Rick Steves is Criticized for Dangerous and Illegal Driving Tactics in England

It is obviously important for all drivers heading for foreign shores to learn as much as possible about the relevant driving laws and requirements, before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle in the country being visited.

A ‘selfie’ screenshot of American television personality and travel expert Rick Steves driving, from the video he shared on Twitter (Image: Rick Steves)

Living in New York State, as we do, my wife and I are fans of Rick Steves ‘Europe’ travel shows — they are fun, and he’s often likably goofy in his presentations. But in many years of watching him, we have never before seen him do any blatantly illegal and unsafe driving.

The M6 Motorway looking north, and here still in Lancashire rather than Cumbria, about 30 miles south of where Rick Steves was filming himself, presumably with a cellphone, while driving. (Copyright image, 2014.)

Ironically, the section of motorway where Rick did his filming, just north of the Sedbergh Road interchange (M6, Junction 37) was one of my old patrol areas during my time on the Traffic Patrol department with Cumbria Police. So Rick, I have to tell you that you committed at least three separate offences!

  • Having a hand-held electronic device in your hand while driving — in this case clearly to record video;
  • Eating while driving (although that is just implied from the preparation, as shown in the film footage); and
  • remaining unnecessarily in the middle lane on the motorway. (Yes, people do it all the time in the USA because reprehensibly they have not been taught the dangers associated with this behavior, however when combined with America’s tacit approval of passing on either side on divided highways, it undeniably is a factor in the much higher highway death-rate in the USA than the rate for such in Britain.) The relevant British phrase is ‘lane discipline’ and it applies to all lanes at all times.

Article: American travel writer slammed for videoing M6 journey from Blackpool to Cumbria on phone

These are the same hills that Rick Steves was about to drive through, and in different weather conditions, but this is the so-called Tebay Gorge and the Howgill hills from the north, whereas Rick was approaching from the south. (As always, all of our photographs here were taken from the passenger seat!) Copyright image, 2014.

On a lighter note, Rick, your rental car was not ‘Airbag‘ as you said — probably just in jest — it was a Citroen. And while you said you were heading first to Windermere, then to Keswick, you had missed the exit (Junction 36) for Windermere!

If any of our U.S. or Canadian friends or readers are planning a trip to Britain and will be driving while there, please read the UK Highway Code first.

The A66 ‘trunk road’ at Threlkeld, Cumbria. (Copyright image, 2014.)

If Rick continued to Keswick (which has a silent ‘w’ – say ‘Kezzick’) from where he was shooting video, rather than turning back towards to Windermere, he passed through my own home valley of Threlkeld, just one of the many beautiful valleys in the English Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and the most visited national park in the world.

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Author: EddieWren

Eddie Wren is the CEO and Chief Instructor at Advanced Drivers of North America. His driver safety background is given at: http://www.advanceddrivers.com/ceochief-instructors-resumecvbio/

3 thoughts on “Rick Steves is Criticized for Dangerous and Illegal Driving Tactics in England”

  1. Aaaaaarrrrgh!!! A middle lane driver!! What is it about the middle lane ? The section of M6 that Mr Steves drove along, especially north of Lancaster often has quite low traffic levels and there should be plenty of opportunities to drive in the nearside lane (lane 1). The UK Highway Code specifically states that drivers should drive in lane 1 unless overtaking. This advice is often shown as a reminder on the digital text signs which are now all over the motorway network so there is no excuse for not driving on the left side of the road.

  2. Hi Eddie – nice photo of the A66. You might not be aware that the A66 is now one of the “most dangerous” (high risk) roads in UK due to the high KSI rate over the past few years.

  3. Just managed to see the video. What a plonker!! He’s very lucky he wasn’t caught by a traffic cop. He would have faced an immediate £200 (US$ 250) fine and 6 points on his licence for using a handheld device while driving, not to mention getting a caution about driving down the middle lane. Can I advise all potential visitors from USA to UK, if you are going to drive in UK get acquainted with the rules. As Eddie say, read the UK Highway Code. It’s available online at no cost so there’s no excuse if you get caught.

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