American and Foreign Driving Styles

My Foreign Husband’s Driving Used to Terrify Me
My husband is now a very good and safe driver. But MY GOSH it used to scare me to get into the car with him. I remember actually thinking that we might get divorced over his driving. He drove how people drive in his country. Here, that got him numerous speeding tickets, a wreckless driving ticket, and at least one minor car accident! This cost us thousands of dollars…not only the tickets and accidents, but of course, he made our car insurance SKY high–twice as much as any of my friends pay:( But now it’s much lower because about 3 years ago he changed his style. I think a judge told him he was about to go to jail. Finally, that made him understand that it wasn’t just ME being picky. THANK GOODNESS.

Driving Is Different In Other Countries
Having lived abroad and visited many countries, I already knew that Americans are pretty careful drivers. We may speed, big-time, but for the most, we pay attention to stop lights, avoid jaywalking on major streets, and stay in our own lanes. People in MANY other countries don’t do this. And if a driver there did, it would cause issues on the road. My husband is from one of those places.

It isn’t as if a person grows up in one country, then his or her driving style magically changes when he moves to a different country–I am sure some people do, but I know many who haven’t!!! And this can cause a lot of conflict in relationships for many reasons:

1) Speeding and wreckless driving tickets that cost a LOT of money!

2) Insurance that gets more expensive with each ticket!

3) Fear on the part of the spouse used to a more relaxed, rule-following type driving style. When a person is afraid, this doesn’t bring out his or her kindest moments.

4) Wrecks happen when a person doesn’t adjust his or her driving to the place they are in–even between big and small cities in the same country. Wrecks are extremely stressful for couples for obvious reasons.

5) Parents have double the issues because of fear about children riding in the car with the spouse who drives wrecklessly–also family members comment about it, of course, and try to avoid being in the car with the “dangerous driver.”

6) It’s very hard to continue being patient when one person (ME) constantly has to suffer the financial and emotional consequences (meaning stress) of the one who refuses to change. It’s also embarrassing in public and around family or friends who happen to see any little driving incidents, like bad parking or speeding.

Gotta Give Some Things Up
I understand that the foreign spouse has to give up many, many things. When i lived in Moscow, I changed so many things just to avoid seeming freakish to people around me. No more sweatpants outside, for example. No more smiling at people while walking down the street. It gets hard. But ya know, driving is just one of those things that can cost TOO much.

I am very happy my husband changed (and that we didn’t get divorced over his driving.)