To start off, I'm a nice guy. Well, mostly nice. I was always taught to mind my manners. Say please, thank you, give up your seat to old ladies and pregnant people, and just be considerate.
And yet I go to university in a big city. The name is not important, because the problem is not unique. (Budapest, Hungary.) This city (hell, country) is full of rude people. Especially when they get behind the wheel of a car...
I've heard tales of how New York, Boston, Los Angeles, and Tokyo are "hives of scum and villany" when it comes to driving manners. Well, here in Budapest we have a definite contender for the championship.
For starters, the road system is a joke. Most everything was paved with cobblestones in 1850, paved over with asphalt in 1990, and had 13 years of traffic drive on it. Plus, before the cobblestones, these were cart tracks.
Adding to this lovely mix is the Hungarian nation. Hungarians as a nation seem to have the most outrageous case of collective road rage since your Uncle Jethro got a rifle rack installed on his pickup truck. They get behind the wheels of their cars and go crazy. Honking, yelling, waving fingers. Cutting people off, running lights, gunning engines. And this is a country where small cars are popular.
Imagine 50,000 cars trying to kill each other, and they're maybe 3 inches off the road. You're in the front seat, cars coming from all over the place, and you have two panels of thin metal between you and any incoming car.
Did I mention that brown is a very popular color for Hungarian seat cushions? Up until I got here, I wondered why.
Well, now I know. Frankly, I get scared when I drive with someone in Hungarian traffic.
Driving on a highway is almost worse. Two lanes is the widest road you will find in this country. There are three or four major exceptions, which account for 0.05% of the highways here. Shoulders? Hah! Who needs shoulders? Asphalt's expensive!
But I can live with the crap road - it's just that people drive down it like they're in a car race, and they're going for the gold. Each year not a month goes by without some grisly pictures in the paper about how some new moron is dead because he did something stupid. (Hey, it's not cool to wear seat belts here, you know.)
Anyway, all I'm trying to say is: slow down. Please. Drive safely. Drive defensively. Why are you in such a hurry that you want to die?