Sunday, August 8, 2010

Paris Drivers: Crazy or Creative?

Visitors to Paris who have been in a car or bus to riding around the Arc de Triomphe in may tell you that they feared for their lives.  They comment that Parisian drivers are wild and crazy.  They zip around the circle seemingly without regard for the cars around them. The concept of driving within specific lines doesn’t seem to exist.  They weave around each other, speeding when you’d expect them to slow down.   It looks random, weird and incomprehensible to a driver (like this one from LA) trained to stay within the lines when driving and to signal in advance of making a move. 

Ask a Parisian driver about their and they’ll tell you, with great spirit that their form of driving is creative.  They express their individuality as the circle around their famous landmarks.  Some Parisians I know said that driving in the US is too limiting, frustrating and annoying.  Staying within the lines stifles their creativity.

Now as I travel I’ll take a new look at the driving habits and wonder what it tells me about the place the people.  Maybe it isn’t that they are “wild and crazy”.  Maybe something else is going on.  People tell us about their ideas, their way of seeing the world by how they talk, dress and now we know even by how they drive!

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