A Conversation for International Driving Etiquette

Driving in Greece

Post 1


Driving in Greece can be fun, but only if you do not drive in town.
Outside of town most drivers are very courteous. Drivers will drive to the extreme right half on to the shoulder in order to let a faster vehicle pass. While passing someone always use turn indicators to let on comeing traffic know you are currently takeing half of thier lane, or that you are leaveing thier lane . Please do not ride the center line as you will cause an accident. When passing or allowing someone to pass always watch for Mopeds, as they are everywhere.
If you are in a city. WALK.. or take public transportion.

Driving in Greece

Post 2

This Researcher is dead!

Curiously the overtaking rule is very general on the Greek island of Crete, where almost all roads are dual-lane, single-carriageway, with hard shoulders on each side.

A summary of the "overtaking" rules:

1. Tailgate the car ahead whilst indicating to overtake. (Note the lack of reference to road conditions: the *only* rule is that this should not be done in town.)
2. The car ahead will eventually observe your desire to overtake. Making it obvious by the fact that you are 0.1nm from their rear bumper and indicating to overtake does not hurt, and the experienced often do this.
3. The driver infront will then move half onto the hard shoulder, half on to the road. This will allow you to overtake by straddling the central reservation.
4. Once the manoeuver is completed, pull back sharply, as you are now "out of bounds" for the grace period of the manoeuver, and "fair game" for oncoming lorries.

An important corrollary to this rule is that oncoming traffic, observing your presence on 50% of "their side" of the road will also pull onto the hard shoulder. Whether this is through self-preservation or politeness is undertermined, as yet, but the author notes that oncoming lorries and buses observe this rule also, so it is likely to be politeness, but see later for more information.

Note how this rule works on crowded roads with oncoming traffic: Simply ride on the bumper of the vehicle in front, indicate, once they pull over, veer over into the oncoming traffic. Watch the "tide part" to let you through (intermediate to experienced drivers do not close their eyes at this point, learners are *strongly* encouraged to keep them open). Experienced drivers (e.g. Cretans & maniacs) use this manoeuver on any occasion especially including blind corners: Thus it is vitally important to take a blind corner on the hard shoulder in Crete, as no policeman there would believe that you were driving in anything but a careless manner should an accident ensue. (Remember all Cretans are related, so you might have killed a close relative.)

An observation:

Thus once one is experienced in these procedures, and "has gone native" one can feel a comfortable sense of superiority over the newer tourists who don't yet know the ropes by adding a delicate, yet continuous, sounding of the horn whilst attempting to overtake them. This facilitates their learning process.

Vital Recovery:

Clearly for any non-Cretan, this mode of overtaking is likely to be unusal, and probably stressful, particularly if on holiday, with children who are primarily concerned with asking "are we there yet" and "I need to go to the toilet" and a wife who is genetically incapable of a) reading a map and b) giving comprehensible directions from it. (Note that it is not specified that this is a relevant map, nor directions to the desired destination, for some definition of "desired".) Thus the intermediate level tourist may often seen at a drinking establishment taking (purely for medicinal purposes) 3-4 shot glasses of the local spirit called "Raki", the author has determined that this is likely to be a vital part of the learning process.

An Aside:

From this it might appear to be "a good idea" to let the female drive, and the male navigate, thus avoiding:

a) The need to keep one's eyes open (as you aren't driving).
b) The directions will be accurate and eventually get to the desired destination.
c) Clearly the consumption of Raki for the navigator is optional.

Unfortuantely Crete is in general a male-influenced society. Thus these rules do not apply to female drivers. Female drivers should proceed with extreme caution. The purchase and wearing of fake beards is not advised: Whilst it is not illegal to be female and in posession of a fake beard on Crete, the legallity of wearing such an item, whilst driving, and being female, is undertermined.


Extensive study has indicated that this driving behaviour is likely to have arisen through a Darwinian evolutionary process. It is easy to imagine that if the oncoming traffic did not pull aside, then those genes would be removed from the pool quite efficiently. (There is clearly no shortage of Cretans who wish to overtake on any occasion.) Thus the behaviour is reinforced by the survival of those for whom their survival instincts are to avoid oncoming traffic. This explains why even lorries and buses move out of the way of an oncoming car: The drivers are descended from people who are likely to have driven cars, thus avoided oncoming traffic, as they survived, and thus were able to procreate. It is possible that the ancient history of Crete, viz. the maze in which the Minotaur lived, were the first recorded incidents of "taking a wrong turn", thus helping the Cretan driver to evolve this quite unique overtaking experience.

An observation:

Mopeds: Clearly the rules are different for this mode of vehicular transporation, and is a case of ongoing research. It is adised that the use of mopeds on Crete is reserved for Cretans or those who are highly experienced.

Driving in Greece

Post 3


I was interested to hear comments about driving in Greece, possibly from a tourist's point of view. I have lived in Greece for many years and so have become used to the difference in driving here.However, since I know nothing about driving in Crete, I would like to make my observations about driving in a big city.First of all you must know ,that the orange light means put your foot down and go faster before the light turns red! Secondly, don't expect any riders of motor bikes or mopeds to pay any attention to traffic lights. They are a law unto themselves!Also you must expect that Greek pedestrians expect to cross the road, absolutely ANYWHERE that they feel like it.So it's quite normal to see pedestrians wandering around in the middle of any busy road, in the attempt to get to the other side.Generally speaking, the first indication that you receive that the driver in front is planning to change direction, is a split second before he/she actually does it (after a cursory flick of the indicator light of course. I must say, however , that over the twenty years that I've lived here, the drivers are gradually becoming more courteous in allowing another vehicle to go first.
On a slightly different note, one of the really serious problems here is the lack of parking space and the fact that it not yet part of the Greek mentality to pay to park.A lot of frustration is caused because cars are double parked everywhere, and there's never a sign of a traffic warden to stick on a penalty ticket. They could make a fortune out of it! As you said, it's probably best to go by bus or taxi in the city!( And the use of taxis is another story, in its own right!)

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more