blocking two lanes of traffic. Rational drivers when pulling out of parking lot onto a busy arterial road just turn right and go around the block to go in their desired direction.

PaceBMW of Mamaroneck 08-10-2011 08:34 AM

im not sure if its that most drivers dont know or just dont care. commuting i routinely have to pass people on the right cause the left 2 lanes are in use by a honda and an altima both going exactly 65 right next to eachother. the worst is when you have 3 lanes of traffic, and 3 cars all next to eachother at matching speeds. so frustrating :mad:

L1Trauma 08-10-2011 08:42 AM

I blame it all on Suburbans, Tahoes and Yukon XLs driven by short people with no passengers. They are my road enemies.

SD Z4MR 08-10-2011 08:49 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mdsbuc (Post 6245970)
All the above plus the friggin' 18 wheelers passing each other for a half mile per hour difference in speed. :mad:

I saw this in Europe too. I also experienced people that wouldn't pull over on a two lane stretch of Autobahn because they had just passed a truck and there was another truck 500 meters past that and another truck 500 meters past that. They were driving maybe 100 km/h. They could easily have pulled over, let me pass, and then pulled out to pass each successive truck without slowing down. German drivers are definitely better than US drivers but there are bonehead drivers everywhere.

3ismagic# 08-10-2011 09:12 AM

One thing I did notice about Euro drivers that I found annoying was that they were IMHO overly aggressive passers on two lane roads. The margins they allowed themselves to complete a pass on a narrow mountain road with nothing but a few warning sticks between them and an life-ending trip over a 1000 drop-off or a head-on collision with another vehicle was a little unsettling at times.

I did my share of passing on these roads and the 335d instilled nothing but confidence in doing so, but I also wasn't in a hurry to be a statistic.

adrian's bmw 08-10-2011 09:35 AM

If there is ONE thing I wished we used here in the states that they use in Europe that I loved most: Roundabouts. Absolutely, the most efficient traffic flow creation alternative to stop lights. Yes, you gotta have your wits about you on the big ones, but that so beats waiting and wastefully idling your life away at a red light.

Thanks for creating the thread. Love all the comments. :thumbup:

Me530 08-10-2011 10:04 AM

We have a new roundabout where I live. Its not pretty. Imagine this- a giant monster truck SUV flying into and around the roundabout, and this SUV is filled with screaming kids and a soccer mom who is driving whilst talking on her cell phone and checking text messages, and hence oblivious to other cars, yield signs, and the concept of the turn signal.....multiply the number of these or similar vehicles by 1 thousand, and its a wonder anybody ever makes it through successfully!

tonmonde 08-10-2011 10:44 AM

oh and the carpool drivers going slower than the regular lane drivers...
they make a caravan of cars trapped a mile long in the carpool lane behind, when the regular lane cars are going 70-80.
they feel they are in the right because they are within the speed limit 65... but come on, ever heard of flow of traffic? oh and they never exit on the carpool for the mile long caravan behind them, and it causes a mad drag race whenever an carpool exit comes around.

thumper_330 08-10-2011 11:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Me530 (Post 6246492)
We have a new roundabout where I live. Its not pretty. Imagine this- a giant monster truck SUV flying into and around the roundabout, and this SUV is filled with screaming kids and a soccer mom who is driving whilst talking on her cell phone and checking text messages, and hence oblivious to other cars, yield signs, and the concept of the turn signal.....multiply the number of these or similar vehicles by 1 thousand, and its a wonder anybody ever makes it through successfully!

You forgot to add that she then stops on the roundabout to let out someone from one of the side roads who then sits there looking at her like she's mad because they actually understand how a roundabout works.

I facepalm every time I see that at a roundabout close to the office.

Tanning machine 08-10-2011 11:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3ismagic# (Post 6246363)
One thing I did notice about Euro drivers that I found annoying was that they were IMHO overly aggressive passers on two lane roads. The margins they allowed themselves to complete a pass on a narrow mountain road with nothing but a few warning sticks between them and an life-ending trip over a 1000 drop-off or a head-on collision with another vehicle was a little unsettling at times.

I did my share of passing on these roads and the 335d instilled nothing but confidence in doing so, but I also wasn't in a hurry to be a statistic.

When I've seen that I generally assume it's a local who is more familiar with the road and exactly where they have to jump on the brakes.

FrankAZ 08-10-2011 11:30 AM

I have to struggle most days to 'let go' and accept things I cannot change. Deep breaths, etc. All the same my blood pressure suffers when I see combination turn and lane-change maneuvers.

Here in metro Phoenix most of the navigable land is covered by a 1 mile grid of 6-lane (3 each direction) major roads with traffic lights at each junction between those E-W and N-S grid roads. In any rational world someone turning right from the right-most lane would turn into the right-most lane of the road they are turning into. Similarly, anyone turning left would normally enter the junction and exit in the left-most lane of the road they are turning into. Such a common sense activity would allow drivers to turn right into a road while the opposing traffic is turning left into the same road and double the throughput of the junction.

Instead, many folks careen through the junction with one hand on the steering wheel and the other clutching a cellphone, a drink, a doughnut, makeup, or all juggling all four. Not having a fully rotating wrist joint they cannot turn the wheel sufficiently to make the turn and they combine a simple left or right turn with a wild drift across all lanes of their route and anyone creeping through making a controlled turn is in danger of getting side-swiped.


And while I am foaming at the mouth:....

We don't get much rain in these parts so curbs don't get the same natural washing that curbs elsewhere get. That will skew my following observation. I am shocked - SHOCKED - by the state of the curbs here. There isn't more than a 5yd stretch in all the Phoenix area which isn't scuffed with a black tire mark where some idiot has collided with the curb and been bounced back into traffic, usually with a huge over correction and lane swerve. This is even at the mid-point of a 1 mile arrow-straight road. How can anyone be so bad a driver that they collide with a curb at speed on a perfectly straight road??? Perhaps an accident every decade or so, but collectively the Phoenix drivers maintain a pretty uniform black color on all the curbs on all the roads all the time.

Frank.

trz 08-10-2011 11:31 AM

The OP obviously didn't drive in Italy. Left lane loiterers are common and the driver directly behind the loiterer straddles two lanes 'cause he's not sure which lane will free up and doesn't want to lose his position.

Or how about these two incidents I saw on a one-way, one lane street in Marseille (French drivers can be bad, too):
1. Driver sees someone he knows on the sidewalk so he stops in the middle of the road to have a chat. I hear an ambulance's siren approaching, as the ambulance enters the built-up area the siren is turned off, but the blue lights are flashing and comes up directly behind the car parked in the middle of the road. The friend on the sidewalk looks at the blue lights, then goes back to his conversation with the driver. Ambulance's horn honks, the friend looks at the ambulance again, goes back to his conversation. The ambulance honks a second time (longer this time), the driver finally finishes his conversation and moves out of the way.

2. Same area - one way, one lane roads. A car is parked in the middle of the crosswalk after having made a right turn. Driver is not in sight. Driver behind the parked car wants to also turn right and is waiting until the parked car is moved, in the meantime traffic is backing up for blocks.

Driving in Germany is great. Driving in Italy requires you to drive like an Italian. Which brings up a question - when Italians drive in Germany, do they drive like Germans or Italians?

rhird 08-10-2011 12:18 PM

Can I get an Amen. I made several observations regarding German versus American driving after our recent trip. The behavior of German drivers seemed logical and predictable, just the opposite of U.S. drivers. After spending many hours contemplating the subject I think traffic laws are likey huge contributors to such behaviors. For example it seemed like the speed limits in Germany changed WAY more frequently than in the U.S. I rarely felt the urge to exceed the speed limit in Germany because it was appropriate for the situation. As many of you know there are areas were the speed limit is electronic and changes with the current conditions. OMG that really makes sense if saftey and efficiency is your goal. Compare to the U.S where a 60 mile stretch of I85 between Charlotte and Spartanburg the speed limit only changes 3 or 4 times irrespective of the conditions. The result is drivers feel an urge to speed and most speeders prefer to "hide" from the police in the right lane. Try this experiment. On a 3 lane highway with light traffic sit in the middle lane at 5 mph over the speed limit. My observation is that 75 % of cars that pass will do so to the right even if the left lane is wide open. Thus there is no way to predict with any reliability what other drivers will do. Of course this will never change in our country because enforcing traffic laws no matter how foolish generates alot of income for alot of different people. Such is life in the U.S.A.

alex md 08-10-2011 01:00 PM

american drivers and quality of our roads that why i love to go and drive in Europe
I try to do every summer for last 20 years, and returning every time it takes a few days to go back to our "insane" driving mode.

BMW Power 08-10-2011 01:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pharding (Post 6246240)
In Chicago it is becoming routine to see morons pulling out from a parking lot who desire to cross a busy arterial road and turn left. The moron will pull out into traffic blocking one lane, then they inch out further and block another lane. After blocking traffic in two lanes going in the opposite direction to their desired direction they wait for an opening in traffic. Once they find the opening they then complete their left turn after blocking two lanes of traffic.

+1
Lots of good posts, but this one gets me really mad! Don't make your problem my problem! I also hate the people who are in a left turn lane, then sneak into the straight lane at the last minute.

TheBry 08-10-2011 01:37 PM

Kudos for starting this thread!! I'm off on my ED adventure next month and have been sooo looking forward to sharing the road with drivers that actually 'get' what it means to share the road.

Quote:

Originally Posted by PaceBMW of Mamaroneck (Post 6246257)
im not sure if its that most drivers dont know or just dont care. commuting i routinely have to pass people on the right cause the left 2 lanes are in use by a honda and an altima both going exactly 65 right next to eachother. the worst is when you have 3 lanes of traffic, and 3 cars all next to eachother at matching speeds. so frustrating :mad:

You nailed it... Accords, Camrys, Altimas, Civics, Corollas and... worst of all -- the F*$#ing PRIUS! Of course, statistically, the reason why these are the most frequent offenders is because they're some of the most widely sold cars in the country. So the odds of one clogging up a lane in front of you are exponentially greater. Additionally, people who buy these cars are buying an "appliance" not a "driver's car". They're no more thrilled about driving than they are about making toast.

Quote:

Originally Posted by L1Trauma (Post 6246272)
I blame it all on Suburbans, Tahoes and Yukon XLs driven by short people with no passengers. They are my road enemies.

LOL! Must just be your state. Here it's the offenders I listed above (predominately the PRIUS in my neck of the woods -- hypermiling in the fast lane. WTF? :dunno:)

Quote:

Originally Posted by tonmonde (Post 6246603)
oh and the carpool drivers going slower than the regular lane drivers...
they make a caravan of cars trapped a mile long in the carpool lane behind, when the regular lane cars are going 70-80.
they feel they are in the right because they are within the speed limit 65... but come on, ever heard of flow of traffic? oh and they never exit on the carpool for the mile long caravan behind them, and it causes a mad drag race whenever an carpool exit comes around.

EXACTLY! I think this moves to the top of my list of pet peeves. And it's usually a Prius with one driver and no passengers -- they get the special HOV exception so they can drive in the carpool lane. Grrrrr!

dunderhi 08-10-2011 01:57 PM

During first my ED, I thought the Germans were crazy drivers. It seemed any road outside city limits was the Autobahn. They were going down two lane roads at 100-120+mph (so as not to offend, I followed the local customs). Well it turned out they were following some unwritten weekend rule. On Monday everyone slowed down to reasonable speeds. As a side note, I never did see a cop on those rural roads.

dunderhi 08-10-2011 02:03 PM

Duplicate post.

petejp 08-10-2011 03:41 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 3ismagic# (Post 6246363)
One thing I did notice about Euro drivers that I found annoying was that they were IMHO overly aggressive passers on two lane roads. The margins they allowed themselves to complete a pass on a narrow mountain road with nothing but a few warning sticks between them and an life-ending trip over a 1000 drop-off or a head-on collision with another vehicle was a little unsettling at times.

I did my share of passing on these roads and the 335d instilled nothing but confidence in doing so, but I also wasn't in a hurry to be a statistic.

I did see this too, and more so in Italy with some very tight squeezes. These people had balls to do some of the passes I saw and wouldn't have attempted.

I also noticed Italians had more of a tendency to ignore people at crosswalks. In Germany and so forth they stop for anyone, but in Italy they kept driving unless they were already in the street.


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