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Dec 04 2012

If ever I visit Russia…

…I’ll be staying away from the roads.

You know, maybe they’d be smashing up their cars less often if they weren’t all fiddling with the video cameras on their dashboards.

(via Kottke)

50 comments

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  1. 1
    robro

    I bet someone from Boston will soon tell us that’s nothing.

  2. 2
    Arn_Thor

    The number of dash cams have two primary reasons. Firstly, the judge doesn’t care about blame in traffic cases without evidence. Either prove you are not to blame or pay 50% of the costs. Secondly it is a protection against corrupt police.

  3. 3
    suzysalaksartok

    I’ve watched literally hours and hours of these kinds of car crash compilations, and more often than not theres a Lada careening into somebody.

    There’s a bit of confirmation bias, though, apparently you get big discounts on car insurance in Russia if you have a dashboard camera, so loads of people have them, which makes for craptons of footage of crazy russian driving making it to the internet. (also funny videos of people trying to run insurance scams by jumping lamely onto stopped cars.)

  4. 4
    suzysalaksartok

    I’ve watched literally hours and hours of these kinds of car crash compilations, and more often than not theres a Lada careening into somebody.

    There’s a bit of confirmation bias, though, apparently you get big discounts on car insurance in Russia if you have a dashboard camera (may be misdisremembering, but thats the gist I think), so loads of people have them, which makes for craptons of footage of crazy russian driving making it to the internet. (also funny videos of people trying to run insurance scams by jumping lamely onto stopped cars.)

    (not sure if this is a double post or not, just went away the first time)

  5. 5
    fentex

    I’ve seen one of these dash-cam videos form Russia where someone deliberately reversed into the videoing car, and then jumped out and tried to claim they’d been rear-ended.

    Up until they noticed the camera and gave up.

    Apparently attempts to fake collisions and injury is another thing that makes it a good idea to have a camera in your car there.

    I myself was run into a few years ago and the other guys insurance company tried to hold me responsible but for my phones pictures post the collision disproving their theory.

  6. 6
    Kagato

    My first thought was that most of the videos might primarily be taxis and a few police… but as the video went on (for 13 minutes!) it became apparent that couldn’t be the case; and also that having a dash-cam fitted in such an environment would be entirely justified!

    It’s definitely a big thing. Googling “russia dash cam” turned up plenty of results, such as this article on AnimalNewYork.

    It sounds like there are plenty of reasons to want a camera in your car in Russia:
    * Insurance and liability, as eye witness accounts are pretty much useless in court
    * Protection against corrupt police
    * Protection against gangs and crime
    * Protection against idiot drivers, which are apparently common because it’s possible to buy a license without actually knowing how to drive
    * Protection against extreme violence after a road incident

    Most of these issues seem to boil down to institutional corruption…

  7. 7
    jolly

    The vodka doesn’t help. You can tell a number of these are drunk people.

  8. 8
    richcon

    Greatest parallel parking ever at 2 minutes in!

  9. 9
    Rip Steakface

    I completely lost it at “Don’t! Stop me now… Don’t! stop me now…” Best use of Queen since the last time someone used Queen.

  10. 10
    lochaber

    huh.

    kinda gives some perspective to some of the stuff going on in the nightwatch/daywatch/twilightwatch/final watch series…

  11. 11
    psychodigger

    I’ve never been to Russia, but I do spend time in Armenia from time to time and it all looks very familiar. I only go to Armenia in the summer, so I don’t see a lot of bad weather, but if they drive in winter like they do in summer (i.e. like maniacs), then it must be outright carnage. The state most of the cars are in doesn’t help either. I am very afraid that quite a few of the cars we saw crashing will have eventually ended up on the road again.

  12. 12
    fullyladenswallow

    …and these are the folks who first put a man in space. It figures, actually, watching the survivors casually walk away after plowing into someone’s windshield. A rather hearty bunch I’d say.

  13. 13
    seivadthe

    Russia has about half the population of the US, and a similar number of road fatalities. Thats pretty crazy.

  14. 14
    robyn slinger

    Is this video a metaphor for creationism? The devastation shown here doesn’t seem much worse than Ken Ham’s quote on the previous post.

  15. 15
    jefrir

    It doesn’t help that a fair number of Russians consider wearing a seatbelt to be an insult to the driver’s skill.

  16. 16
    Jadehawk

    the low-flying helicopter one I can personally confirm is common; when I was living in poland in a town that had a soviet airbase, the helicopter pilots practiced flying between the buildings in my neighborhood (buildings were between 4 and 10 stories) on a regular basis

  17. 17
    Mario

    @richcon.
    That’s the second best parallel parking ever, this one is the first: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RRXuVQMW2mk

  18. 18
    Brett McCoy

    This could be my town here in MD. Lot of stupid drivers around here and a corresponding number of stupid accidents.

  19. 19
    bradleybetts

    So, what have I learned from this video? In Russia, no one ever looks, no one ever brakes, no one ever indicates, lorry loads and car wheels are never properly secured, trees and lamp posts fall over randomly, everyone has a camera on their dashboard and horses use zebra crossings.

  20. 20
    Compuholic

    Well cold weather, frozen roads and the vodka are not a great combination. But when you come to the point that you are so drunk that you cannot walk anymore the only option is to drive:

  21. 21
    maxdwolf

    I accept that driving is a lot more dangerous in Russia than the US, but only because I accept (conditionally) the claims of Kagato and seivadthe. Let’s face it, the video is no evidence whatsoever. There’s no accounting for confounding factors and one can find similar videos from most Western nations (I’ve seen a few from the mid-east as well). From what I understand from anecdotal information, China and Mexico are extremely nuts as well, primarily due to unsafe passing.

    I’ve driven in several states, but the craziest I’ve seen has been in Boston. I don’t think the statistics back me up though.

  22. 22
    Compuholic

    Oops, sorry. I didn’t mean to embed the video

  23. 23
    Matt Penfold

    There have been some idiots in the UK that posted video of them speeding and driving recklessly to YouTube who were prosecuted on the basis of that video evidence.

  24. 24
    alektorophile

    Ok, striking Russia off the list of places I would like to visit…

  25. 25
    NelC

    Ouch, that cracked windscreen at about 2:30 brought me a flashback of my own recent accident. Had to stop there.

    (Details, if you want them: My fault, wrote the car off, passengers shaken but no injuries worse than a nose-bleed. That latter detail I am profoundly grateful for; it was a tree-trunk width from being far worse.)

  26. 26
    pHred

    Okayyyy – well I have been invited to collaborate on some training in Moscow next winter. This is making me want to hide under my bed instead.

  27. 27
    borax

    The shoulder is part of the road, so why not use it?

  28. 28
    davem

    Looks like Hans the Clever horse taught himself another trick. I saw a fox do that in the UK once.

    I visited the Soviet Union in 1987. Not nearly so many cars (indeed, hardly any at all). Most were broken down on the roadside.

  29. 29
    robro

    Looks all too familiar to me from right here in the good ol’ USofA. If car cams were common here, I bet we could compile some interesting videos. Idiots are everywhere, and many of them are behind the wheel.

  30. 30
    A Hermit

    The tractors, snow and moose made me feel right at home…sadly so did some of the drivers…

  31. 31
    Ben P

    I did study abroad for six months in St. Petersburg, the drivers were bad, but it wasn’t terribly different from say Italy or Mexico. Road rules are a suggestion, not a law, and you drive accordingly.

  32. 32
    McT

    Re the helicopters and jets…During the bad old days when Thatcher was around, there was one stretch or road outside Oxford that wasn’t that far from an American airbase. Driving on it one would sometimes be buzzed by US helicopters popping up out of nowhere and you could guarantee that about a minute later you would have the delightful prospect of an American ground attack ‘plane flying over you at about 20 metres. Complaining to the police or even the RAF was a total waste of time..complaining to the Americans was impossible.

  33. 33
    mwalters

    The horse deserves some props for using the crosswalk.

  34. 34
    Muz

    There are an awful lot of ‘Crazy Ivan’ manoeuvers in that video.
    A sudden un-motivated right angle turn does tend to work better in a submarine.

  35. 35
    andusay

    Darwin would be proud. I wonder if this means that in 100 generations Russia will have better drivers.

  36. 36
    NitricAcid

    I’ve seen them drive in Kiev. I’m not surprised at this, really. If every car in Canada had a dashboard camera, you could probably come up with a collection of clips that was similar (apart from the one with the horse at the crosswalk). Russia’s got even more roads (and the same crappy weather), they’ve been driving for less time (cars have been popular in Canada for what? Eighty years? Private car ownership in only came around at the end of the Soviet Onion twenty or so years ago).

    At least they drive carefully when they’re on the sidewalk.

    And as someone else mentioned…seat belts? What are they?

  37. 37
    left0ver1under

    Videos on youtube may not prove the entirety of Russian drivers people are incompetent and violent, it may only be those filmed. But there are so many examples of aggression and thuggishness among Russian drivers that I wouldn’t set foot in that country. On vacation in Thailand, the behaviours of rich Russians I saw was utterly appalling, acting as if basic civility and local laws didn’t apply to them.

  38. 38
    Rich Woods

    The best I saw while in Moscow was a driver turn off a roundabout, race along for about fifty yards, realise he’d taken the wrong exit, screech to a halt, reverse back to the roundabout at maximum speed and swing around to the next exit. It was a major dual carriageway but fortunately the traffic was very light.

    Regarding the clip where the two blokes abandoned their crashed car in the middle of a junction, picking up their briefcases and casually walking away: they were just cutting their losses. By law they should have waited for the police, who most likely would have taken hours to arrive and demanded a bribe in exchange for the necessary paperwork to allow an insurance claim. It’s easier and cheaper just to abandon the car and claim it was stolen if the cops should ever get round to looking up the licence plate and calling the owner.

  39. 39
    Sili

    Silly horse, get out of there. That’s a zebra crossing.

  40. 40
    noastronomer

    “I’ll be staying away from the roads.”

    Judging by some of those videos that may not help a whole. Definitely stay off the pedestrian crossings.

    Mike.

    (+1 Internet for Sili)

  41. 41
    Sili

    I’m never getting in a car again.

    I’m also not gonna be able to take a dump for the next week.

  42. 42
    woodsong

    This reminds me of some video my stepfather took in Turkey in the 1980s.

    He was riding a local bus on a 4-lane road (2 lanes each direction, no curb or median). The bus passed a car–that was passing a car–that was passing a car. Taking up the whole road. With oncoming traffic. I was literally openmouthed watching that, utterly amazed that there wasn’t an accident! And then it happened again a couple of minutes later, and again, with similar maneuvers simultaneously from drivers on the other side. He had maybe half an hour of this, with no accidents at all.

    Apparently, these antics are routine, and after a few minutes of watching, he decided to get out the vidcam and record it. Absolute chaos for your daily commute!

  43. 43
    NitricAcid

    In Kiev, the sidewalks tend to be wide, so they are used for parking on. Occasionally, you will see someone driving their car on the sidewalk *between the cars and the buildings* to get to a parking spot. I once saw a guy drive his car from the sidewalk, along a pedestrian crossing, to get to the other sidewalk to try to find a parking spot.

    Against the “Don’t Walk” light. But I guess he wasn’t walking, so it doesn’t count.

  44. 44
    grumpypathdoc

    Last in FSU in 1994. Moscow and St.Petersburg. As this is a compilation video (and where and when did someone have the time to compile it) I’d have to agree with several comments above that if we had dash cams mounted in every car in the US, boy could we have a collection!

    Having visited Croatia many times, this should not be a reflection on how all Slavs drive. I’ve seen a few close calls, though I’ve seen the aftermaths as well. Riding a motorcycle in Croatia is dangerous business, and they dress for it.

    The worst accident I ever witnessed was on the 403 outside Mississauga heading to Pearson Airport in Toronto. A tractor-trailer rig (I prefer the English term “articulated lorry”)decided to go allll the way accross the highway and a VW Golf went partially under the trailer. Not a pretty sight. No secondary crashes luckily.

  45. 45
    NitricAcid

    Of course, if I had a camera in my windshield all the time, I’d be able to come up with a compilation nearly as long as this. Although maybe not quite so amusing.

    Let’s see….twice losing control on an icy road, two near misses with deer on the highway, twice getting hit by idiots running red lights…

  46. 46
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    Well I’ve never been to Russia,
    But I’ve been to Rhode Island.
    They say the drivers are insane there,
    But they sure know how to hit it.
    It ain’t Rhode Island, but Borodino,
    I hear crunching. I hear crunching.

    Well I’ve never been to Russia,
    But they tell me I was born there.
    I escaped to get my license,
    ‘Cause I’d rather be living,
    On 128, on 95,
    It’s much safer, so much safer.

    (((With Profound Apologies to Three Dog Night)))

  47. 47
    Koshka

    I have driven (drove my 1966 Morris Minor from London to Petrazavodsk) and been driven in Russia.

    It is the scariest place to drive I know of except Mongolia. The roads are terrible, the cars often falling to bits and some Russians, to my mind, have a low value on life.

    As mentioned above I have been frowned at by drivers when I put a seatbelt on – when there is one to put on. When there isn’t one it looks vaguely like I am crossing myself.

    Road deaths are often graphically shown on television, presumably to shock people. Not great for me to see images of bodies violently killed while having breakfast. The Russians don’t appear to notice.

  48. 48
    Kagato

    maxdwold @19:

    I accept that driving is a lot more dangerous in Russia than the US, but only because I accept (conditionally) the claims of Kagato and seivadthe. Let’s face it, the video is no evidence whatsoever. There’s no accounting for confounding factors and one can find similar videos from most Western nations (I’ve seen a few from the mid-east as well). From what I understand from anecdotal information, China and Mexico are extremely nuts as well, primarily due to unsafe passing.

    The list wasn’t meant to suggest that driving in Russia is necessarily more dangerous, or that the crazy accidents in the video are more likely to occur there than elsewhere. (Perhaps they are, but I’m not making a case either way.)

    Instead, it’s a list of reasons why Russian drivers are more likely to have a dash-cam fitted than drivers in other countries. Even if drivers in Russia were as safe as anywhere else, the other factors (police corruption, evidence to get justice in insurance/assault claims) have apparently motivated a “camera craze”, which results in the capture of more crash footage.

    If the cameras were as popular in the US, for example, there’s little doubt a similar length compilation couldn’t be assembled in short order.

  49. 49
    Krasnaya Koshka

    To be fair, some of the most popular shows here are Americans driving like maniacs. “I could never drive in crazy America!”

    When I first moved here I was terrified by drivers. In Saint Petersburg, Russia, you can drive on sidewalks. You can park anywhere you want.

    Yes, Russians nearly all have cameras in their cars because of police corruption. That’s true.

    If you have a camera, you’re less likely to be waved down by a random inspection. I think that’s more what they’re there for. Not accidents. you’re less likely to be asked for 500 rubles ($15) for absolutely nothing at all.

    As an American living in Russia I’m more freaked out by the crash aftermath. The first time I saw a lethal car accident weirded me out so much that I’ve not recovered.

    The woman was ejected from her seat and lie in the road. She was not covered and the tow truck was already taking her car away. I thought she was a mannequin. No she was dead. Out there in the road. Fucking freaky.

    My gf (who is Russian) explained that they first call Immediate Help (an ambulance) but if the person is dead they have to wait for the dead body evacuators. But she was not even covered up. THAT to me is way worse than stupid drivers in Russia .

    Russian people have only had access to cars very recently. You can’t judge them by American terms, as far as driving.

  50. 50
    Krasnaya Koshka

    Koshka @ 45 – I have no clue who your friends are in Russia but they’re certainly not mine.

    “a low value on life” — wow. The people I know (and y’know, actually speak to, in Russian) would heavily protest.

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