Tuesday, 7 December 2010

lane discipline

paris edges sarah
The only times I've had taxi crashes have been in Paris.

Twice, plus my latest - an attempted ramming from road rage.

The first time was several years ago. There were three of us travelling together in a taxi back to the airport. The taxi driver was stuck in the usual bouchon Parisienne and the traffic was stop-start. We were all chatting and then suddenly there was a thump as our taxi bashed into the car in front. Much arm waving and general shouting, whilst we passengers looked on in some bemusement. No damage to anyone although I've no idea about the cars. We somehow continued after a less than five minute pause.

Then another time, when we were staying around Montparnasse pour le Weekend. The taxi was cutting through back streets towards our apartment and somehow cruched into a car that was trying to reverse park. We'd already seen another car doing one of those space making manoeuvres where it gently nudged the cars either side to get out of a space. On that occasion we decided to get out and walk the rest of the way.

This time it's been a rather ambitious taxi driver. I don't think he was the one I'd ordered but my destination was sufficiently far away to make him 'forget' who he was picking up. "They don't tell me the names..." etc.

We had some busy sections to drive along and the driver was using the wrong lanes on purpose to make the distance quickly. I began to wonder if he'd be able to get back onto the route we required, when he suddenly pulled sharp left into a traffic flow.

The car drivers behind were rather upset.

Two of them decided to box him in or push him back into the other lane, effectively to a different destination. Dodgems with small french hatchbacks. Renault rage.

My West African driver was having none of it and decided that winding down the window would make it easier to shout at the other drivers.

I decided it was best to avoid eye contact as I shrank back into my seat. In a few minutes we were back on our way, the driver had resumed his continuous phone conversation and I'm sure regarded the whole situation as a regular part of his daily life.

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