Driving in Greece, a public service announcement.

Driving in Greece can be very dangerous, especially for wussy Californian drivers who are used to the point-and-click driving of the Bay Area.

One of the most important rules of the road, a rule that is not in any guide book or any law book is how to negotiate the inter-city roads. In Greece the breakdown lane is a valid driving lane. So if you are a law-abiding American driving below the speed-limit inside the only lane on the road expect to be spat-upon, insulted and sworn at by every driver behind you. The reason is that the break-down lane is where slow traffic drives and the actual lane is used for passing by faster traffic.

I discovered this in my first drive from Athens to Ioannina several years ago. I carefully and slowly drove in the only lane. Drivers behind me honked at me, drivers honked at me as they passed on the right, drivers showed me an open palm (the moutza) and of course as a self-righteous Northern California driver I was wondering how all of this illegal driving could possibly be safe.

As I learned, faster drivers will pass you (on the right, in the other lane) so it’s actually safer to use the breakdown lane to drive.

Please note, that cars do actually use the breakdown lane for brokendown cars. As I learned this weekend in Crete. So be aware of your surroundings.


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