Are you planning a trip to Ukraine in the near future? Are you thinking of seeing the country in your own vehicle preferably, in a rented one? If so, there are a few things to bear in mind.
Imagine you are driving on the Odessa-Kiev four-lane highway – two lanes going in each direction. You're already accustomed to the holes in the road that suddenly pop up without a warning. You realise that the large majority of your fellow drivers seem to be totally unaware of road signs and speeding regulations. For some reason traffic slows down and the two lanes come to a stop. There must have been an accident further up the road, you think.
What do you think your fellow Ukrainian drivers do?
(a) wait patiently until they can drive on?
(b) use the virtually non-existent “extra” lane on the right-hand side of the slow lane?
(c) use the “green lane” that separates your fast lane from the fast lane of the oncoming traffic?
(d) use the fast lane of the oncoming traffic?
Believe it or not, all alternatives are correct.
Some drivers will obviously wait, but only those who can’t get out of their lane(s). Those who can, will use either of the two additional lanes, or, more specifically, the one that is easier for them to get into. The most daring drivers – and there are many of them – will cross the “green lane” and occupy the fast lane of the oncoming traffic, no matter what.
The moral of the story is this: Don’t be surprised when you're in the fast lane if someone comes driving towards you, in your lane – as the name of the lane suggests, very fast! This kind of flexible driving is very common in Ukraine.
Mind you, the highways are in much better condition than the roads in the countryside. Don’t expect to cover more than 30 kilometers per hour, though. In addition to the holes in the road, you will find other obstacles, like cows.