My thoughts on why European cars/drivers > Americans...

Well, in California... driving is... how should I say this... courageous. Its a sport really. Its like chess. Your on the highway, you want to be in one lane but find yourself in the other. Someone moves and you try and go in for the kill. But, like chess, there is always another pawn you forgot to take notice of. And even though he is a pawn, he is the most important piece on your board. So you reconsider your move. The hole opens up again, and yet again, the pawn is still there. You are the mouse, and the pawn is the cat. Whereever you go, he goes.

And thats what driving in California is like. You have to think when you drive. The problem is that most of the other people on your "chess board" arent thinking about driving rather on their warm McDonald's hamburger or their tall, de-caf Cappuccino nessled between their legs. Its a sport. It takes concentration.

Roads are never fixed and when they attempt to fix them, which is rare, the whole town is affected because they seem to find the most inconvienant way to do things. Ahh... its frustrating, but it does have its charms too... :D
 
JScullin said:
I remember in early-mid spring I was going down I93 North, and in the high speed/HOV lane was a 4' x 2' pothole. What made this infinitly worse was the pothole was conveniently located at the apex of a semi-blind turn.

So here I come, puttering along at about 80mph when my eye caught site of this rift in the highway. It was the combination of instinctively trying to brake & avoid hitting it at full speed, trying to put it under the middle of the car between the tires & the realization that this took up the entire lane and there was no avoiding when I was almost forced into the wall.

The tire had caught the ridge of it and slipped in, jerking the wheel unexpectidly to the left. A quick correction, followed by the jolt of exiting the hole & having the wheel again jerked caused me to do a rather scary shimmy while trying to hold the corner & not sideswipe another car. The car behind me hit it full tilt & braked causing cars behind it to break & swerve. It was almost a bad scene.

The hole was there for the next 3 weeks before getting repaired. But there are still a few more just like it on some straightaways. But just leaving the road like that is deadly.

Try Storrow Drive now. The pavement is grooved and they took about 3 inches off the top of the pavement, so all the drains and sewer thingies are protruding. Lots of them are right at the edges of the lanes barely wide enough for one car and driving down that stretch of road is like some demolition derby slalom.
 
I haven't bothered to drive into Boston since they started the Big Dig. I dropped my g/f off for the Walk For Hunger and never again. Made her take the T home :)
 
Im not going into major detail but I agree with some of what?s said on TG about American cars. In the US luxury just isnt the same. American Interiors are cheap looking in expensive cars. Not really a big problem... throw some well placed leather, wood or brushed aluminum in the CTS or Vette (or whatever) and it, IMO, just feels like you spent $40-50,000 on the car.

I?m not in big agreement about ride quality though. To be honest imported cars designed for Americans seem to have worse ride quality then American cars. I don?t feel the Corvette (97+) has bad ride quality as indicated in the Z4/S2000/Boxter argument they had on one of last years shows but I do agree that the Z4 does.

As for design I don?t feel American cars are made of cheap materials. Knock on a Japanese car like Jeremy did to the CTS and you'll notice a similar sound, knock on a BMW 6 series and you'll notice plastic also.

Suspension design is a different story. Live rear axles and drum brakes are too common IMO. The Mustang, new for 2005, shouldn?t have a live rear axle and a $25,000 Chevy shouldn?t have drum brakes.

Engines can at times be under powered for their displacement. My parents owned a 1999 Monte Carlo with the 3.1L V6. It put out 175hp and that wasn?t enough for that car. I don?t however believe we should all be running high strung low displacement engines. I?m not a fan of Vtec or VTTi as they are most like an on/off switch. In all honestly you will only get the cam if you string the revs out in first and maybe second gear depending on the speed limit and traffic conditions. Porsches VairoCam makes more sense or just increasing the displacement but that?s just my opinion. I?m not knocking either system though because for those times your on an empty road hitting 9k rpm is fun.... I would rather have the ?6k rush? at 3500/4000 rpm all the time though.

I do find some of the things said hypocritical though. I don?t get pissed, just chuckle. French cars have trim that falls off but they?re ok to own. Japanese cars like the Evo don?t have luxurious interiors but they?re ok to own. Other countries? plastic body panels are fine but introduce a car like the CTS or Corvette which perform wonderfully and all of a sudden you?re the devils spawn if you like it . Id say Americans were country loylal as well but most of us drool over the DB9, Elise or M3 so I dont know what it is. We have our faults in the US but IMO not enough for our cars to be instant crap..... expcept the PT, Crossfire and the current Monte Carlo. They are crap ;) :D
 
France is another story... The highways are superb for the most part but the speed limit is absurdly low. 130 kph on roads like these is just plain nonsense. These are the roads where accidents are fewest, deaths also, but this is where the government places speed cameras. Convenient...

Getting a license there is both easy and hard. Easy because the driving part of it is a laugh (no emergency braking test of any kind for instance), hard because the theoretical part is ludicrous. You get presented with situations on photos and are asked what to do. OK, but then is this car in my rearview mirror is slower than me, faster than me, or way faster than me? You don't know, you cannot know! But you have to answer the question and answer it right...

Cell phones are a more common disease unfortunately, but the worst is that SUVs are on the raise here. And I'm not reassured when I'm tailgated by a stupid bloke in its nearly 3 ton Hummer H2 in my 930 kg corner machine - doesn't this guy know that I could have to brake somehow?
 
I got an uncle and aunt that live in southern France, and I've seen the way the locals drive on the provincial roads.
It is, well, shall we say.... spirited :mrgreen: .
 
Every car has a plastic dash, it's the quality & grade of plastic combined with the amount of "anti-rattle" screws they use that makes the difference.
 
MPower said:
Well, in California... driving is... how should I say this... courageous. Its a sport really. Its like chess. Your on the highway, you want to be in one lane but find yourself in the other. Someone moves and you try and go in for the kill. But, like chess, there is always another pawn you forgot to take notice of. And even though he is a pawn, he is the most important piece on your board. So you reconsider your move. The hole opens up again, and yet again, the pawn is still there. You are the mouse, and the pawn is the cat. Whereever you go, he goes.

And thats what driving in California is like. You have to think when you drive. The problem is that most of the other people on your "chess board" arent thinking about driving rather on their warm McDonald's hamburger or their tall, de-caf Cappuccino nessled between their legs. Its a sport. It takes concentration.

Roads are never fixed and when they attempt to fix them, which is rare, the whole town is affected because they seem to find the most inconvienant way to do things. Ahh... its frustrating, but it does have its charms too... :D

agreed.. it's crazy there.. You got like 6 lanes highways and ppl change from lane 1 to 6 all at once without flashing.. they honk like crazy and don't pay attention..

we almost got killed but a Hummer H1 running over us once.. in a rental Taurus..
 
Here in Toronto raods are pretty good except for the first month or two after winter. We get roads repaved over pretty often. It is a really common sight having to drive by a construction zone on the road while going somewhere.
 
Here in Ontario, you visit a transportation centre and pay $100 CDN. You write the written test - which is easy - and if you pass you have 12 months to practice driving with a fully licenced driver riding shotgun at all times. It can be reduced to 8 months if you take a driving lesson course, which is 20 hours theory and 10 hours driving, for about $300. After 8 or 12 months, depending on whether you take the driving lesson course or not, you can finally take the driving test to get your licence.

Mine's was a joke. Only 15 minutes doing simple stuff; my instructor didn't even request me to reverse park!

Roads in Ontario are horrendous during the winter; potholes everywhere!

I went to LA this past December and the highway system is pretty cool. The left lane is reserved only for cars with two or more passengers, and that lane is separated far from the right. You can pretty much drive past everyone without worrying of getting cut off!

When I drive I put the side mirrors all the way outwards so I don't have to turn my head to check my blind spots, as I can already see who's in my blind spots just by glancing at them. You all should try it. :thumbsup:
 
In Florida:

Depending on where you're at the roads can be good, okay, or bleh, depending on what level of government is in charge of the road. The interstates around Jacksonville always seem to be under construction (as with the same stretch of I-95 between Jacksonville and Daytona). I-10 is pretty good, though.

As for license, in Florida if you attend driver's ed. in high school, all you have to do is pay for your license and that's it. $20 and you're a certified driver.

However, for everyone else, you just pass an eye exam, laughable written and driving tests, and you got your license. No wonder Florida has the worst drivers in the US...
 
130 kph on roads like these is just plain nonsense.

130 is pretty fast considering California's 70mph max, which is (112.6kph). And that's too bad about SUVs on rise, i think they are a terrible invention. I see people all the time driving as a single in their SUV when they could be driving a much smaller car with much better gas mileage.

But hey! I just read today that Bush wants to give tax breaks to fuel efficient cars, Finally!
He must be pissed at the Saudis :D
 
Holy 10 month bump Batman! :p
Anyways, anyone who thinks they have bad drivers should come here. You need to constantly pay attention while driving. :ph34r: The good news is that the cops don't really go after people for speeding unless they're doing 50 over the limit or something. I saw a guy speeding in the left lane on the freeway once and flashing a police car to get out of the way. All the cop did was change lanes. :shock:
 
chaos386 said:
Holy 10 month bump Batman! :p
Anyways, anyone who thinks they have bad drivers should come here. You need to constantly pay attention while driving. :ph34r: The good news is that the cops don't really go after people for speeding unless they're doing 50 over the limit or something. I saw a guy speeding in the left lane on the freeway once and flashing a police car to get out of the way. All the cop did was change lanes. :shock:

thats normal i do it here too (flashing a ligt for cops) I actually honked once and was gesturing at him in anger cause the cop backed up on me without seeing me.. hehe asshole... anyways you have to pay attention while driving anywhere.. lol :p but trust me if u see an elderly here oh-my-god!! exit the highway.. or just pullover till he/she are 200 meters away from you.. damn those people are scary. generally people here obey the law which is cool, but the bad drivers here are really really bad.. :evil:
 
You guys would be really jealous if you saw where I get to live and drive.
The roads here are mostly great, they often repair them, and you never hit a bump which could be dangerous. The freeway is always in perfect condition, and normal roads...I often take joyrides when coming home fridays or saturdays, somewhere like 2 a.m. and I pull speeds of upto 100mph (180kph) on NORMAL roads through my VILLAGE!
I get cornering speeds of 80mph (130kph) and I can avarage over 60mph (100kph) over as much as 20miles (30kilometers)!!!!! Lots of corners too.
Livig in Croatia is GREAT!!! You would really be suprised if you came here for a vacation or something. We have one of the most beautiful seasides in THE WORLD! Check out www.croatia.hr if you have a few minutes to spend. The town near which I live (5 miles from it, it has 50k ppl) has four rivers runing through it, and a fifth river of beer! :mrgreen: :thumbsup:
I've bathed in a river some 40 miles from where I live where the water is stone cold in the middle of the summer and you can actually drink it and it tastes great!

As for the drivers exam its pretty hard, and many people fail it several times before getting their licence. As a result, you have really little bad drivers and a good drivng culture from poeple. (People actually move off your lane when they see you speeding down it). Hope this wasn't too much to read. :mrgreen:
 
joemoefro said:
And that's too bad about SUVs on rise, i think they are a terrible invention. I see people all the time driving as a single in their SUV when they could be driving a much smaller car with much better gas mileage.


I disagree. I think marketing SUVs to soccer moms or as status items was a bad idea. But hey, if they want to pay that much more money for gas, let them. You're not the one footing the bill.



I believe the true purpose of an SUV is to get down and dirty in the mud.
 
So much has changed since this post....

Vehicle choices, yes. Vehicular mannerisms, not so much. Simply put at least for someone who has grown up in the Chicago Suburbs, once you're in a car, you're an asshole. Either people will stick with 40MPH as their chosen speed off the interstates, so you're left with being tailgated in towns, and left alone outside of them. Or, you're met with somebody who drives a Nissan branded vehicle that drives 20 over the limit and tailgates you like they've got the new hotness. The other other worse turd-mobile are pick up trucks. All ages as most will put in the blue/white looking HID style or HID upgrade kits into halogen housings.... Couple that with lift kits are you as johnny hatchback or sedan get blinded to hell. The other shitty one are the ones that tailgate you, then do a swerve as a way to say "Hey, let me by!" but it's aggressive.... Usually, it's not my fault. rare times I'm in a mood and want to fuck with them and set cruise control at the speed limit or 5mph higher. People do not have lane discipline, if you tailgate them in the right lane, they move over. The same happens for any lane. Most of the time they just set cruise on the highway and stay there so you're left with move all other the place like some drugged out teenager in a civic swerving in traffic.
 
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