There are several aspects of driving in Europe that make it challenging for me as an American. For starters, the signs are in other languages, and the images don't always make sense. "Do Not Park" looks to my eye like "Do Not Enter." They also don't seem to know about automatic transmissions here, putting additional responsibilities on your brain as you try to figure out how to proceed in precarious situations. In America, when cops at an intersection outstretch their
In America, .08 is always the cutoff for DWI and any citizen has the right to refuse a BAC test. Here, DWI rules are vastly different in every country and police have the right to use physical force to compel you to take a breathalyzer or blood test - meaning they can no-kidding beat the hell out of you with no repercussions. And DWI usually leads to imprisonment in the arresting country, regardless of what country you are from. In America, traffic going in opposite directions is separated by a yellow line. Here, there are no yellow lines.
This is where I messed up. I only made one mistake while driving in Prague. I made a left-hand turn into oncoming traffic on a one-way street. Since all the lines are white, I had no idea what I was doing until it was too late. I immediately pulled onto an adjacent road where I could follow the appropriate direction of travel, but it was too late. A cop had seen me. He came around the corner and boxed me in with a perpendicular position, flashing lights and a "NEE-NUR NEE-NUR" siren. He spoke passable English and understood me as I apologized profusely for my error. I explained that I had made a mistake, and he assured me it was a "pretty big mistake."
I gave him U.S. Drivers license, my Euro-License and my Military I.D. At the time he only took note of the Euro-License and went back to his car. I think he saw my vulnerability as a foreigner. He returned to my window and told me I had to pay 200 Crown (a very small fee for an American). He told me this was only payable in cash and had to be paid on the spot. I could be wrong, but I think he was soliciting a bribe.
Welcome to Europe.