It’s been three months we’ve been wintering on this i-dot of an island in the middle of the Med. Regular readers will know that for us it was love at first sight. We still love it and will be enjoying at least another three months or so here before sailing on towards Crete, Rhodes and Turkey. However, now that the rosey glasses have been taking off, allow me to have a good old winge. It’s the traffic here… In other words, near-suicide.
Without a sensible reason, the average Maltese is the proud owner of – not one, not two, but – THREE cars. Given the mere 316 km2 and population of close to half a million, this means, ways too many cars on the roads. Seriously, with twenty plus countries I’ve lived in, I’ve never been stuck in traffic jams as much as here. Worse. I’ve never seen as many road accidents – from benign to fatal – as here. Whilst driving in Rome or Buenos Aires might be nuts, at least there’s rules. Whether they are respected or not is a different kind of post, but they do exist and people know about them. Malta doesn’t seem to have any. Things that are every day road-occurrences include
- The car in the inner circle of a three lane round about exiting the round about without indicators hoping that by ignoring the rest of the traffic it’ll all be ok
- One care taking up three lanes by driving criss cross across them so no-one else dares coming close, let alone pass
- Pedestrians having to cross in the middle of a high way
- Parked cars in already tremendously narrow roads (never built with cars in mind) only passable by driving with one side on the pavement and both side mirrors flipped inwards
- Active mobile phone users driving ‘on the side’ pretending pedestrians and other traffic participants don’t exist.
I’m told to pass a diver’s license here all you need to do is drive forth and back through two road cones. Wouldn’t surprise me! Watch out though, parking is a real art in a steep rock in the sea where some roads can be so steep it’s a miracle your car doesn’t flip backwards. So far our little Volkswagen’s only received a scratch aft as Argentinean drivers (ignore my looks towards dear hubby) don’t deem head turns necessary to double check for any black spots not visible in the mirrors… but we’ll keep the focus of this post on Maltese traffic, as opposed to inter-cultural marriage issues. Drive safely – and wherever you are, know it’s most likely more fun and relaxing than here!