In Majorca, there are just 2 key problems with driving I believe:
1) Lane discipline.
2) Aggressive Driving (mostly by younger males).
Lane discipline (or lack of it) is a major contributor to accidents. Starting with the way that the Spanish are taught to drive. I understand you are TAUGHT that when approaching a roundabout on a two lane road (such as the main road through Inca), if you want to turn right you take the right hand lane; to carry straight on, you take the right hand lane; to turn left - YOU TAKE THE RIGHT HAND LANE - thus cutting up any person foolishly taking the left hand lane to carry straight on! In Spanish driving instruction, when would you EVER use the left hand lane (of two) when approaching a roundabout? This lane discipline anomaly seems to have extended to driving in the middle or outside lane on the motorway (whether the inside lane is free or not), waiting for the final countdown markers on the motorway before cutting someone up to get off the motorway, contractors closing the lane of a motorway around a bend - giving just 100m notice etc.
Anyone who has driven on Mallorcan roads will have witnessed the aggressive divers, at least once, on almost every journey. Perhaps this is just accepted - but it is a MAJOR factor in road deaths. When this typically red-blooded Spaniard encounters someone committing a lane discipline error, they will under-take at breakneck speed or drive on the rear bumper of the offender in an attempt to bully them to change lane. The slightest braking action of the car in front will invariably lead to the aggressive driver (in the slipstream) flipping himself over and spinning the car in front. The aggressive driver is the one who will not wait in the slow-moving queue on the inside lane of a motorway to exit - they will drive past the queuing vehicles and attempt to cut someone up at the last second. The problem is when they cannot - they are left stationary in a running lane, just waiting to be hit at speed by another vehicle. I would suggest that police concentrate on targeting these aggressive drivers with cameras, giving stiff fines and bans to get the message that this sort of driving will not be tolerated. As for lane discipline, this needs an awareness campaign and maybe even driving tests every 10 years.
Address these issues and the road deaths will decrease significantly in my view!
Dr Mark Masters
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