Before we begin, I’ll just mention the reason “Russian” is in quotation marks is because some of the accidents occur in Asian countries and also happen in the USA…but the majority of them appear to be from Russia. An excellent source is the “Idiots on Wheels” YouTube channel, although there are many other videos out there waiting to be run across (run into?).

That being said, watching a lot of the dashcam compilation videos has not only convinced me that I never want to drive in Russia (or be a passenger in a car, or even cross a busy street), but it’s also made it very clear that a lot of drivers (and a few pedestrians) don’t understand some basic rules of the road so, for the sake of my reading audience, I want to pass along what I’ve learned in random order:

1) PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD: So many crashes are caused by the driver simply failing to pay attention to what is going on around them. Note the distance between you and the car ahead of you; if the distance shrinks, it means you’re getting closer and perhaps you should consider easing off on the gas – and perhaps hitting the brakes – instead of continuing at speed and rear-ending the poor bastard.

2) PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT OTHER DRIVERS ARE DOING: If you’re driving along a multi-lane road and the cars in the other lane have stopped, you might want to consider that perhaps the reason they’ve stopped is because something is blocking their progress – maybe a car is turning left across their bow, or maybe a pedestrian is crossing the street? No matter the reason, if you keep driving along without taking into account that you might hit (or be hit by) something, you’re likely to have an accident.

3) BLIND INTERSECTIONS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND: If you can’t see that you have a clear field of action to make your turn, pulling out with reckless disregard for reality probably isn’t going to end well.
a. If you’re on the side of the road and are trying to merge back into traffic? Yeah, you may want to bear in mind that checking to make sure the coast is clear is a really good idea.

4) A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING MAY, TO YOUR SURPRISE, HAVE PEDESTRIANS IN IT WHEN YOU TRY TO BLAST THROUGH: This is related to rule #2 when a multi-lane road is involved, and rule #1 comes into play as well. There’s a sub-rule as well…
a. Pedestrians, take note – just because you’re in a pedestrian crossing, it’s no guarantee that you’ll make it safely across: Look both ways and never assume that an oncoming car sees you and will stop for you.

5) NEVER TRUST THAT A TOWING VEHICLE, OR A TRUCK CARRYING CARGO, HAS THEIR LOAD PROPERLY SECURED: Leave a good distance between you and said vehicle so if that aluminum dinghy comes flying at you, there’s a possibility – however remote – that you can swerve to avoid it hitting you.

6) DRIVE AT A SAFE SPEED FOR THE CONDITIONS: Rain, snow, ice, whatever…almost all of the drivers are driving too fast for the road conditions and when shit hits the fan they can’t react properly…there are some clips which show someone avoiding an accident in front of them but because they lose control of their vehicle while swerving, they go off the road or end up hitting someone else.

7) CHECK YOUR MIRRORS AND YOUR BLIND SPOTS: Dammit, people, stop changing lanes because you “have to” without making sure the space you’re trying to get into isn’t already occupied by another vehicle.

8) RIGHT OF WAY MEANS NOTHING UNLESS THEY GIVE IT TO YOU: So what if the guy one lane over is trying to cram into your lane when there’s not enough room unless you brake? Is not letting someone in more important than having to deal with the aftermath of an accident? Is your ego really that fragile?

9) ASSUME THE WORST: You’re in the left lane, approaching an intersection, and a car in the right lane decides to make a left turn in front of you without warning? If you’d been suitably paranoid you’d have been ready for the possibility and perhaps you could have avoided getting crunched.

10) TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE THERE FOR A REASON: Sure, there will always be drivers who blow through yellow and red lights…but do you need to be one of them?
a. Even if you have the green light, keep your eyes open when going through an intersection as you might be able to see and avoid the asshole that is running the red.

11) DON’T DRIVE ALONGSIDE TRUCKS IN ROUNDABOUTS: I’m not sure how common roundabouts are in the US, but I’ve driven on enough of them in Canada to know that being alongside a big truck when they’re going around a curve is a risky proposition. In fact, most of the roundabouts I’ve seen have signs which specifically warn drivers not to drive alongside trucks in roundabouts.

12) IF THE ROAD IS VERY NARROW WITH LOTS OF CURVES, SLOW THE HELL DOWN: While it’s possible that someone coming around a blind curve may still hit you, at least your dashcam video will show that you were trying to drive safely. What’s that – you don’t have a dashcam? Well, perhaps you should think about getting one.

While there are more lessons to be learned after watching these videos I’d say that a baker’s dozen is enough for now, so I’ll leave you with this final thought:

13) IF YOU SEE AN ACCIDENT HAPPEN, PULL OVER EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INVOLVED AND SEE IF THERE’S ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Of course bear in mind that once you’re out of your car you’re even more vulnerable to the idiots on the road, so exercise caution when rendering aid.

Happy Driving!

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