When abroad you have to adjust to the local ways but these Dutch slip roads are driving me crazy!
I visit The Netherlands (no not Michael Jackson’s playground but somewhere often referred to as Holland) frequently for a business trip. After flying into Schipol Airport in Amsterdam I have to under take a one and a half hour (to 2 hours) drive north to my base for the week.
Getting out of Amsterdam and off the busy ring roads is really the main challenge for the start of the drive. The roads then become relatively quieter and tend to be dual carriageways (two lane highways). I think most of the 3 lane motorways in The Netherlands are around Amsterdam and Rotterdam.
The challenge of driving abroad doesn’t end there though. The flaming slip roads are nuts in my view.
Don’t get me wrong, my general impression of Dutch people is favourable. I find most of them friendly and accommodating. Some come across as cocky and aloof but this is not universal. They all come across as organised and sensible people. So why are Dutch slip roads so blinking dangerous?
The vast majority of countries I travel in have a fairly standard layout for slip roads. You have a one road leading off to exit the main road. Then further down the road you have a another road leading onto the main highway with joining traffic.
This traditional style can be found across Holland but certainly not as an overwhelming majority of junctions.
In The Netherlands there are many slip roads which are two in one, effectively the road leading onto the highway is also the road off!
If you imagine a road in a kind of semi circle shape which touches the main road. Heading up the slip road you are entering the main stream of traffic. At the same time, the main flow of traffic has vehicles trying to join your road trying to exit the main highway.
On top of all this you have varying speeds from a two lane highway. The Netherlands is like most other countries I visit, many people don’t stick to the speed limit which drives me nuts!
Cars on the main highway trying to exit are slowing down to find a space to get onto the off road. You are crazy not to slow down since some of the slip roads have a very short entry point. I’ve seen some with only around 100-200 yards to exit!
If you add to the mix cars on the slip road trying to join the main highway. They are accelerating; so it is a real push and shove to get into place. Even the Dutch people I’ve spoken to about this agree it is crazy. They say that these roads do cause a lot of accidents.
Another frustration of mine is peoples attitude when they are on slip roads. In the UK if you are on one of these roads and are about to join a main road then you do not have right of way. These are the slip road rules. Many people ignore this rule and just force their way on, irrespective of the faster flow of traffic. This is highly dangerous and can force the main flow of traffic to brake harshly or even worse cause accidents.
I don’t know the exact slip road rules in The Netherlands but there seems to be some jockeying for position on and off slip roads.
The first time I drove in The Netherlands I found this issue to be an immense frustration. Driving back to Schipol I encountered one of these junctions on the outskirts of Amsterdam. The traffic was very heavy and people were queuing to get off the main road and people queuing to get on. The traffic was flowing albeit at a slow pace.
It was manic and somehow I just couldn’t manage to push my way into the slip road. I missed my exit.
This was in the days prior to Satellite Navigation. With only written instructions I had to try to navigate my way back. Sometimes it is not quite as easy as turning around at the next junction, especially when it is a motorway. There is no telling where a Dutch slip road may take you.
Driving abroad has its challenges as it is. Different road signs, knowing the right of way (it does differ between countries), adjusting to speed limits and so on. The Dutch slip roads are driving me crazy though. They strike me as ill thought out and down right dangerous.
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