Index The Joy of Driving

A page dedicated to the worst drivers in the European Union (almost).

Here's a questionnaire to try to tell whether you are capable of driving in France. If ever I have the time (not too likely) then I might CGIify this.

  1. Which side of the road should you drive on in France?
    1. The left.
    2. The right.
    3. The right unless you are going round a corner, in which case you can cut the corner and drive on the left.
  2. What is the speed limit in towns in France?
    1. 299792458 metres per second.
    2. 50 kilimeters per hour.
    3. As fast as your car will go.
  3. You see a give way sign at a junction or roundabout. What do you do?
    1. Slow down and if it is clear, proceed.
    2. Carry on as if you hadn't seen the sign.
    3. Carry on as if you hadn't seen the sign, but if you see that the junction isn't clear, slam your foot down on the accelerator so that you enter the junction before the other car that has priority.
  4. You arrive at a red light. What do you do?
    1. Look to see if there is a police car, stop if there is, jump the lights if there isn't.
    2. Stop at the lights and wait for them to change green, then proceed.
    3. Stop at the lights and wait for them to change green, when they do, proceed only when it seems certain no-one is jumping the lights in the other direction.
    4. Stop at the lights to park.
  5. What is the legal limit of alcohol in the bloodstream in France?
    1. 800mg per litre of blood.
    2. Don't know, but 5 pints of beer is OK.
    3. Don't know, but if you are not so paralytically drunk that you can open the car door and start the engine, then it's OK.
  6. You are taking your driving test. After 30 seconds in which you narrowly miss slaughtering a dozen other road users, the examiner asks you to stop, tells you that you have failed, and asks you to get out of the car. What to you do?
    1. Say to yourself "better luck next time".
    2. Feel deeply aggrieved about the examiner's attitude. After all, you've been driving for all of a couple of months, and the examiner has 20 years of experience. You've seen lots of other people make the mistakes that you made, so they must be perfectly acceptable. So you gather together a gang of your mates and you beat up the examiner when he clocks off in the evening.
    3. Who needs a driving licence? Or insurance, or an MOT certificate.
  7. Your car has indicators. What are they for?
    1. Indicating that you are about to leave the motorway, then continuing to drive around with them on for the next 20km.
    2. Turning them on long enough that they flash once or twice before cutting up someone in the next lane. The fact that the lights flashed once means you are a saint and you have devine right of way.
    3. Indicating that you are about to manoeuvre to the left or right when it is safe to do so.
    4. Don't know, I've never used them
  8. You approach a pedestrian crossing, and there is someone crossing the road. What do you do?
    1. Park on the zebra crossing if cars are not already double parked on it.
    2. Give way to the pedestrian, then continue when the crossing is clear.
    3. Carry on as if the pedestrian were not there, under the assumption that they will panic and leap out of the way.
  9. You are approaching a motorway junction where you want to leave the motorway. How should you proceed?
    1. Get into the fast lane and accelerate fiercely so that you can overtake any vehicles in front of you, then cut accross all 3 lanes and exit the motorway.
    2. Indicate before the exit, then decelerate on the exit ramp.
    3. Exit without indicating, and continue driving at 130 kilometers per hour on the ordinary road.
  10. You arrive at a junction, and you want to turn left. There's a lane to turn left, another to go straight ahead or turn right. There is heavy traffic, so the lane to turn left has a long queue, but the lane to go straight ahead is clear. There is a steady stream of traffic going straight ahead on the other side of the road. What do you do?
    1. Join the queue of traffic in the turn left lane, and wait until you get to the junction, then turn right if it is clear.
    2. Continue straight ahead, and turn left at a later junction.
    3. Continue straight ahead passing the suckers waiting in the queue, then turn left without indicating, cutting through the oncoming traffic.
  11. You are in a traffic jam on an urban dual carriageway. There's a bus lane and a parallel "Access Only" cum cycle lane. What do you do?
    1. Drive down the bus lane.
    2. Drive down the access lane at high speed.
    3. Wait in the traffic jam.
  12. You see a sign for a level crossing. What do you do?
    1. Slow down so that you can stop if a train is coming.
    2. Carry on driving at 30 kilometers per hour over the speed limit - trains don't come very often anyway. If the lights are flashing, then you
      1. Weave around the barriers, if there are any.
      2. If you're driving an oil tanker, crash into the train and kill 20 people by burning them alive.
  13. Your car is equipped with a horn. What purpose does it serve?
    1. Drawing attention to young ladies in short skirts.
    2. Signalling to other road users that there is some danger.
    3. Celebrating French sporting victories and weddings.
    4. Notifying the driver in front that the lights changed one microsecond ago and that you are getting impatient.
  14. You've borrowed a mate's car to try out for a spin. You're driving down a country road and you come accross a large group of cyclists. What do you do?
    1. Beep your horn and gesticulate because you have to slow down before there is no oncoming traffic and you can overtake.
    2. Drive into the group 120kph, killing 4 and putting 17 more in hospital.
    3. Wait patiently until it is safe to overtake the group.
  15. You've run out of fags (cigarettes to non-Brits) or you fancy buying a newspaper or magazine. What to you do?
    1. Carry on driving home, then pop out to the newsagent around the corner.
    2. Park your car on a 3 lane dual carriageway in the city centre, and go to the newsagent on the street corner nearby.
    3. Find a car park, then walk to the nearest newsagent.
  16. You crash into another car on a 110kph dual carriageway with no hard shoulder (as a result of your great driving ability). It's not serious, but you need to exchange insurance details. What do you do?
    1. Do a runner because you aren't insured.
    2. Stop on the dual carriageway and exchange details, standing close to the passing traffic.
    3. Drive to the nearest exit and find somewhere to park before exchanging details.
  17. You are pulled over by the police. The policeman asks you for your car papers. What do you do?
    1. Drive off promptly. When the police catch you, attack them with a hammer causing grevious bodily harm, then drive off again until cornered by all the police cars in the town.
    2. You don't have your papers on you, but you show up at a police station within 24 hours.
    3. Show the policeman your papers, which you always have with you and which are in order.
  18. Everyone has a duty to keep their car roadworthy. Which of the following three is the most essential?
    1. The brakes.
    2. The hazard lights (useful in point 15B).
    3. The cigarette lighter.
  19. You are 100m from your driveway and there are two cars in front of you, what do you do? [Thanks to Ivan Turner for this contribution]
    1. Stay behind them and then turn into your drive.
    2. Accelerate past and cut in front of the lead car and have to stop, blocking the road, because your gate is shut.
  20. You've just been elected president, campaigning on "zero tolerance", (despite the fact that you were allegedly on the fiddle when you were mayor of your capital city). Since de Gaulle, it's been the tradition to pardon all minor motoring offences as a way of saying 'thankyou for electing me' (what an incredibly unintelligent thing to do!). This means that just when it comes to election time, large numbers of people let their base nature get the better of them, in the expectation of getting a pardon quite soon. As a consequence, there's a steep rise in the number of accidents and deaths. What do you do?
    1. Say that the law is the law, and breaking the law cannot be tolerated.
    2. Stick to your true nature and give all those law breakers a pardon.
  21. You're driving home through a housing estate, behind another car, and the road is too narrow to overtake. Parking spaces are in short supply. What do you do?
    1. Wait till you get home. If there is no space, drive around till you find one.
    2. Drive home, and if there are no spaces left, park in the street, getting in the way of the others.
    3. Overtake on the last roundabout by going around it the wrong way, thereby taking the 'first' exit that would be the third exit if you knew how to drive.

Just in case you think I'm exaggerating, all of the above 'quirks' of French drivers are either based on personal experience or the news. Most can be experienced on a daily basis.

And the bottom line is that there are around 8000 people killed on the road every year in France because the drivers simply can't drive. In the European League of crap drivers, that puts France firmly in thirteenth place. And there are only 15 places. Whilst the situation is improving in most other countries, the death toll in France has been more or less static for the last two years.

France is now (2008) probably better placed, partly due to enlargement of the EU, partly due to reducing the annual death toll to about 5000.

Here you can read a few more of my thoughts on cars and drivers.

Copyright © Paul John Floyd 2002, 2006, 2008

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