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Bad drivers should move to Latvia
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Bad drivers should move to Latvia

3 min. 04.02.2017 From our online archive
Fear of death on the roads doesn’t seem to affect many drivers in the Duchy. Every day I read about a terrible car accident, yet every day I seem to be in front of a crazy driver, says expat mum Sarita Rao in her latest column.

Driving in minus degree temperatures the other day, I was shocked at how close the young woman behind me, in her jaunty little VW beetle, was prepared to get. I couldn’t read her licence plate or see her headlights, but I could see she was eating a sandwich.

Fear of death on the roads doesn’t seem to affect many drivers in the Duchy. Every day I read about a terrible car accident, yet every day I seem to be in front of a crazy driver.

What the papers say

In the last few months a car collided with a bus, another landed between a stream and a lake, and tree branches provided brakes for an out-of-control car. The photograph from that story looked like something from a Tracey Emmin art exhibition entitled “unmade car bed”.

Some of these news stories would be laughable if the consequences weren’t so serious.

Man flips car into stream then goes to work to report the crash to police (how conscientious of him). Car accident causes electricity blackout in Ettelbruck. Man leaves car upside down in a field and claims it’s in his garage to police. Mini mounts motorway barrier. Two men veer into a pond after the driver confuses the accelerator and brake pedals (That’s an easy thing to do. I regularly confuse the handbrake for one of my children).

Bad luck Ettelbruck

Back in Ettelbruck again, a woman reports an accident to the police then admits she actually drove into the damaged parked cars. A drunk driver also crashes over a roundabout destroying a road sign – yep, you guessed it, in Ettelbruck.

The residents of Ettelbruck must be pretty fed up. They appear, at least in the news, to be frequented by some of the worst drivers in the Duchy.

Still it’s not every day that you look out your window and a car flips into your garden, landing upside down inches from your front door. That’s what happened to a resident of Tétange.

Think you're safe in a supermarket car park? Think again. A man was left in a critical condition after being knocked down by a car outside Cactus in Howald.

Statistics for Luxembourg

A quick look at the Eurostat statistics on car fatalities shows that in 2014 Luxembourg had in excess of 60 road deaths per million inhabitants. It had a far worse record than France, Germany, UK, Sweden, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Portugal, and quite a few other places too.

Many people will say, “Luxembourg is a transit country with lots of traffic passing through”. But most of the accidents reported in the newspapers seem to be on minor roads.

Police checks, speed cameras, and more advertising on drink driving and speeding seem to be having little impact on many drivers.

It won’t happen to me

“It won’t happen to me,” is probably what most drivers think. But are you really in control if you’ve just quaffed several glasses of wine? Can you actually take that bend at 100km/h? Do you have a sixth sense that tells you on a dark night that someone is going to step out onto a crossing in Dippach?

If the answer to all these questions is “no”, then you should start thinking about the way you drive. If it’s “yes”, then you should move to Latvia (which according to Eurostat has the most road fatalities in Europe) and set up business as a psychic.