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Who are the worst drivers in Europe?

Who are the most aggressive drivers in Europe? What about the most likely to speed or beep their horns? A new survey claims to have the answers.

Who are the worst drivers in Europe?
Who's the rudest, and who's the most likely to drive too fast? Photo: AFP

Main points: 

  • French and Greeks are the rudest
  • Swedes most likely to drive too fast
  • Swedes also most likely to drive too close to another car
  • Dutch the most likely to undertake
  • Spanish most likely to use their horn

Drivers in most of Europe say they have adopted safer and more courteous behaviour behind the wheel, with the notable exception of the French and Greeks who share the top spot for hurling insults at other road users, polling data suggested on Wednesday.

In a poll of self-reported behaviour, drivers in most European countries said they were less likely to resort to insults than a year ago, to lean on the car horn, to overtake on the right, or to drive too closely to the car in front of them.

However, the poll found the Greeks were most likely (47 percent) to drive on the tail of the car in front of them and, with the French, to insult other drivers (70 percent).

READ ALSO: 'No consideration for anybody except themselves': The damning verdict on Danish driving

The Spanish, at 66 percent, were quickest to jump on their car horn, according to the research conducted in 11 countries by the Ipsos polling agency for roads operator Vinci Autoroutes.

The Greeks, the study found, topped the list for dangerous road behaviour while the British came last.

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Overall, 88 percent of European drivers admitted to exceeding the speed limit on occasion – one percent down from 2019, and 61 percent – a drop of three percent – to not respecting the safety distance.

The Swedes were the most likely to drive too fast or too close to another car, or to take their eyes off the road, the poll found.

Dutch drivers were the most likely – almost half of them – to overtake on the right in lanes meant for slower traffic.

Not on target

On a positive note, the poll found that only two of the 14 indicators of dangerous driving behaviour were on the rise – speaking on the telephone and setting the GPS while driving.

A fifth of drivers – a rise of one percent from 2019 – said they had got out of their car to settle an argument with another road user. The Poles, at 37 percent, were most guilty of this.

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A fifth of French drivers, compared to 16 percent in Europe, said they were “not really the same person when driving”, and judged themselves to be more nervous, impulsive or aggressive than otherwise.

According to EU data, some 22,800 road traffic fatalities were recorded in the 27 European Union countries in 2019. This was about 7,000 fewer than in 2010, representing a decrease of 23 percent.

The number fell by two percent from 2018.

While the underlying trend remains downward, progress had slowed in most countries since 2013, and the EU target of halving the number of road deaths by 2020 from 2010 would not be met, the European Commission said in a report.

“2020 still may prove to be an outlier with early indications that the number of road fatalities is likely to drop significantly in view of the measures taken to tackle coronavirus but not by enough to meet the target,” it said.

Member comments

  1. This is another set of statistics that treats Greece as homogenous. My experience is different.

    On Santorini, almost everyone I talked to said that the most dangerous drivers were American tourists—especially male tourists from specific stated (guess which ones). I didn’t try to drive on Santorini.
    But I drove all over East Crete and I never felt insulted or endangered. The only place I had trouble was the center of Heraklion, after dark, and even my Cretan friends wouldn’t drive there, given a choice.

  2. I spent three months dry retching when I first started driving in southern Italy. This after 35 years extensive driving in the UK. The obsession to overtake, tailgate, inability to look left, no use of indicators. They are crazy, that is why the insurance is so expensive. However they do it all with a smile, a cheeky grin and a shrug of the shoulders. “You got eyes and brakes – use them.” Driving in France is so polite.

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EXPLAINED: How to bring a foreign car to Norway  

If you've thought about bringing a car from another country to Norway, you've probably wondered what costs and paperwork would be involved. 

EXPLAINED: How to bring a foreign car to Norway  

Whether it’s a beloved classic that’s been the pride of your garage for years, a project that isn’t quite finished, or the family car for pottering around town, there are many reasons why you’d want to bring a vehicle to Norway. 

But what kind of paperwork is involved, and is it financially feasible? Let’s find out. 

Import taxes 

Before you begin the importing, you will need to contact the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (Statens Vegvesen) to see if your vehicle meets the technical requirements to be imported into Norway. 

You will also need to check with the authorities of the country you are bringing the car from to check whether there are any export restrictions or whether any clearance to move the vehicle to another country is required. 

The vehicle will need valid number plates and insurance to be driven to and in Norway. And finally, you can check whether you are due a valid added tax refund on the vehicle when it leaves the country. 

Once the car crosses the Norwegian border, you will need to go to a crossing that is manned and head to the red zone, where you can declare the vehicle. If the tax authorities in the country you are travelling from have not issued a transit declaration, you can get one at the crossing. The transit document allows goods to pass through certain areas. 

You can also pay the VAT, more on that later, that may be required at the customs office at the border, but you will need to let the customs office you will be passing through know in advance, according to the Norwegian Tax Administration.

If you don’t do it when you first pass through, you will need to arrange to go to a customs office within one to three days to pay VAT on the vehicle. You will need to go to the crossing listed on the transit declaration. In addition to VAT, you will need to pay greenhouse gas taxes. If you don’t do this within the deadline, the tax authorities will charge additional fees. 

READ ALSO: What happens if you are caught driving without a valid licence in Norway?

The transit declaration, invoice or purchase contract for the vehicle and original registration document will need to be presented to have the car cleared through customs. 

If you have not purchased the car recently, you can bring an updated valuation from the country the vehicle was bought in. You will also need an original foreign registration document. 

Once the car has been cleared with customs, you’ll receive the Notification of calculation duties and registration or, Melding til avgiftsberegning og registrering (Form NA-0221). This paperwork is only available in Norwegian, and you’ll need to present it to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. You will also need to keep it in the car while driving with foreign plates. 

You can use a tax calculator to figure out how much it will cost to import your car. Cars over 20 years old are exempt from import taxes. However, unlike cars over 30 years old, you will still need to pay regular taxes and insurance.  

You will be able to drive with foreign number plates for up to 30 days after the vehicle has been cleared with customs. After that, you will need to have valid plates, proper vehicle registration, and insurance. 

If you don’t have all of this, the vehicle can only be used with valid temporary number plates. These are referred to as day test plates or prøveskilt. You can read more about obtaining test plates here

Getting the car on the road

Paying the taxes is not the end of the process. You will need to get the car approved for Norwegian roads. Used vehicles need to be checked over by the Norwegian Public Roads Administration Driver and Vehicle Licensing Offices. When new cars are imported, the information from the COC will be used. 

Getting the car approved requires you to book an appointment with the roads and traffic authority. You can book appointments here.

Once approved, a one-off fee will need to be paid before registering the vehicle. The one-off tax is calculated on the vehicle’s tax group, weight, CO2 emissions and engine power.

After this, the car can be registered with the public road authority. To register the vehicle, you will need the foreign vehicle card, the registration card you received when the car was cleared with customs and your own credentials, such as a passport or driving licence. You will need to have insured the vehicle too

You will get a temporary registration certificate for the vehicle when all this is done, while the full registration certificate is sent in the post. The temporary one can’t be used to drive abroad. 

If you haven’t already, you will need to hand over your foreign number plates to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Office. Norwegian plates will not be issued until you do this. 

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