Thursday, May 10, 2007

Driving in Spain - incidents on the N340

We've just come back from a trip on the N340 between Málaga and points south. The well-known coast road that for the most part runs by the sea, through the amazing, totally overbuilt Costa del Sol from Torremolinos down to Estepona, and further.

In fact with the amount of buildings that are going up at La Duquesa (south of Estepona), the non-stop urban monstrosities will soon reach San Roque.

The road is part dual carriageway, part motorway, and if you choose, part cruising through the towns, but we have stopped doing that because it really is too, too slow. Although prettier.

The Spanish drive fast. Most people on motorways drive fast. The national traffic department regularly publishes statistics about how many people die over the weekend.

For the 1 May Bank Holiday weekend 2007 (celebrated here on the first and not the first Monday as in the UK), there were only 45 deaths. And this was good news, because 13 people less died this year than last year.

In a couple of trips we have experienced:

1) A strange guy driving very slowly (30mph - or perhaps it was 30kph) on the dual carriageway, held everyone up until we could all pass him.

When we passed him he seemed more interested in his nose than driving. Not sure whether he was picking it or what. With the bit of silver foil in his hand.

Later on he woke up. And overtook everyone again. Half an hour later on the three-lane motorway coming into Málaga he was in the outside lane doing 30 something an hour again. With everyone amazingly slowing down and managing to avoid him. Again.

2) Going through Málaga in the other direction, a car stopped dead in the middle lane. Two guys getting out leisurely to retrieve their obligatory yellow jackets from the boot before they started messing around with the car. The ones they should have been wearing before they even stepped out onto the motorway.

We just couldn't work out why they had stopped. Not an ideal spot though. Downhill. Traffic speeding up or flying off on one of the city exits. Still, another accident narrowly avoided.

3) The rude, ignorant, and aggressive driver of a Q8 tanker somewhere between Málaga and Rincon de la Victoria. The stretch of road where the speed limit is 100kph and we were doing around 85 and it wasn't fast enough for him so he started tailgaiting and hooting his horn.

Yes we were in the inside lane. Yes he could have overtaken but chose to be abusive and intimidating for a while first. Then he overtook, hooted his horn, and cut in front of us. It was fairly obvious he was going to do that so we were expecting it.

We are not the only vehicle on a motorway that doesn't do the maximum speed. We were not doing 30kph and picking our noses. We do not have a new vehicle or a company vehicle that will be replaced when it has died after abuse on the motorway.

A maximum speed limit of 100 kph is exactly that. It does not mean a minimum speed limit of 100kph that we should all be doing, and that everyone else who really wants can do at least 120kph.

We are looking forward to the day when Spanish trucks have nice signs on saying "Do I drive well, if not - report me...." Ojala.

More on the N340 and Spanish driving later....

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