Israeli road-rage rant

[Sorry about this Israel-specific post being in English – its just so annoys me and I want the rest of the world to know about this.]

Israel has on general very good road – compared to many modern countries (in Europe and North America): national roads are all at least dual carriageways with many of them triple carriageway or even more; roads are mostly lighted at night except maybe single carriageway roads in rural areas; even road maintenance which was historically horrible in Israel is pretty good now days.

That being said, the state of driving in Israel is horrendous – people simple have no road courtesy whatsoever! The most common annoyance I have with traffic in Israel is that on a triple carriageway, where you have three lanes to choose from, the slowest one (which often has average speeds way under the low Israeli speed limit) is the middle one! If you’re just driving along at about the speed limit (maybe a few km/h over it, I can’t pretend I’m a saint), then you normally would be driving on the rightmost lane, passing people on your left. Very very annoying, not to say dangerous near interchanges. More ludicrous is that if you are in a real hurry and want to drive at speed that will normally get you a speeding tickets, you also mostly drive on the right most lane – as the left lane is occupied by people who think they are the fastest on the road but in actuality only drive around 100 km/h.

And all that before we discuss drivers switching lanes without signaling, driving on the center between two lanes, breaking abruptly for no obvious reasons, and the most annoying behavior – being the first car at a stop light the driver stops about 2 car-lengths away from the stop line. I have no idea why they do that, except for increasing the likelihood of a traffic jam this serves no purpose I can understand.

I hate Israeli drivers.

11 Responses to “Israeli road-rage rant”

  1. Amir:

    Well, I agree with most of it. The part where people stop before the stop line may have to do with entering the junction at top speed (50km/h) as soon as the light turns green (begin acceleration as soon as it is yellow), but is most often not the case.

    As for the abrupt breaking, I often noticed that there was a police somewhere up ahead. Definitely not an excuse, but may explain some of the cases, in case you were wondering.

  2. Eran:

    I tried to educate some. Maybe you should volunteer? You know, not too much, once or twice a week maybe? 🙂

  3. Oded:

    Amir: breaking because there’s a police patrol on the road is the worst thing ever and possibly a high cause of accidents. Its always a funny spectacle seeing a police car doing 100 kph on the highway, in front of it the road is empty and behind it – trailing by about half a kilometer – a column of cars whose drivers are too afraid to get close.

    Eran, I though it was about educating people not to drive over the speed limit, wear seat-belts, etc’. Not actual road courtesy.

  4. Arik:

    Nothing like a dose of self-hate

  5. ik_5:

    Oded, actually most roads are not that good in Israel. I’ve seen better roads in spain for example.
    You have a lot of problems like placing the signs of places very close to the place you need to turn. You have roads that parts of them have street lights and some does not (the Shore road for example, can you agree with me that it’s a highly used road ?).
    And I can continue regarding problems in the road…

    Having said that, I do agree with you about the lack of proper behavior by the average driver that thinks that they are at least Michael Shoomacher, when they actually driver so bad, that a 5 years old kid on a bike drive better then they do.

    But on Portugal for example, they are very nice people, but on the road they drive even worse then in here. On the city each of them stop like 10cm from the next car, and if a motorcycle will want to pass on a bigger space, they will not let him and driver to be 5cm from the next car.
    They press on the gass when people cross the road if the car have a green light, and many other illness…

    I also dislike people that drive in the middle and make me go to the most left lane for passing them. and I dislike when people think that I drive slow, so they come closer to my car to make me drive faster (I usually drive according to the signs on the road, even if most people ignore them, it’s because I do not want a ticket, rather then anything else).
    I can continue on and on, but on the bottom line, it’s all about education (as Eran said), do you want to educate people ? if so then please do so, otherwise all you have is to complain.

  6. Oded:

    Arik – yes, that’s about right. I’m pretty sure some people wave their fists at me when I drive past 😉

    Regarding education – I don’t have any bright ideas about this, but I’d welcome any who might suggest something.

    I have not been to the Iberian peninsula yet, but I’ve driven in a lot of places – including the British isles (freeways are mostly great, country roads much less so), central Europe (they can put some work into freeways as well) and the US (who the fsck thought of the brilliant idea of building concrete motorways?), and they could definitely use a page out of the Israeli roads company’s book (granted, its hard to maintain roads in Ohio’s weather, but still).

    And the drivers – even when they drive like mad man (see under “Italian Drivers”), they have much better road manners then Israelis, please don’t confuse manners with “pleasant driving”.

  7. Eran:

    I still think Israeli roads and drivers can improve. The program I was a part of it, “Or Yarok for Life” is all about making the escorted driving period more pleasant and effective. But I used it for much more than that.
    First of all, if you facilitate communication between the driver and their parents, experience on the road can seep through better. But secondly, I also explained and got the people talking about not necessarily how to drive better but how to learn from driving and improve yourself. My main points were always to pay attention and think. If you see something you don’t like on the road, it’s probable that other drivers don’t like it too so don’t do it. If you see someone driving badly, drive better and lead by example.
    If you volunteer for the program, you get a training session and specific material but you also get to talk to the drivers in person as they start driving, and that’s some power right there.

  8. Oded:

    Do you actually get to escort young drivers or its just meetings?

  9. Eran:

    Just the meetings. The point is to enable the better use of the escorted time. The parents still do it themselves.
    Besides, I don’t think someone will ask you to go around with the kid for three months. That’s way above and beyond the call of any duty.

  10. Oded:

    Yes, but I wouldn’t mind doing it from time to time. I think it will be more effective to actually do the chaperoning then just talk about it. Although there is the question of quality assurance.

  11. Eran:

    The company keeps track but you have all the notes so you can call back and see how they’re doing.

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