Crossing the Road

It shouldn’t need to be said, but a reminder here will cost little and could saves lives. The driving habits of Russian drivers are erratic at best – it remains perfectly possible to avoid the hassle and costs of taking driving lessons, then studying for and passing a driving test as we do in Europe, North America and Australasia, by simply purchasing a driving license from a corrupt bureaucrat. Combine this lack of technical driving skills with a real mix of car ages and conditions, roads shared with buses, trams and trolleybuses, sometimes appalling weather conditions, a not negligible tradition of heavy drinking, and major thoroughfares which can easily be 8 or 10 lane highways , and you can see how crossing the road could potentially be the most dangerous thing you will do on your trip. A large amount of driving you will see on the roads is unpredictable and illogical to western eyes. and whereas a western driver will give priority to a pedestrian in almost any circumstances, you cannot assume this will be the case in Russia. 

Scared yet? Good, you should be. Do as 99.9% of the locals do, and do not attempt to cross the road unless the pedestrian lights indicate priority. Even then remain aware of your surroundings, don’t get lost in conversation or trying to dodge the ice flows in the street, but keep your wits about you – thousands of people are reported to die each year in Russia in accidents which occur on pedestrian crossings. Better yet, look out for the signs indicating a pedestrian underpass (perekhod) which display a figure walking down some steps.