Mike Waters's blog: 20 October 2011 - Maybe the UK isn't that bad
20 October 2011
Mike Waters is head of market analysis at Arval
For the UK driver there are a number of ongoing issues that drive us mad: high fuel prices, congestion, speed cameras and parking fines are just a few examples. But it's important to put some context around these things and recognise that in other countries drivers have to put up with just as much, in many cases more! Here are some of the most aggravating, and frankly strangest, rules that people come up against.
In Finland speeding fines are calculated according to your annual income rather than the offence. A few years ago, a man earning over £7 million per annum got a speeding ticket of £130,000. In the same country a court has ruled that taxi drivers are not allowed to play music on the radio while carrying a fare without paying royalties. While in Switzerland, washing your car on Sunday is severely frowned upon.
Although Europe is tame in comparison to more far flung parts of the world where it gets weirder, and stricter! In South Africa, herders with livestock have the right of way when crossing a road. So if a herder wants to cross with his pigs, mules, goats, or ostrich, drivers have to yield - this can mean a long wait but the fine for violating this law can be significant.
Animals aside, Asia has an inconsistent approach to pedestrians. In Beijing pedestrians have no rights whatsoever when it comes to crossing the street. On the other hand, in Singapore, it's illegal to come within 50 meters of a pedestrian crossing the road.
In Thailand it's illegal to drive a car or a motorcycle shirtless while it is illegal to park on the side of the road almost everywhere in Japan. If you're thinking UK roads layouts can be confusing, any of Bangkok's one-way roads change their direction at certain hours of the day.
In the Philipines, vehicles with licence plates ending with the numbers 1 or 2 are forbidden from operating on city roads on Mondays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m and South Korean drivers cannot turn left except at certain intersections where indicated.
Iran has very strict road laws and cars can be confiscated from offending drivers. Of the thousands of cars that have been confiscated by police, crimes include playing loud music, carrying improperly covered female drivers and carrying pets.
Some pretty extreme examples I'm sure you would agree, but it does show that it's not just the UK driver that has to contend with difficulties on the roads. And I hope it makes you feel bit more positive because there's always someone worse off than you.
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