Driving in Greece

This summer I have discovered that driving in Greece is different than what I thought. My previous experiences included holiday destinations: In the islands of Crete, Rhodes, and Corfu, the summer traffic largely consisted of rented cars of even foreign ones. Although not majoritarian, they contributed to setting up social norms of driving close to Western Europe. Thessaloniki and Northern Greece, along Ignatia Odos, were not much different than the pattern that we met in the islands.

This summer, it happened that we came again to Greece, for a wedding. Therefore, we took some time to do sightseeing. We landed in Thessalonikki and headed south towards Athens. It was like in a different country. The traffic made Romania look Western, and definitively much Northern than Greece. Drivers do not bother to follow speed limitation, to obey interdictions to overtake, or to wait until you finish your overtake on the highway. There were moments when, driving 20 kilometers faster than the speed limit, I apparently was the slowest car on the national road.

In Athens, if turning right in a crossroad, they horn even when you let pedestrians cross on their green light.

They tax incredibly heavy the usage of the erratic highways. From Thessalonikki to Athens we stopped at least 8 times to pay highway tolls to sum up to around 20 Euros. Out of the 550 kilometers, half were not on proper highways, even if they claimed to be on a highway. Ironically, you may easily predict when approaching a toll point: speed limitation becomes normal (130 km/h), and one may use two lanes for each direction. After no more than two kilometers, one should decrease speed, and stop to pay a new tax of 1-3 Euros.

When arriving to Athens, you end up in the most chaotic traffic that I ever experienced, except Istanbul, where, however, I have been only as pedestrian or passenger. In Athens, rules loosely apply, horning is part of the normal habit, parking your car in the middle of the street is frequent, while cars, pedestrians, and taverna’s tables share the same narrow streets.

1 comentarii:

Anonim spunea...

Indeed, driving in Greece is a quite different. I don't know if you seen any driver puting they legs outside of the window while driving. I have been amazed to see few drivers speeding their cars above the speed limits while smoking and cooling their left foot :)
Anyway, the most interesting experience with traffic might be Albania where even though the road signs are ignored by majority, the traffic is the most fluent that I ever seen. For a romanian, particularly from Bucharest, is weird to see the drivers comming from the priority road stopping at their initiative to allow the cars from the other roads to pass the crossroad.