I’m taking a short break away from the Lowlands, which gives me a good chance to reflect on the driving habits of my current compatriots.
There’s no doubt that the crowdedness of the country contributes to the overall feeling of aggression on the road. Behaviours such as tailgating, switching lanes with no signaling, not keeping to the right, relatively frequent use of the middle finger, all adds up to a pretty harrowing experience.
Taking into account the prevalance of biking as a serious mode of tranportaion in the country, perhaps this should not e a surprise.
Compared to the 2 cars per family (if not more) of more spacious lands, most Dutch families, when possible with work, make do with one car. That means a large portion of drivers on the road use cars only very occasionally.
I think of it this way: all those times much of North America spends on the road, driving to and from work, to the grocery store, going to movies, picking up kids from school; the average Dutch spends that time honing his ability to tackle various obstacles placed in front of his bike.
It would seem to me that as trivial as driving might be as a task, there is something to be said about practice. In my two years here, I have witnessed some truly mind-boggling driving behaviors that I can only attribute to time substituted on the bikes. In all fairness though, I’m also only on the road on the weekends too, so the sample is probably slanted towards the more amateurish set of weekend drivers. Alas, irony strikes as cloggie land mandates very expensive driving schools (around three thousand euros). And perhaps recognizing a rather unfortunate deficiency in manners, there are now discussion on driving exam touch-up when people renew their driving licences.