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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The above copyright stipulation does not apply to the photograph of and by Rick Steves.

The British Pushed Euro-NCAP Standards Forward but Now There’s a Problem

David Ward, the Secretary General of the Global New Car Assessment Programme, has written an excellent article outlining the history and challenges of the U.S. NCAP and Euro-NCAP that is extremely well worth reading for anyone with a serious interest in vehicle safety or in road safety in general.

Top-10 Safest *Used* Cars, on a Budget — UK & USA

Buying a safe second-hand car at a reasonable price is always a challenge; the very fact that they aren’t the latest models immediately mitigates against them, and of course the older a car is, the more this typically counts against it.

Volvo V40 XC  (Photo Volvo Cars)

In Britain, safety experts Thatcham Research have collated the results for cars which cost under £15,000 to buy second hand, have a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and CO2 emissions below 120g/km.

One thing of great interest is how much safety can be added by means of extra ‘packages’ at the time the car is first purchased.  See Nos. 1 and 10, below.

In all countries, it is immensely wise to consult the relevant NCAP safety ratings, which in Britain is Euro-NCAP.  Here in the USA, check these links, and make sure to check the correct year of manufacture for any used-car purchase you might be interested in:

Top 10 safest used cars in the UK now

  1. Volvo V40 with IntelliSafe safety pack (2012-)
  2. Mazda 3 (2016-)
  3. Toyota Auris (2015-)
  4. Volkswagen Golf SV (2014-)
  5. BMW 2 Series Active Tourer (2014-)
  6. Volkswagen Touran (2015-)
  7. Volkswagen Golf (2013-)
  8. Nissan Qashqai (2014-)
  9. Peugeot 308 (2014-)
  10. Volvo V40 (2012-)

Full UK source article, from Auto Express