Do YOU Show Respect On The Road?

>> Tuesday, 17 August 2010

This is sponsored post...

It's funny. Not funny 'ha-ha', so much as funny 'well, who'd have thought it?' funny, but I think that driving in Moscow has actually made me a better driver. Well, when I say better, maybe that's not actually what I mean... (and Husband certainly wouldn't agree, but that's the subject of a whole other post).

Don't get me wrong: I'm no saint when I'm behind the wheel. I get as frustrated with the other numpties (because isn't it always the other driver a numpty, not you?) around me as the next person does. But one thing that I've learned whilst living in Moscow is that frustration, when in control of a car, is not just a wasted emotion, it's a dangerous one. I've written before about the high level of road casualties in Russia; - 30,000 fatalities last year - and after the first few weeks of tears and tantrums it dawned on me that whilst it's easy to be reduced to tears of impotent rage at other people's driving, or at the world's most inconvenient traffic jams, it doesn't help. In fact, it usually makes things worse.

Interestingly, this zen-like realisation also seems to have occurred to many of Moscow's drivers. Whilst it is often scary, and always 'interesting' to drive anywhere in the city, the one thing I have noticed is that with the exception of your standard number of psychopaths and bad apples, most people on the road are actually quite polite to each other. Perhaps it's because of those bad apples that this is the case; I mean, we're all in this mess together. Yes, there are always the idiots who take liberties, who sneak up on the inside, who park across the lights and stop traffic turning left or right, or who stick a blue light on top of their car and believe that because they've done that they have the license to do quite literally anything on the road and screw up everything for everyone else, but overall - touch wood - it's less of a jungle than it might be.

For example, people (almost) always indicate. They - gasp - let each other in from side roads in traffic jams, for example. And - hold onto your hats here - they acknowledge it if they're on the receiving end of that; a quick flash of the hazards to express their gratitude usually does the trick. I guess you could call it something of a blitz spirit in action.

However back in the UK, like Pavlov's dog, on familiar roads and driving on the side of them that I'm used to, I have to consciously work at not resorting automatically to old patterns of blood pressure-raising behaviour. And amazingly, it is working. I only have to think about the comparison between driving in England and what I'm going to be dealing with when I head back to Russia, and I am calmer. But when I saw the AXA 'I Respect The Road' campaign, it gave me pause for thought. Because I'm not so secure that I don't wonder: if my Boys were to be filmed mimicking my driving style as the children in this clip are their parents, what would I see?

This post is sponsored by AXA Car Insurance

And whilst we're on the subject of traffic, just be careful what you say in a black cab in future. You might find yourself on t'internet...

To find out more about this campaign, visit:

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Tattie Weasle 17 August 2010 at 19:51  

Oh Gawd I dread to think what my children would say! I get quite cross with other drivers esp when I have two fighting kids in the back seat!

Apple Island Wife 21 August 2010 at 00:01  

Nice post. I think having that precious cargo in the back of the car makes us better drivers. I know I take it easier now and let other people sail past me as we tootle along, altho i might tell them what I think of them as they overtake, leading to queries such as 'Mummy, what's a w**ker?' from the back seat....

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