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are portuguese drivers the worst in the world?

The Greeks drive with one hand on the horn and the other hand on their horn. Bangkok is bedlam. Cairo is chaos.

One of the first things a foreigner notices about Portugal is just how bad the drivers are, and how many accidents you see. It’s a talking point amongst us, and if you think this is just a bit of Portugal bashing, you’re wrong. It is a deadly serious issue.

Driver behaviour and in turn, road fatalities, shape the reputation of a country. Do we think of Greeks and Italians as hotheaded, Germans as aggressive and volvo drivers (or Scandinavians) as boring and safe? The individual who drives dangerously endangers the lives of others. In the main the victims are men: 75% of road deaths are male and under 35. Road fatalities are a meter of a “civilisation”. Responsible governments improve roads and have campaigns to reduce road deaths.

6-countries-against-eu-10-y

2009 data - blue is the EU average

So what’s wrong with Portuguese driving?

1. Extremes of speed – it seems half the country is driving way too fast and the other half way too slow.

2. Tailgating.

3. Failing to indicate.

4. Failing to Give Way.

5. Lack of understanding of how to use a roundabout. It doesn’t help that the country is built on roundabouts of multiple lanes, totally superfluous given the size of the population. Whatever happened to good old fashioned traffic lights? Even a three year old knows that green is for go and red is for stop.

I’ll bury the lead right now and say that statistically speaking, the Portuguese are definitely not the worst drivers in the world. You are far more likely to be killed on the roads of Africa and the Middle East, no where more so than in Libya, Niger and the United Arab Emirates. Not even within the EU does Portugal look bad. Almost all the Eastern European EU newcomers have more fatalities.

Of course not just driving skills are responsible for road deaths. The quality of the roads and the age and safety of cars obviously have a part to play. However, neither of these factors explains why Portugal does fair badly compared to Spain, France or Western Europe generally. Here’s a rough summary, including a few other places for interest’s sake:

road-deaths-by-population-1

2010 data

Only Greece lives up to its reputation – I’d never have guessed that the Belgians or the Poles were raging petrol heads, but there you are. As for the US, well that’ll be just another shame.

Now to Portugal. Actually Portugal is doing very well to reduce what used to be a truly horrific record. It has the greatest reduction in deaths in the EU over the last 10 years. Still, every life is worth saving and it does give a country something to be proud of. Given the economic disaster Portugal finds itself in right now, I can’t imagine that road deaths are really on the government’s mind. But it should be, because as other countries have discovered, traffic policing not only brings down fatalities but it is a nice little revenue earner. Here’s how it works:

Road accidents cost about 1 -3% of a country’s GDP. So in Portugal’s case a mere 1% equal €1.8 BILLION euros. Oh yeah. As I said, let’s reduce traffic accidents.

evolution-2000-2009

About half of all fatal accidents involve drunk drivers. Let’s start there. In a google search about effective policing to reduce road fatalities the state of Victoria in Australia got a mention in several places.

In 1977, 49% of all drivers killed in Victoria were found to be in excess of 0.05% (alcohol in the blood in a blunt sense). By 1992 that figure had been reduced to 21%. What the government did was set up an independent body called the Transport Accident Commission, which took over the governance of compulsory third party insurance, paid by drivers. They raised the levies on third party which helped to pay for some of the most exceptional TV commercials of the time. Then they programmed the random breath testing units run by police on the streets. It rested on the principles that it be highly visible; rigorously enforced so as to ensure credibility; was sustained; and well publicised. The success of the programme to reduce drink driving in that state spread to other states. These days, if you drink and drive you can expect to be caught.

eu-27-road-deaths-2009

2009 stats

TAC´s second agenda was to reduce speeding, which they believe was accountable for about 40% of fatal crashes (in the UK it is apparently believed to be about 5% and elsewhere on the internet about 30% – but obviously you’re better off hitting something doing 15kms/hr than 150kms/hr if it’s survival you have in mind). Along with their blanket quality advertising campaigns, the widespread implementation of speed cameras, red light cameras and police radar got them profound results.

netherlands

a little message from the netherlands

Victoria achieved record low road tolls in both 2008 and 2009, some of the most impressive reductions in the world at that time. Newspaper reports credited a co-ordinated and well-funded campaign that focused on higher risk young drivers, more aggressive policing, increased police activity, random breath testing, and in 2009, a 50% increase in the use of mobile speed cameras.

The Victoria government forecasts that a revenue of A$245 million (about €176.5 million euros, from a population of 5.5 million) will be raised from fines levied on drivers breaking Victorian road rules, a large proportion being from speed limit enforcement, in 2011.

I’m not advocating a police state, and there’s been quite a bit of argument against the use of speed cameras, especially in the UK. But for a country where speeding is obviously a major issue, I can only see speed cameras doing some good. As for government revenue, in New South Wales, Australia (pop. 7.2 million) the government were reported to have raised $350 million (€252 million euros) over the previous five years from speed cameras.

If you’ve got an ethical issue with cameras then why not go the way of France who in some areas prosecute drivers for speeding using an average speed calculated from timestamps on toll road tickets.

another-world-graph

2009 data

Like Victoria, there’s room for revenue raising in Portugal from compulsory third party insurance, which is comparatively low in Portugal. Larger vehicles especially seem to get a disproportionately easy run. If you’ve happened to look at caravan insurance quotes over summer you’ll know what I mean. I’m a firm believer in penalising commercial trucks too, for their carbon emissions as well as being a greater danger on the roads than other vehicles.

So there you are. If you think the Portuguese are really bad drivers then you should get out more. After all, they are bloody patient and polite when they’re not in their cars. It’s just a matter of perspective, and a matter of time until their fatalities toll competes with the best of Europe. Congratulations Britarians, you do have one of the very best driving records on the planet, but possibly the also the best record for whingeing as well. And you Australians too, pompous little asses.  It could be worse, you could be in Greece.

Driving in Portugal? If you need a rental car… click!

35 Comments

  1. Steve Masters September 21, 2011 9:03 am Reply

    One of the key factors in the poor driving in Portugal is the road layouts. Especially on motorways, you get exit ramps and on ramps within the same stretch of 100 metres or less; poor warning signs to help you know when the lane you are in is about to become the wrong one when it’s too late; most of the population never learned to negotiate roundabouts or the value of indicating; whats more, the roads themselves are not safe at speed in places.

    There’s a part of the VCI in Porto, just before the Antas turnoff approaching the FC Porto stadium, where the road suddenly turns right and the camber changes, leabing you towards the concrete barrier. The barrier and the road beside it are full of scratches, gouges and cracks where cars at speed have, without warning, gone head over heels as the road basically causes an accident.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 21st, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    Oh yeah I’ll say… what’s with the entry/exits of major roads being the same lane, or having some entries having their own lane and some where you have to stop but there’s no stop sign? All a bit difficult to illustrate in words but yes the road layout and the signage is rubbish.

    [Reply to comment]

    http://www.portugaltraveltips.co.uk

  2. Paul September 21, 2011 9:12 am Reply

    Hi Emma, I acknowledge the Portuguese road fatality numbers, but you have to analyse also and include Australia in your statistics. Here in Australia we live with the same problems and I suggest that you verify the road death fatalities in australia, many from alcohol and drugs. Where we live there is one intersection and no body knows the give way rules, also I see people driving along in a fast lane all the way after over taking failing to return to let others pass. If Australia was as demographically compact as Portugal, it would be a blood bath on the roads. Plus have you forgot the rudeness and arrogance of the drivers in Sydney. Fights at traffic lights are very common with people even being killed and the finger (the bird)is constantly out. Lastly the roads in Australia are in an appalling state a nightmare for bikes.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 21st, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    um yeah, i did include australia in the stats actually. take another look. Australia’s road toll is half of Portugal’s. And what’s all that stuff about Victoria???

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  3. Katharina Keil September 21, 2011 3:37 pm Reply

    I think it all has to do with the training and education to get a driver licence. For example, it shouldn’t be a parent to begin with:

    A. you learn their mistakes
    B. they are not objective and emotions get in the way.

    Like surgeons…they are not allowed to operate their children.

    The focus is more safety for cars, better roads etc. but not enough is done in teaching to drive properly, especially in the ‘developing’ countries like Africa, India and China (have a look at their fatalities….horrifying).

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 21st, 2011 at 6:41 pm

    Yes absolutely, kat. I forgot to put in something about learning to drive. Firstly it’s too expensive for young people and it’s my theory that you have to learn young. Secondly there needs to be more formal training – and surely the schools here must be shit so I propose they all be shut down and the police run a driving school. Therefore it’s state run (cheaper???;)) excellent for police-community relations (ie hopefully you meet a police person who’s not a shithead) and you get to hear from the horses mouth about what’s legal and what’s not. And would they teach defensive driving?

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  4. Helder September 21, 2011 8:33 pm Reply

    Good idea to use police in traffic schools – sounds worth exploring.

    [Reply to comment]

  5. Richard, Leeds September 21, 2011 9:14 pm Reply

    Emma, I can only comment on personal experience, not a knowledge of stats (nice charts by the way). Excessive speed is always a factor the experts say. And Portuguese drivers are speeding (but aggressively speeding, if that makes sense).

    Holidaying and driving in the western Algarve 4-5 times a year tells me that Portuguese drivers are also massive risk-takers. High speed and trying to overtake on blind corners. Overtaking trucks on narrow winding roads (even my rudimentary language skills can work out what ‘vehiculo longo’ means!) Not to mention the old classic – overtaking four cars at a time rather than the traditional one (call me old-fashioned). And signposts are simply ignored.

    Tailgating is rife as you mention. And I agree with your impression about one half going way too slow: normally older drivers in old cars which are barely road-legal.

    Road rage seems to be increasing – (talking to ex-pats they are mainly 35-55 year old males – midlife crisis a factor? The current economic situation will only make this frustrated group worse. I should know – I’m in this group!). An English friend in Aljezur had a guy overtake, stop in the middle of the road and threaten him with a spanner – all because he stuck to the speed limit and slowed his-nibs down.

    As a Kiwi I know the same culture exists in NZ – virtually identical. Also – I saw somewhere that South Africa has the highest road death figures? Is there a clue here? Is macho culture the link? I know rugby is increasing in popularity in Portugal: maybe there’s a macho driving gene at play.

    All this is worrying: I love the Portuguese lifestyle and culture and especially the warm, generous people. Given the heavy reliance on tourism (as do most countries), I think this could be ‘shooting yourself in the foot’. I think tourists may be put off returning, driving and car-hiring in Portugal; this will affect the economy. As usual, a minority are causing death (and other problems) unnecessarily.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 22nd, 2011 at 6:45 am

    Yes indeed I was shocked about New Zealand who I see as such mild mannered folk – and South Africa was at about 33 per hundred thousand – which makes me wonder if this is a subject for Portugal at all.

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    James   Reply: February 8th, 2012 at 6:28 am

    @Richard, Leeds,
    See my post below. I grew up in SA and thought since I lived here that the driving was similar. When I went back there recently I realised that Portuguese are muuuuch worse. It was pleasant/unpleasant surprise. You are right though, it’s all a macho thing. Although, I did get nearly run off the road by a woman the other day – the attitude spreads like a virus.

    [Reply to comment]

    James   Reply: February 8th, 2012 at 6:30 am

    @Richard, Leeds, Oh and the high death tolls in South Africa are due to the mini bus taxis that drive up to 20 people at a time all around the country. Most of them are unlicenced, un-roadworthy and not adverse to risk. With so many people reliant on this mode of transport it increases the death rate. 🙁

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  6. Gustavo September 22, 2011 3:22 pm Reply

    Greetings Emma,

    could you be so kind to please direct me to your estatistical sources?
    I would find it professionally useful and most appreciate it.

    Regards,
    obrigado,

    ~Gustavo

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 24th, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    Gustavo, the stats came from many sources. I started with wikipedia and eurostats.eu which led me to CARE and a few other places which only had 2009 data. Then I searched country by country (usually in their own language) to find reports of last years’ numbers. Mostly I used local census or statistical sources, or if they came from news reports I cross checked them with a government website or something scholarly. The numbers of road fatalities were cross referenced with wiki’s population statistics and so I arrived at the deaths per hundred thousand. All the stuff about Victoria and NSW either came from RTA or TAC, but there also was an academic paper about programmes worldwide for reducing road fatalities, which gave me the idea to use the victorian example.

    [Reply to comment]

  7. Alyson September 22, 2011 10:24 pm Reply

    Hi – interesting post!
    I like the fact that villages out here often have a ‘speed detector’ at the start of the village and then a corresponding traffic light system in the middle – so if you speed at the start of the village then the lights turn red and you are forced to stop!
    Simples!
    and you are right about indicators and roundabouts – no chance! You sort of slow down and guess which way you think they are going to go! 😉

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 24th, 2011 at 8:54 pm

    yeah those traffic lights for “nothing” are great fun for newcomers… until you see people going straight through them and then the game is blown 😉

    [Reply to comment]

    http://www.algarveblog.net

  8. Warren September 22, 2011 11:35 pm Reply

    Hi Emma, been reading your blog for over a year now and thoroughly enjoy it. I moved to Lisbon in January and couldn’t agree with you more on the driving in Portugal, which can be both amusing and terrifying. I have to say that there is a general courtesy when it comes to queuing, which has pleasantly surprised me since I came here. Yet, apart from this, I’m still amazed how a country of generally reserved, laid-back, mild-manner people can sometimes turn into lunatics when sat behind a car.

    I can’t work out who these people are either. Everyone I know takes life at a slow speed and are never in a hurry. Who are all these people racing about, tailgating, honking horns, flashing lights? Where are the in a rush to get to? I don’t see it on the streets, I feel like I’m the hurried maniac when walking around Lisbon!

    I do find it amusing that it’s generally accepted that when traffic lights turn red then you still have another couple of seconds to get through the lights. I’m still intrigued by that odd continuous line that it’s sacrilege to cross at junctions on the motorways. I’m now used to the one second gap between a light turning green and some car behind you honking away.

    However, it’s the general acceptance of drink driving and the tailgating that are quite worrying. Why oh why oh why do people think that sitting two inches off my bumper, flashing their lights while I’m in the process of overtaking someone on the motorway is ever going to help the situation?!? I like to think I’m a competent, confident driver, yet even I’m unnerved by this behaviour. Sadly it also does seem that drink driving isn’t taboo, which it now is with my generation (30 somethings) in the UK . I’ve actually got into three taxis in the last two months in Lisbon where the taxi driver has been drunk, unbelievable really.

    Will it change? I suppose only by education and enforcement by the police. Saying that, the first accident I saw in Portugal after moving here was a police van that ploughed into the back of a car in a residential street in Lisbon…

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 24th, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Warren, that is it in a nutshell!

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    James   Reply: February 8th, 2012 at 6:24 am

    I’ve always thought the reason they drive so fast and impatiently is because they have been so laid back at their previous engagment and are now late for the next one…

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  9. Ana Teresa Campaniço September 24, 2011 10:38 am Reply

    I can’t say much on this topic, since I don’t own a car to begin with, but being a portuguese I know all too well how bad some of my compatriots drive and how scared it often leaves me (I often say many got their license in the cereal box).

    I read in a book (“The Portuguese”, by Barry Hatton) that says the portuguese are very dual and compares the drivers to the forcados, fearlessly facing death in the face and leaving the rest to fate.
    I can’t help to find that comparison true, especially since I know that behind that gentle and friendly front we’re a bunch peaceful anarchists, as the book called us (seriously recommend it, it explains a lot about our nature. And the “Homens, Armas e Tomates” as well. It really illustrates how insane we were during the Discoveries).

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: September 24th, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    nice observations ana – and I like the idea about the discoveries, that their is an insane force in the portuguese psyche… and these days it has no where to go, except to the shops 😉

    [Reply to comment]

    IsabelPS   Reply: October 16th, 2011 at 6:52 am

    @Ana Teresa Campaniço, oh yes, the old insult:
    “Saiu-te a carta na farinha Amparo?” 🙂

    [Reply to comment]

  10. Pete October 13, 2011 7:46 am Reply

    Knowing Belgium, that Belgian road death mystery can partially be be explained (I have a friend who is a traffic news announcer on Belgian radio). There’s the fact that the country has a very high density of traffic in what is very tiny country: the major roads are filled with freight from all four corners of Europe, and handle a lot of cargo entering at the big ports in Antwerp and Rotterdam. Rush hour on the Brussels ringroad is a disaster, mostly due to the business parks of all those EU headquarters. On top of this, you have a big cycling culture (=far more green, but also more fatalities), and quite a few drug driving deaths linked to the clubbing culture of the Low Countries (=large out-of-town clubs, drivers off-their-faces at 2-5am on weekends). There are also simply a lot of nutty drivers in Belgium too!

    Portugal’s road deaths should however be very low, as so much of the country is so empty, and the weather/visibility issues (fog, rain, long winter nights) are less of problem. The fact that they still score among the worst in Europe reflects the knee-jerk perception: that on the whole the Portuguese become a little maluco behind the wheel.

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  11. fernando mateus October 25, 2011 7:34 am Reply

    Have you ever drove in Houston Texas?

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: December 6th, 2011 at 7:19 am

    well, no…

    [Reply to comment]

  12. Horacio Marteleira December 4, 2011 9:59 pm Reply

    As a Portuguese-Canadian living in Peniche, I’ve come to the following conclusion about the bumper-car mentality of Portuguese drivers:
    Countries are like people, they grow up and mature. 40 years ago Portuguese were riding mostly bicycles, motorcycles and donkeys…put a car in their hands and you’ve got a bunch of excited kids going rrrmmmmm behind the wheel…”look at me, I got a new toy!”
    As the thrill of novelty wanes so do traffic accidents.

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: December 6th, 2011 at 7:13 am

    yep, that’s spot on.

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    fernando mateus   Reply: December 6th, 2011 at 8:50 am

    they need some practice, a full generation.

    [Reply to comment]

    http://www.zentozero.com

  13. Amy January 27, 2012 2:54 am Reply

    I am an American living in Portugal, In the north. I have been here for 2 1/2 years now. This is the seacond time (6 months before).
    Starting with the American stats of car accidents. First of all we start driving at 16. So there are many mistakes made and many deaths because of them. You also start learning at 15. Which is way too young. Secondly the limit for drinking and driving is much higher and the penalty is lower than it is here in Portugal.
    I do feel that the Portuguese are crazy drivers but there are many factors also. The quality of some of the cars on the road for one. Some are too nice and some are not nice enough. In one lane people are going way too fast but in the other lane people are going way too slow. So either way if you are somewhere in the middle of those speeds you will have someone that is going to plow you down or you have to quickly switch lanes and slam on your brakes. It is scary. More so on the days with the heavy rain.
    As for the circles, from what my friends tell me I think different teachers taught them different things. She was told the oppisosite I was. As most systems go they are not all on one page.
    One thing I do find in the citys is how calm the drivers are. (Maybe it is just the people in the North. But usually they tend to be very clam about the crazy things) When people are double parked or leave their cars in the middle of the road they don’t get crazy. They just wait their turn to go around. If you have you binker on you can leave your car anywhere.
    I have learned to go with the flow and have become used to it. There are still many days I am amazed at the driving and parking that is done.

    [Reply to comment]

  14. James February 8, 2012 6:20 am Reply

    I was overtaking a car on the A2. I was going pretty fast and had checked that I was free to get into the fast lane.

    I checked my rear-view mirror a few seconds later and all of a sudden there was a guy right there, taking up my entire mirror. He was going so fast that he hadn’t been visible in my mirror only seconds before – I’m sure you’ve had this experience.

    I got such a fright, a wave of cold tingling over me. I then got angry and gave the guy the finger as he over took me.

    His girlfriend saw me do it, notified the driver who then pulled into my lane and hit the brakes. Obviously some attempt to display his manhood.

    I couldn’t believe it. Somehow I managed to brake in time. He then indicated to pull over and he went into a garage telling me to join him. I drove on, my wife was scared out of her wits and had no idea what was going or why.
    I’ve never seen anything like it. How could anyone in Europe be so stupid and primitive? He was willing to risk the life of several people (it was busy long weekend traffic) to prove a point, a tiny meaningless point. Surely they all know that tail-gating is wrong and so if someone tells them off for it they should sheepishly apologise and back off – apparently not.

    I realised from then on the Portuguese were on another level.

    I always thought that the South African and Portuguese drivers were fairly similar. However, on a recent trip back home I was interested to see how chilled everyone was on the roads.
    Likewise, a friend recently came back from Rome, which has a reputation for having the worst drivers, and felt comparatively safe.

    All factors considered, location, culture, education, socio-economic etc I have no problem saying that the Portuguese are the worst drivers in the world.
    The necessary authorities don’t do anything about it because you can be sure they want the freedom to drive like that themselves.

    Imagine how much money could be raised in Portugal if they just policed speed and dangerous driving and drink driving more efficiently? They would raise more on fines and save more on fuel, road maintenance and of course hospital bills.

    [Reply to comment]

  15. mblopes February 7, 2013 7:59 am Reply

    This is absolutelly right. Portugal has awfull drivers, i think a lot of people here think they can drink and drive – it is also a “cultural” issue here – they are irresponsible and sometimes the blokes think they are heroes of the road. The badly designed roads also contribute to this. I had accidents caused by others due to this. I had enough of this and i dont think it will be solved in the next years. Portuguese drivers (well the most of them) are awful.

    [Reply to comment]

  16. Elisabete February 25, 2013 10:10 am Reply

    I was born in Portugal, but raised in the UK. Have lived in the USA for over 16 years. Whenever I go to Portugal to visit my parents, I’m absolutely horrified by the incredibly, emotionally immature people driving about. The scary part is that this is practically the norm there. It makes me wonder how these people will behave in a serious economic/climatic crisis, because how someone drives speaks volumes about how they value/respect the lives of others, and of their true, inner nature as an individual. In fact, it makes it so that I have never wanted to live there. I’m a very experienced driver, not a slow, fearful one. I don’t believe in endangering the lives of other people or animals. Well, hopefully more Americans, British, and people from countries where citizens are more “grown up” and evolved (at least the majority), continue to move to Portugal and start having more influence on this (and other) ridiculous, dangerous, primitive behaviour. To be honest, I often think Portugal is wasted on the Portuguese, it’s such a beautiful country, and for the most part, its people don’t care about its natural beauty. They have only just started to in recent years because they want to use it as a money-making, tourist magnet. People visiting/living there, need to speak up about any issues. The Portuguese need to take a good look at themselves because they are an absurdly proud, nationalistic people who still identify themselves with the glory of the days of the discoveries (so what, every nation has a history of some great triumph, it’s the now that counts most). They need to face up to their bad habits, which quite frankly, make them look like stupid, arrogant morons. If anything, perhaps the greedy government can start to impose rigorous fines on traffic crime. Tailgating at high speed should be a crime, severely punishable, as well as the driver permanently losing his/her drivers license. There should be zero tolerance for idiots who deliberately endanger the lives of others!.

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  17. Tim June 24, 2013 7:29 am Reply

    Hi, driving in Portugal is awesome, I first did it in 1997 with 18years when my friends and i rode in all the way in from Germany in an antique S-Class (1978, bought for 500 Deutschmark at a scrapeyard, yet the portugesse adored / and respected it)
    Driving in Portugal was crazy as batshit, they just didn’t care for nothing (Because of their depression??!). There where crashed motorycles lying in the street an no one would care,they’d just drive around it, there was overtaking with oncoming traffic!!! (we did this too, awesomly irresponsibly but it worked, the oncoming just braked or went on the shoulder). After 1997 I drove to Portugal in 1998 and 2004/2009 and this year. Traffic dicipline is much better now but they really don’t now how to use the indicator in the roundabout, then they are always tailgating and impatient( also women), dangerous overtaking is still there etc. but they now wait for people at pedestedrian crossings. That is amazing!!! Even we Germans have forgotten that this is mandatory.
    Also Portuguese are only fast in on the straights, do some good driving in the bends and the tailgator is normally gone!

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  18. mike June 6, 2014 6:27 am Reply

    Many drivers seem not to know what a pedestrian crossing is! Yesterday I was crossing a pedestrian crossing right in front of the entrance to the Lisbon Airport departures hall and a driver decided he would try to pass just in front of my, but instead drove over my foot. Luckily for me he was driving a smart car and not a hummer, otherwise he would have broken all the bones in my foot. When I banged on his rear window to complain he got out and waved his fists at me threatening to punch me. He did not speak English, and I don’t speak Portuguese, so we did not get very far, but when I mentioned the Police and made a telephone gesture he backed down. Before letting him go I stood in front his car to take a photo of his number plater and mug-shot while he revved the engine. Unfortunately I was in a rush and did not have time to report him to the police – there were many witnesses and given that it was at the airport, the incident was probably caught on CCTV. Take care when crossing pedestrian crossings, even in places you would have thought drivers would be more careful!

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  19. Paulo April 23, 2015 2:14 am Reply

    Wow.Why do you live or go there if it is so catastrophic? It is interesting to see how people respond to this blog post. Emma, why don’t you just leave?

    [Reply to comment]

    Emma   Reply: April 23rd, 2015 at 11:35 am

    @Paulo, because the bad driving is nothing compared to all the great things about Portugal!

    [Reply to comment]

    http://www.thetingoat.com

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