Thursday, 23 June 2011

Bad Drivers and Webbed-feet. Are they connected?

I live in a part of the world which has remained isolated from the rest of the country until very recently. Asturias, in northern Spain, is so isolated that it is proudly boasted as the only part of Spain not to come under Moor control.

It is only in the last few decades that Asturias has been connected to other communities through EU funded communications construction. Even to this day, that work ploughs on unabated, often to the detriment of the beauty of the region.

Isolated peoples
Isolation in itself isn't a bad thing, so long as you avoid in-breeding, naturally. But it does throw up a few odd quirks which are unique to the people involved. Some people seem to think the French have webbed-feet, whilst it is true that on an island in Indonesia lived a Hobbit species as recently as 12000 years ago.

Isolation under Franco led to Spain becoming one BIG carpark
In Asturias, the locals have developed a unique system for negotiating roundabouts. They will never use the inside two lanes, no matter what exit they are taking. In Oviedo, capital of Asturias, everybody drives round in the outside lane, thus reducing a three-laned roundabout to a one-laned roundabout. It also adds to the fun factor for visitors from the outside, as they try to exit the roundabout from an inner lane, only to discover a local driving into the side of them. Indeed, even the locals often get it wrong. One only has to stand at the side of any roundabout in the city (but the ones on the ring-road are the best) for a bit of local entertainment. Just keep your eye open for any foreign cars.

I have it on good authority - and have seen it myself - that drivers under instruction here are told by their instructor to always take the outside lane, no matter where you want to go, as it is 'complicated' to choose the correct lane. Once you leave Asturias, you'll find drivers able to deal with the complexities of roundabout lane choice without too much effort.

Isolation, it does throw up some oddities...

(PS. They are crap at designing road systems too...)


  1. I'll remember that for when I visit Europe. Thank goodness there are no roundabouts in Los Angeles; looks way to confusing. It's bad enough to have to yield when making a left hand turn here...

    1. Don't think all of Europe drives like that! This is just Spain, and as they say in Spain, 'Espana es diferente...'


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