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  • Writer's pictureStephan Busch

Important differences driving a car in Russia, Germany and China

German like speed

Cars are holy for Germans and in general they are very disciplined drivers. I always have to remember this when I come home from Russia. Once you are in a traffic jam in Germany it takes long - because once we crash - we crash high speed and mess up everything or we have road construction that take as long as the Berlin Airport. Speed is dangerous on German highways if you are not used to it. On the other hand it seems to be great advertising as my Chinese and Russian friends are always exited to go to Germany and push the gas pedal all the way down. I always hope we don’t meet during their holidays. Parking is always monitored by older people hanging out of their window monitoring the rightful use of parking lots and ready to call the police.

Russians need to be first

Russia drivers are a little different. In fact in Russia you have to keep an eye on everybody – left – right – behind and in front. You can never know what they do next. On a four lane highway its cool to drive in the left lane. Even with only 60 km per hour. Once you have to leave the highway on the total right just cross all lanes last minute without indicating. Everybody expects that. Traffic jams are normal especially in Moscow but here everybody uses every lane and the side of the road which of course further improves the length of the jam. Ladas are the worst. They are either driven by young people who don’t have enough money for a car and want to speed - with Ladas! They have no experience and often no license. The other old Ladas are driven by very old people with soviet driving experience, diminishing eye side and raised with the confidence that the few who own a car - owe the road. Don’t get in their way. Signs on 5 lanes highways that remind you not to park on the highway makes sense as they not only park on the shoulder but on the right lane or any other.

Chinese like it mixed up

Chinese are a special class on their own. Safety distance is measured in Centimetres. Left and right is spiced up with everybody crossing in whatever directions. Scooters and bicycles add to the fun. Accidents are frequent but lucky also in China everything is made out of plastic and dissolves very fast. When the new Hong Kong – Shenzhen highway opened it was used by cars and trucks ( that’s what it was made for) and by pedestrians, bicycles, horse carriages, donkeys and everybody who was happy to finally have a smooth road under the feet. It resulted in a big clean up by the government to clear the resulting accident piles of debris and also the unfortunate ones that didn’t get out of the way on time..

To add the Canadians. Canada is a big country and driving long distances can be very trying. Used to Russian driving I would speed but they are good in issuing expensive tickets. Using the cruise control always resulted in me falling asleep. All in all more dangerous then the other three countries.


Stephan Busch has an invaluable and diverse experience in launching operations, business development and service training- for hotel and cruise companies in Asia, Europe, Canada and Russia. Stephan Busch, serves as Academic Director at the State University for the Humanities Moscow RGGU, Faculty of Tourism & Hospitality earned his Master Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University, USA.,

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