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7 Important Driving Lessons Gleaned from Russian Dash Cams

7 Important Driving Lessons Gleaned from Russian Dash Cams:

If you’re ever having a bad day and really need a laugh, Google these three little magic words: Russian dash cams. Aimed out of the front windshield, Russian dash cams are an all-seeing, unblinking eye into a world of perpetual stupid.

For instance at :51 secs a water truck gets cut-off and launches into the sky.

Welcome to Russia!

They say driving is the most dangerous thing you do everyday. Roughly 40,000 Americans die every year in car accidents. Of course, there are bad drivers all over the world. But driving in Russia looks like one of the most life-threatening things one can ever do. It’s like a giant game of GTA played irl. I’d rather clean New York City subway bathrooms with my tongue than drive in Russia in the winter.

Thanks to the highly dangerous combination of snowy, icy roads, ignorant, selfish and inebriated drivers, plus a mix of poorly maintained vehicles, the country has a driving culture that seems to be based on the idea that one’s attention is not required to navigate a speeding motor vehicle.

Russian roads are home to stupid-fast high-speed collisions, trucks that overturn and spill cows all over the road, phenomenal surprises like meteors lighting up the sky and flat-out WTF moments like a tank crossing the highway. Russian dash cams are the world’s best advertisement for what happens when surprise and human arrogance collide.

The first use of a dash cam in a car was 89 years ago. Back in 1926, a dude from the NYFD attached a black and white film camera to a fire engine and recorded its speeding drives to the fires. Manhattan traffic in the 1920s was a mix of trolley cars, produce trucks, horse-drawn wagons and cars like the Ford Model As and Model Ts, which makes it not unlike Russia today.

You may be wondering: Why does it seem like every car in Russia has a dashboard cam?

Mostly, it’s to protect from scam artist pedestrians who like to pretend they were hit by a car so they can sue the driver for damages, and the dash cams provide evidence that a car accident wasn’t a driver’s fault since full coverage auto insurance is cost-prohibitive in Putin’s Russia. If you want the whole story, this Russian kid explains it well.

Funny as they often are, Russian dash cam vids are more than just a good laugh. They’re also a master classes in safe driving. If it can happen, it will happen on a Russian road. So, until we turn the keys over to the robots, let’s watch some vids and see what we can learn to help us get home safely.

Oh, and “Oy blyad!” is Russian for fuck.

You’ll hear that a lot.

If You Drive Like An Asshole, Mickey Mouse and SpongeBob Might Kick Your Ass
A pissed-off driver races forward and cuts off a mini-bus. He steps out of his car and tries to start shit with the bus driver. That’s when things get hectic. Mickey Mouse, SpongeBob SquarePants and a few of their friends hop out and gangster stomp the angry driver. Don’t be that guy who gets gangster-stomped by children’s cartoon characters.

Stupid Left Turns are Ill-Advised
The statistics make it clear: left turns are a great way to commit suicide. Exhibit A: this poor lady. She cheats a corner and ends up going through the windshield. But it’s not as bad as it sounds. She’s seems like she’s OK for having been ejected from her car like a jack-in-the-box.

It also works the other way, like, when a driver makes a legit left turn but someone behind them doesn’t anticipate the move. If there’s one word that determines safe driving, it’s anticipation. Don’t ask “Would another driver do that?” Instead, ask, “Could that vehicle physically cross my path especially if the driver has been drinking vodka for nine days straight?” If so, anticipate that possibility. This driver does not anticipate this truck even though he lives in Russia and should damn well know better.

Of course there are also the times when you’re doing everything legal. The way looks totally clear. But then – Boom! This car appears out of nowhere like it’s doing its best impression of Nightcrawler from the X-Men. Seriously, try to work out where this car came from and how it enters the intersection.



Look As Far Down The Road As You Can See To Avoid Hitting Downed Power Lines or Crashing Into People Having Sex
The safest thing you can do is try to see everything around you. Have your head on a swivel. In Russia, the roads are poorly maintained. The crumbling infrastructure means that sometimes things like power lines will fall down into the roadway. This is why you always want to watch not only the road but the road’s surface, as well. Otherwise, this.

You never know what’s out there. This dude almost gets killed in a head-on collision. He swerves to avoid it and safely slides off the road. That’s when his headlights illuminate a couple having sex in the middle of nowhere. Fact: This is exactly what every shy teen boy thinks will happen to him if he has public sex in a park.

Avoid Bad and/or Drunk Drivers Like They’ll Give You Gonorrhea
There are times when, no matter how far down the road you look, it doesn’t matter. The danger is happening right in front of you. This 18-wheeler loses control and heads into oncoming traffic, which makes me think that if the Russians ever do invade the U.S. like in Red Dawn it should just send 50,000 18-wheelers onto I-95. We’d surrender in about 10 minutes.

You Should Always Expect The Unexpected
Sometimes you get lucky. You’re sitting far enough away from the danger that you can marvel at how crazy a crash it is–like, this truck slowly crashing through a fence, and rolling over the edge of an embankment, so it can park in a river. Never forget: Gravity loves you! It wants to hold you tight to the Earth. Even if you’re a truck.

Never Get Out of Your Car To Fight Another Driver Because They Might Have An Axe As you can see, this guy has an axe. And he knows how to use it. When he spots the motherfucker he’s looking for in traffic, he goes full Paul Bunyon on the dude’s car. You want to avoid angry men with axes as often as possible. Anywhere. That’s just good life advice.

Even if you have a weapon and you get out looking to give the other guy a little lesson in driver courtesy, don’t be surprised if they have weapons of their own. You never want to be the guy who brings a bat to a hatchet fight. (Does everyone in Russia keep an axe in their car?)

You may be a badass. Let’s say you get out of your car and start wrecking shop on the other driver. But while you’re busy giving him lessons in manners with the aid of your boots, don’t be surprised if another driver jumps in. This old dude gets pummeled by a young guy with a bat who decides to get involved. It’s bad when a good Samaritan beats you like a piñata. Fun starts around the 1:00 mark.

Or maybe you know you’re a badass. But what happens when you get out of your car to give the other guy a free ticket for a trip to Fist City, and that’s when you see that he’s so damn big he could tear down a tree and beat you with it? Instead of getting embarrassed by a guy with a pituitary problem, maybe count to ten. Focus on your breathing. Let the anger pass. You’ll want to go to about the 1:05 mark.

The Most Dangerous Thing About Driving Is All The Other Drivers
In this vid, a car breaks down on the highway. That always sucks. You know what sucks even more? When the next car slams into the back of you and both cars instantly burst into flames. You don’t want that. As much as possible, always clear the road if you’re breaking down. Especially in zero-fucks-given Russia.

Then there are other times when you’re minding your own business, like, you’re pumping petrol at the gas station, when suddenly two trucks come crashing in and try to crush you, as if you thought that was a way you could ever die.

Oy blyad!

Zaron Burnett III is a roving correspondent for Twitter: @zaron3

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