One of my favourite past-times here in Kosovo is to observe general road/driving behaviours, and I have decided that it's time to share some of my observations with you. Fasten your seatbelts (ha, oh man, who saw that one coming??!)
Rule 1: The first rule of driving in Kosovo is there are no rules.
However, here are some general guidelines:
Guideline 1: do not feel obliged to use your indicator. The orange flashing light at the front and back of your car is only for use "should you feel like it". Do not in any way feel that this may help you or other drivers in understanding what is happening around you. Should you decide to use your indicator, do not feel that if you are indicating left, you should actually turn left. Indicating left and turning right is not a problem.
Guideline 2: overtake whenever you feel like it. Do not concern yourself with considering whether or not oncoming cars will be in your way should you wish to overtake a vehicle. You can cross that bridge when you come to it.
Guideline 3: driving the wrong way down a single lane track is perfectly acceptable should it allow you to reach your destination two or three seconds quicker than using the official alternate route. Again, please do not feel the need to take into account oncoming vehicles.
Guideline 4: if you do generally observe road guidelines, do feel free to take Sundays off.
That's just a little taster of the joy and privilege that it is to drive here. I am thoroughly enjoying the chance to drive in the dark down busy main roads with no street lights or pavements, the challenge of seeing the road ahead and missing pedestrians is really enhancing my driving skills. Also, I really enjoy the relaxed approach to road maintenance and the fact that a road does not need to be laid to be open. And my absolute favourite bit of the main road here into Pristina is the bit where instead of the outside lane of the road there is a man's front garden. Apparently he wouldn't sell the land so they just built the road around him. Why not?
And lastly, I would like to share a story with you from this last week. While driving around a busy roundabout, a car emerged from in front of a bus which was just to our right dropping off passengers. The car was indicating left so we slowed down to let the driver do whatever the driver was thinking he (further observation - very few women drivers around here. That's the reason people look at me while I'm driving, nothing else) would like to do, and we watched as the car drove round in front of us. And we watched and watched and watched until Eileen said "there's no driver in that car". And she was right, the car was in fact driverless. There was no driver. So the car continued to roll out into the middle of the roundabout causing mayhem and chaos and as we extracted ourselves and headed off down the road I looked back and watched a man running across the roundabout yelling and waving his arms. Bless. I wonder if he will begin to employ the handbrake any time soon?