Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Common Courtesy? Not in Kosovo!

This morning as I drove to work I was reminded of how driving in Kosovo is something special.  Courtesy while driving is not something to be expected in Kosovo in fact it's a downright miracle (divine intervention, heavenly music, and angels playing harps!) if it does occur.  As I came out of a circle this morning and attempted to merge into traffic as my lane ended I found myself being forced into oncoming traffic by the anti-merging drivers in the other lane.  But employing one of the rules of the Kosovo Driver's Handbook I managed to merge.  When I looked in my rearview mirror I was happy to see that I forcefully merged myself into traffic as the truck that was attempting to run me off the road was half a football field behind me due to being overloaded and unable to travel at normal speed...yet for some reason he really wanted me to be stuck behind him and didn't want to allow me to merge in front of him :P
Additionally, there is no such thing as a courtesy wave when you allow someone to turn in front of you or yield when you have the right of way...the drivers here act like they own the road and of course you are going to stop for them so why should they thank you?  Oh, and if they are going down the street the wrong way, you should still pull over for them because hey, they own the road (God forbid that KPS do anything about traffic going the wrong way down the one-way street...they're too busy chatting and drinking coffee! Don't believe me???  Go spend two minutes on a street in Dragodan in the morning and see how many vehicles go the wrong way, including police vehicles.  Respect of law?  Ha, who is going to respect the traffic laws if even the police refuse to obey them???)

Also naturally if someone wants to talk to a friend on the side of the road, they have no qualms about stopping in the middle of traffic completely blocking access for all other drivers and chatting for several minutes.  A friend had a good story from a week or so ago when he was driving home from work and traffic started backing up and everyone was changing lanes.  When he got to the blockage, he pulled over in front of the female (of course!) driver who was stopped on a crosswalk and was chatting with a male friend.  When he showed his police ID and told her to move, he didn't get an embarrassed apologies but instead was basically told that telling them that they couldn't stop in the middle of the street was a violation of their human rights (Um, yeah, I'll have to try that line the next time I get pulled over.  "Oh no officer, you can't give me a ticket for speeding.  That's against my human rights!")

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