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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Trip to Dachaland: Fraught With Perils

Spring is here and soon we'll be into the summer season which means that many drivers won't just be driving from their houses to their offices, but will occasionally venture beyond the Ring Road to get to their dachas or just to tour around the Moscow region for fun.


Roads in the country outside Moscow are getting better, but there are still some hazards you should watch out for if you plan to drive beyond the Ring Road.


You should beware of any trucks you encounter. Russian drivers never fix their cargo properly and sometimes things fall off the back as they go along: A clod of manure will damage your self-respect and you'll have to wash the car, but a brick could be lethal.


You should also watch out for muddy tracks left by cars and tractors coming off the verge onto main roads. If you try to stop the car as you drive over them, you will lose control unless you have an Automatic Braking System. These tracks can be even more slippery than winter snow.


Tractors in general are also very dangerous -- many drivers don't have driving licenses and are often drunk, so give them a wide berth.


You should also know something about the habits of different animals you may encounter as you drive through the villages. Dogs are likely to run barking after any strange car in their territory but they will never actually run under your wheels. Cats are more unpredictable -- if you see one crossing the road it is better to slow the car down. A cat can jump in any direction very quickly and while a skid may not be lethal if you aren't driving too fast, you may end up taking a trip to the car repair shop. Drunks, by the way, tend to behave very like cats on the road. Pigs and hens will get out of your way if you toot the horn. A goose -- never.


Roads under repair are also a big hazard. Usually they are covered with gravel and you can shatter your windshield. My advice would be to keep your speed low and stay well away from other cars. Sometimes the gravel is fixed onto the road with a black gum or tar. This can be very dangerous too -- it's as slippery as glass.


If you are driving at night and you are sure that you are driving in the right-hand lane but nevertheless see a pair of headlights in front of you, you should slow the car and turn right, pulling up onto the shoulder if necessary. It means that the driver in the opposite car has fallen asleep. Many good and experienced drivers have been killed in just such a situation.