• The development of any software program, including, but not limited to, training a machine learning or artificial intelligence (AI) system, is prohibited using the contents and materials on this website.

American vs. European Motoring

zenkidori

Banned For Trolling
Joined
Jun 12, 2005
Messages
4,806
Location
A mile high...and then some
Car(s)
RX-7, Jeep Cherokee
Well then, recently in America we've seen motorsport go off in a different direction, a good one. We've seen less emphasis on big iron chunks being hurled 1320 feet and then breaking and more on drivers who can navigate corners faster than, oh say, a retarded snail. Drifting, Time Attack, GT, Open Wheel, Rally, all of these have been gaining popularity and more and more drivers are participating in sports that require less and less straght road. On top of all that we've got lots and lots of road, much of it very good for driving. That said, we've still got a few problems.

Drunken hillbilly's still worship a sport in which turning right seems as likely as them putting down thier beers and praying to mecca. Proper sportscars made outside the US are still out of the reach of mere mortals due to our wonderful import regulations. Anyone with the IQ of a Bannana can get a license and as a result our roads are infested with sub-par drivers in steamrolling death behemoths dubbed SUVs, which are nothing more than lifted minivans. Teenagers with no taste whatsoever seem to drive cars with a magnatism towards shiney flashing things and lots of fiberglass, and like to race on trafficked roads and run into people. Racetracks are hard to come by and if you do find one, expect to be robbed blind by the track master for the privilege.

So I'm wondering, what's different about driving in Europe? I'll be moving to Japan after college for a year or two so my girlfriend can teach english, but after visiting a country with such a great car culture, I'm not so sure i'll want to come back to the US. So what is the european driving experience like?
 
I can only relate what I saw inside European cities (mostly in Italy) -

They drive really chaotically in the cities. Mopeds, little cars, everyone does their own thing. Crossing the street is really dangerous, even at a red light. Most cars have small dents.

It's probably different in the country, but the cities (in Italy) are nuts.
 
Ultra_Kool_Dude said:
I can only relate what I saw inside European cities (mostly in Italy) -

They drive really chaotically in the cities. Mopeds, little cars, everyone does their own thing. Crossing the street is really dangerous, even at a red light. Most cars have small dents.

It's probably different in the country, but the cities (in Italy) are nuts.

You're taking the worst example you could get. :lol: I suppose you were in the south. Up north it's better, but they're still in a controlled chaos.
Paris is another arena. But french roads are fantastic, if sometimes too narrow (in the country, the secondary or even smaller roads). Outside the cities, and away from the Riviera, the driving there is very relaxed and civilized. I went slower than usual (160kph) and almost no one passed me. And their autoroutes are simply amazing. Not crowded at all. But as every british journalist, their national routes are even better. Fantastic views, not too much traffic, well maintained, and definitely asking for a drive.

I'm much too sleepy now, tomorrow I'll add something if I remember something more.
 
^ Yeah, you're right. They were mostly southern Italian cities.

You're also right about the narrowness of some of the streets.

I was also surprised at how close people and vehicles come to each other. Here, you'll never cross the street unless you have at least 50 feet of clear road, but there people come within 1 or 2 feet of moving cars.
 
Ultra_Kool_Dude said:
^ Yeah, you're right. They were mostly southern Italian cities.

You're also right about the narrowness of some of the streets.

I was also surprised at how close people and vehicles come to each other. Here, you'll never cross the street unless you have at least 50 feet of clear road, but there people come within 1 or 2 feet of moving cars.

We have a lot of roads where everybody (well, almost everybody :mrgreen: ) slows down because the road is too narrow for two cars to pass easily. And about crossing roads, I know what you mean. 8)
 
Are there many twisty mountain roads? I live basically at the base of the Rocky Mountains and so I have some of the best and most winding roads in the country in my backyard. It would be hard for me to live in a place without many bends, driving hard thru hairpin after hairpin is a big part of my life, as odd as that sounds.
 
Racetracks are hard to come by and if you do find one, expect to be robbed blind by the track master for the privilege.

at least you have racetracks.
we have zolder and francorshamps, but when you want to enter those, you first have to participate a course for several hours, than go driving with an instructor, than show up with a beefed up car (roll-cage etc), and then you are allowed to take a few laps (at 150?/lap or sth)
 
What America lacks is class. Europeans have millionaire role models in F1 drivers who live glamorous lives. Americans have NASCAR drivers who drink a bottle of milk rather than pop a bottle of champagne. Racers in Europe are the high class elite. In the US, it's just homemade hotrodders. It's two completely opposite approaches to racing.

American cars are going European too. A few of the newer cars have character and something done to make it go around corners without rolling over. Much of the advertisement you see has "European inspired" and "European made" all over it. At least they are admitting "American inspired" and "American made" has a bad tone to it.

Don't even let me get started on those teenagers who modify their parents' Honda Civics.
 
NASCAR drivers only drink beer, it's in thier contracts. that's why they only go round and round in a lefthand circle ;), and actually the nissan 240SX(200SX across the pond) has passed up the civic as the most modded car in the US. NASCAR drivers are very very rich, but usually are rednecks and as such lack class, but enough about professional drivers, I don't care about them, just me.

Average Americans have a hard time identifying with F1 for a few reasons. First is that it's international. America is pretty secluded even tho we like to think we're a melting pot and multicultural and all that, but on the whole we're pretty ignorant to the rest of the world. Second is that we have a whole single race in this country. We don't watch racing on TV, so if we can't go to the races people stop caring. Also open wheel lost a lot of popularity when CART and IRL split, and NASCAR soaked all that fanbase up.

That said we have a healthy rally series with very dedicated fans, ALMS is growing as is interest in open wheel.

But enough about professional racing, I'm wondering what it would be like for me to be a driver abroad. What are the police like? Insurace? Can you import cool cars? are there decent tracks to visit that don't cost $300USD a go? Can I drive from England to France or Germany or Italy with the same license plate and all that? Are the roads full of 16 year old Fast and Furious wanna be's and old blind women in tanks? What about modifications and garages? Are there secluded winding mountain roads devoid of traffic and police? things like that.
 
zenkidori said:
What are the police like?

I'd say way less on the road compared to america. Although I'm not sure about that since I've never been there.

zenkidori said:
Can you import cool cars?

What's your Idea of a cool car you don't get here ? If you're talking Domestic Japanese and American It's a yes.

zenkidori said:
Can I drive from England to France or Germany or Italy with the same license plate and all that?

Sure you can. As long as you're on EU territory you don't even get stopped at the boarders. You can go from country to country as you like.

zenkidori said:
Are the roads full of 16 year old Fast and Furious wanna be's and old blind women in tanks?

No. You can only get a drivers license if you're 18. Old women don't drive tanks here since gas is 6$ per Gallon. Regarding you F&F remark. I don't think so. You can't just install any piece of kit as you like to. Nearly all modifications need to be registered with the authorities.

Lowering cars is quite common but you don't get to see more outrageous mods often.

To build a car F&F style (roadlegal) you would need lots of money. So that's no option. Plus you would miss the most important pice of kit. Neon is forbidden here. :lol:
 
Dont forget that drivers license in eu is much harder to get. You need a gazillion hours of practice, parking, on the highway, in the city, god knows what else, several exams, and it costs a lot of money and time.

What about modifications and garages?

as swek said before, in western europe regulations are quite tough, all new parts/accessories etc developed by tuners must be first tested for safety issues. you can mount those without any problem as long as you put in your car papers the modifications. (most of the time this is arranged by the shop/garage where you install these parts) otherwise homemade parts, bodykits and crap like that arent really legal. there are of course everywhere(luckily not many) cool f&f kids that dont care much about this. and in eastern europe the situation is again different, since hardly anyone cares about this, even if bribery is always an option ;)
Are there secluded winding mountain roads devoid of traffic and police?
there are plenty of mountains across europe, in the alps you have a bunch of such roads. actually on these twisty roads a lot of times they organize hillclimb competitions 8) you dont need big mountains for twisty roads though, in hungary (the highest "mountain" point being about 1000metres) there are plenty of such roads.

Can you import cool cars?

yes thats possible, one of my friends was looking into this, and e.g. an old R32 skyline from japan, valued at about 10,000euros, can be imported and made road legal for about 2-3,000euros into most western european countries.
are there decent tracks to visit that don't cost $300USD a go
as far as i know a laparound the nurburgring/nordschleife is about 15-20euros, thats what one of my friends told me who goes there often, im not sure though if this is precise info. but there are pleanty of tracks almost eerywhere within 300-400km-s distance, which is a few hours drive.
 
Dont forget that drivers license in eu is much harder to get. You need a gazillion hours of practice, parking, on the highway, in the city, god knows what else, several exams, and it costs a lot of money and time.
I actually regard this as a good thing, it's far too easy to get a license here.

By cool cars i mean cars like Nissan Skylines, Silvias, late model RX-7s and Supras, Lotus Exige, various cool euro cars like TVR and such. You even get better American cars. Our Ford Focus sucks and we never got anything like a Costworth turbo.
 
we pretty much get all cars, except for those that aren't build in europe, and only came out in right hand drive, such as skyline and silvia

but we do get TVR (also right hand drive), lotus and the performance japanese cars if they are available in left hand drive.

the only brand i can think of we don't get, is saleen
 
My view on the Belgian roads:

cramped.

cramped.

and cramped.


Maybe a little cramped too. :)

Ah well, Belgium is a country with one of the highest people to square km - ratio in the world, and the people are very rich. So it is in fact no surprise that EVERY morning and evening, you hear traffic news about long rows of cars waiting in line, wasting time and fuel, on the roads because some truck lost its load or some tire blew. For a lot of people here, going to work means at least fifteen minutes of waiting in line.

The cars are much different too, as the fuel is much more expensive. 1.8 litres is common, you can even see cars with 1.0 engines and so... Cars higher than 2.5 are quite rare as they are not fuel economic. Cars are much smaller too, as we don't have huge motors to pull two tonnes forward. Although the last years the SUV-class is becoming more and more popular with cars like the BMW X5, volvo xc90, volkswagen touareg, and so on. But, as they already cost quite a lot of money, most of them also have average motors in them, which makes the cars, as I suppose, quite slow since they weight a lot.
I don't like this trend because such cars cost a lot of resources (metal, plastic, fuel...), and are much more dangerous to little cars than a normal car, as they are higher and much heavier. And for almost everyone who buys such a car, it is simply a status-symbol as most of the cars never see a single metre offroad, and are mostly not fitted for it either, even though there may be a fancy "4WD" button on the dashboard... :thumbsdown:

Also the ecological laws are much stronger here, all new cars have lots of katalysators and other stuff to keep the exhaust gases as clean as possible. Every car manufacturer is forced to reveal the CO2-output of a car. Filters everywhere to clean the little particles in the gases, you know, those particles that penetrate deep into your lungs and cause cancer.
 
Ireland is an interesting case. The country has more miles of paved road per square mile than any other country in the world.

The cities were designed with roads wide enough that two viking hand-carts might be able to pass by each other without too much difficulty. Traffic flow was not much of a criterion in the 10th Century, I guess. This has the corresponding effect on traffic today.

Outside the cities, there's not much by way of motorways. The government put its money into commerical infrastructure and edcation, not roads and railways. Thus for a large portion of the road from Dublin to Cork, for example (Ireland's two largest cities), it's one lane each way.

Now, this is partially deceptive: The single lane is almost wide enough for two lanes, and there's a good hard shoulder. Common practise is to pull over and drive at normal speed on the hard shoulder to allow traffic behind to pass. When passing someone who has pulled over, it is considered polite to flash your hazard lights (four-ways, for the Americans) in thanks.

On the narrower roads, the ones about as wide as a bar of hotel soap, the general idea is to go as fast as you can in order to get to the other end before you meet someone coming the other way. (which will then involve one party reversing until they can pull into a lay-by/field gate/whatever). However, the DoT has cunningly set up a nationwide network of tractors driven by old men which one encounters roughly every three miles. This helps keep the speed down. Overtaking on short stretches requires good grunt from the engine, but due to the tax and insurance laws, most people settle for something in the 1.1 to 2.0 litre range.

Speed enforcement varies by two criteria: The reputation of the local sergeant, and the reputation of the local judge. (Speeding offenses will result in a court appearance, not just a ticket and fine). Some towns have such reputation that nobody will as much as go 1mph over the limit. Others are a little more lax, and speeds can get quite astronomical.

Drivers are generally polite and considerate, unless you're in the country in a 'D' reg car. (Dublin). The driving test is one of the hardest in the world, with a 'first time' failure rate near 90%. This is partially excacerbated by the fact that they don't want to pass mindless automatons that follow every rule. They want people to demonstrate that they can safely, competently and courteously control their vehicles. Case in point: Ex's dad was a policeman. (Garda). Policeman's son takes driving test. On a stretch of road marked with a 30mph speed limit, which was wide, open, and usually people travel down it at 50mph quite safely, he did 30mph. And was failed for failing to make due progress, and for obstructing the normal flow of traffic. He got no sympathy from his dad either! Correct solution would have been to do somewhere around 40 or so.

Curiously, I found the California driving test to be a piece of cake in comparison to the Irish one. No hill-start, no reverse around a corner.. and I was able to take it in an automatic and still get a full license!

NTM
 
That sounds like a good driving test! We have such easy and crappy tests here it's ridiculous. A good 80% of our driving population would fail if we had something more difficult than, "what's this mean?"(holds up picture of stop sign).

Oh yeah, I've never head hazards be called "four ways" in the US. maybe that's just an SF thing.
 
American driver training is a cruel joke. For example, there's me, who got his motorcycle license first, and when I went back to the DMV to get my license renewed they gave me the car one... "Oh, someone left out your car license, we'll fix that."

So I've been driving for 18 years, motorcycle roadracing, car trackdays, 4000+ miles over 100 miles an hour in Nevada, etc. and technically I've never taken my driving test!
:D
 
LOL!

Not to mention our traffic legal system is a total sham. You'll get your license taken away for a few speeding tickets but get a DUI(driving drunk) 3 times and you just pay fines.
 
Well, that's a generalization. Driving laws differ from state to state as much as they differ from country to country. Here in Utah if you get a DUI you are tagged for life with a special license, 5x insurance rate, mandatory jail and a minimum 12 month probation. But I've been caught at 135 MPH in a 25 and I talked the officer out of it.
 
kanderson said:
Well, that's a generalization. Driving laws differ from state to state as much as they differ from country to country. Here in Utah if you get a DUI you are tagged for life with a special license, 5x insurance rate, mandatory jail and a minimum 12 month probation. But I've been caught at 135 MPH in a 25 and I talked the officer out of it.

:lmao: That must been one hell of a talk... :lol:
 
Top