The Road King: How the Mysterious Russian Soul Views Traffic Rules

In Russia, traditionally a couple of bonuses accompany the rights and duties of every human, two ideal opportunities for self-assertion–the family and the road. Some moralists say: “The roadway is not the right place for self-affirmation”—well, they got minus one bonus, and we can only pity their relatives…

So, the road. This is not just a way to work or the grocery store—the Moscow road is a way to the real you, such esoteric stuff. The Moscow road is the place where people shed masks and are exempt from their sorrow. It is an opportunity to endlessly (and almost with impunity) exercise all the levels of contempt for the rules, morality and people around. Because, sorry, but the rules are not for ordinary people. May those who invented them—follow them, and we will look after. Let us, ordinary people, continue living by the rogue rules of the streets.

“I think Muscovites don’t like to drive a car and therefore they do it so-so, to say the least.”

“What does it mean?”, you might ask. When it comes to the road, it means that if you see a cool car you give it a road; if you see sleepy pensioner in the left lane, you cut in front. If someone doesn’t give you a path—overtake him and teach him a lesson. Are you a girl?–Park bravely through five bands, you’re a woman so it’s allowed.

The good news–courtesy also becomes a rule of the streets. Imagine: you say “Only after you,” and someone replies: “Thank you, God bless!”. On the roads, people communicate using a system of simple signals. People are just like cavemen, and they hold it dear much more than a variety of trendy goods.

In general, I think people don’t like to drive a car and therefore they do it so-so, to say the least. It’s like with food and sex: if you eat without pleasure, everything turns into fast-food.

After the mysteries of the Russian soul, the second difficult puzzle for a newcomer would be trying to determine why motorists in Moscow don’t use turn signals? The answer is: it’s tradition. We drive intuitively and move according to the illumination of that mysterious ‘Russian soul’. He’s a good driver, one who can guess what will happen on the road three moves in advance. Isn’t it great to be a little prophet in a large homeland?

…But one day the prophet becomes a pedestrian…

Paragraph 17.3. Chapter 4 of Traffic regulations which says, “Make sure that the output of the roadway is safe and their actions will not create pedestrian barriers for vehicle traffic.” is perfectly followed only by stray dogs, I’m afraid. The human-pedestrian strongly believes that he is invulnerable, and, of course, no one but he is the most important character on the road. And to declare that somehow, he is waiting for the green light while dangerously hanging on the edge of the curb; and stepping on a crosswalk, as a sign of his power, wearing a hood and headphones; and if the pedestrian is a mother with child, then she rolls the stroller in front of her.


Pedestrians are the most disparate traffic participants. Sensing danger in the middle of the street, one always runs forward, and the other always goes back. The third may be frozen, and that one is the most dangerous.

The most close-knit members of the road movement are bikers. They usually go over the blade aisle, weaving literally between life and death, which is why they were able to develop such a strong tradition of mutual help in the community.They present an almost perfect self-regulating civil society. While standing at the traffic lights bikers always greet each other, even if they are not acquaintances. They have their own emergency commissioners, accident monitoring, first aid and legal literacy school.

The “Moscow Motodonors” organization can provide the whole city with donated blood for nearly a week without advertising noise. I am pleased to give a path to these guys, and day by day that fashionable trend of the season–cyclist loyalty–gets more and more adepts. If we are irreconcilable motorists and motorcyclists have started to be friends on the streets of Moscow, it means that a bright future is already here.

“He’s a good driver, one who can guess what will happen on the road three moves in advance.”

To finally be warmed in the glow of Moscow’s humanity and kindness, I got stuck at a busy intersection. Stalled. And the miracle of disinterested assistance descended in the form of three Caucasian guys ready to push, to recharge the battery and wait as long as necessary, politely entertaining me with funny stories while I’m fixing things. I enjoyed it so much that the next day I stalled again and a good girl named Masha driving a Volvo XC90 was recharging my battery until a police officer separated us. And that’s not a euphemism.

On the roads of this city someone will always come to the rescue. And the one who cut in front of you today, perhaps will help you start your engine and move on tomorrow.

About Mikhail8 Articles
Showman at ceremonies of birth, death and marriage; Photographer of everything living; Loves water more than the cup.

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