Road Rage in Dordogne

I just had a quite terrifying experience. I was driving north on the D704 at about 19.00 this evening, with my daughter in the car. My car is a voiturette and cannot go over 45 km per hour. This annoys some others. A woman behind me tooted her horn and I tooted back and waved in the mirror. There was no place to pull over to get out of her way. She just had to wait for a bit, I thought. It was just north of Saint Rabier.

The possibility came for her and others behind me to overtake me. I made sure to be as far to the right as I could be and they passed on by. Suddenly, as the other cars were still overtaking, the woman stopped her car dead in front of mine, in the middle of the road, and opened her car door. I braked hard and swerved around her and continued on. She jumped back in her car, passed me, and did it again -- stopped in the middle of the D704, just in front of me, and opened her car door, getting out and shouting at me. Again, I drove on by, narrowly missing an oncoming car.

A third time, she passed me and braked in front of me, opening the car door. She was oblivious to the other cars careening around her. Again I passed by, not daring to stop, 1) as I thought she was dangerously insane and 2) I was afraid some huge truck would come along and kill us all.

She jumped back into her car and was close behind me, getting ready to do this crazy thing once more, when I told my daughter to take a picture of her car, showing the license plate. When my daughter turned around and held up her phone and took the picture, the woman seemed to be annoyed, swerved off on the road to Clédat, and disappeared.

Truly, I have never encountered road rage before, and certainly did not expect to do so in the countryside. My little car is easily recognisable and I must say I feel very vulnerable, now. Will this madwoman spot me one day in the supermarket car park or at the petrol station, and once again play some dangerous and vicious game?

Beware of a very battered, maroon Renault Safrane, on which the passenger door does not close properly, with a plate number that begins with 45, driven by an older, unkempt woman.

I must try this on the narrow lanes near our house... especially when Mr white van man is heading towards us at great speed!!

Great story Karen!

Both my cars are RHD. I always find you get a good reaction in narrow country lanes when the passenger covers their eyes with their hands when approaching oncoming traffic. :-)


I had an interesting experience with a driver when my husband and I were returning from a lovely day at the coast. In a happy mood we had music playing in the car and I was 'dancing' my arms around to the music as we went along. Suddenly the car in front of us started behaving a little erratically slowing down and sharply breaking right in front of us. The passenger turned and kneeled up in their seat and started gesticulating at us. Due to the erratic behaviour we attempted overtake the car to get out of its way (we were on a dual carriageway) and they matched our speed to stop us/shout at us. The passenger started waving his phone at us and shouting he would call the gendarmes and waved his hands in imitation of what I had been doing... I then realised that he thought I was driving at 90kph without my hands on the wheel... I calmly pointed to the steering wheel in front of my husband (we were driving a RHD car) and the other guy sheepishly sunk back in his seat and the car slowed to let us pass!!!

You carry on Martha! You've just as much right to be there as anyone else. Being a "glass half full" person, I do not automatically assume that the voiturette in front of me is a drunk. People need to learn that having a licence does not make one superior.

Dashboard camera, every time...

Tracy, thank you for your encouragement. As I just wrote below, at the end of the thread, I am not someone who lost her permit via drunk driving, but one of those little old ladies who never learned!


Ugly or not, my car is legal and I was following the law. Your response smacks of "blaming the victim" of bullying. I was doing nothing illegal nor even antagonistic, as I had pulled to the side to let others overtake as soon as it was possible. No, if you are suggesting that the woman behaved like a lunatic because she did not like the idea of voiturettes and that is my fault, then you are saying that any other reason for dislike that she might have had -- say the colour of the car or its make -- would also justify her behaviour and would also be my fault. And that is untenable.

Norman, judging from her behaviour, she could have been the daughter of the woman who threatened me. Perhaps it is a Brive thing?

Goodness! I have been away and did not realise how many replies were building up here. Thank you, everyone. To reply to the comments about the voiturette:

Yes, I know that many are driven by people who lost their permits because of drunk driving or other offences. I'd say about half have voiturettes for that reason. The other half are little old ladies who never learned to drive, and I fall in that category. When young in the 60s, I hitch-hiked everywhere; when older, I lived in European capitals and used public transportation. Somehow, learning to drive just never happened. Getting a voiturette was so much cheaper than all the other options.

For those who are impatient with the fact that they have a limit of 45km per hour, please know that the cars are legal on all but routes nationales, so can travel on routes departementales, communales, etc. legally. Having said that, I make an enormous effort not to create a long line of cars and trucks stuck behind me: I pull over where possible to let others overtake, I go two or three times around roundabouts to let others go ahead, and I always stay as far to the right as possible.

Learning to drive in my 60s has been an astonishing eye-opener to human nature: most people become appallingly selfish, rude and aggressive when behind the wheel. I have no idea why machines turn us into such monsters, but it seems that they do.

Thank you again, everyone.

James, I assume you are being a touch ironic? Actually they were illegal for all except the police then (your point?). In my time in Russia and the Baltics I was in several cars that were fitted with voice-warnings for speed traps etc. although I never fitted one myself. On one notable occasion we were nonetheless stopped, and although the driver denied he had one fitted, the dam' thing started telling him about the speed trap we were already in! Never trusted these things since - or much technology to tell the truth, but that's an age thing.

Talking of which and reminding me of my own early days of motoring in the UK in the late 50's when I often had to drive from London to Doncaster in my company Ford Anglia (flash eh?) capable of 75mph downhill with a following wind, on the gloriously numbered A1. Single lanes both ways, and the days of lumbering trucks that never seemed to get past 40mph at best with belching diesel fumes and no chance to overtake.

Now THAT really was Hell on wheels!

weird, definitely needs "anger management" classes.....though I do sympathize at times, but just move to the right and let people pass. If you can. If not able to, the situation should explain itself. :-)

people driving slow in the fast lane during rush hour is where I lose it lol.

I jolly well would, if I could catch him up!!!

Tell that to Romain Grosjean

In defence of French drivers, their motorway driving & lane discipline is excellent compared to "the Brits". I have recently driven from Plymouth to the most northerly part of Scotland & back en route to the Orkney Isles & was amazed that, despite the Lib/con government's blustering about stopping it, the majority of drivers still succeed in turning a three lane motorway into a dual carriageway by hogging the middle lane. As an aside, imagine if you will, a voiturette on that 150 miles of purgatory known as the A9!

What I've noticed here in 64 is that the "another car in front of them" problem only applies to non-64 registrations. Having several times driven a vehicle here which has subsequently been 64-ed, I've noticed the difference in behaviour every time. As soon as you are "one of them", you're "in the club" and no longer need to be hassled. :-)

Véronique, I think there is a psyche thing with French men (in particular) that simply cannot accept there is another car in front of them. I have never noted this in any other country I have driven in - despite the fact that there are complete idiots in most.

What has surprised me here in France however is the new, to me, aggression I see in female drivers. Not just the young as I have described but seemingly of all ages. Drawing this to the attention of my French wife should usually have got the usual 'black v white' response* but it didn't and she actually agreed with me which is significantly different enough to be worthy of comment on its own.

*This describes the usual syndrome of diametricaly disagreeing with everything I say and automatically taking the opposite position.

I get trouble from 'lads' and occasionally older men, but also offers of help, for some reason. Trouble on the road as they HAVE to overtake me in spite of not having the engine power (leads to hooting & rude gestures and dangerous driving on their part) and offers of help when I park, old men materialise from the pavement & smile a bit creepily & say 'je vais vous guider jeune fille' through the window (oooh!! Jeune fille!!! moi!)

I think this is because I drive a VAN and there's an element of "my one is bigger than your one" and they have to go faster than I do on principle and are grumpy when they can't. Or maybe women shouldn't drive vans, what do I know.