No, you're not imagining things, Russian drivers are inordinately good at capturing highway drama as it happens. There's no better example than the multiple amateur videos of the 10-ton meteor that crashed to Earth in Russia on Friday, exploding over the sky and injuring hundreds in the process.Marina Galperina explained the Russian dash-cam phenomenon last year:
So far at least two stunning videos of the meteor's bright trail and then burst of brilliant light have hit YouTube and, if numbers and the laws of averages have anything to do with it, more are surely to emerge.
In Russia, everyone should have a camera on their dashboard. It’s better than keeping a lead pipe under your seat for protection (but you might still want that lead pipe).My favorite entry is this:
The Russian courts don’t like verbal claims. They do, however, like to send people to jail for battery and property destruction if there’s definite video proof. That is why there’s a new, growing crop of dash-cam videos featuring would-be face-beaters backing away to the shouts of “You’re on camera, fucker! I’m calling the cops!”
Dash-cam footage is the only real way to substantiate your claims in the court of law. Forget witnesses. Hit and runs are very common and insurance companies notoriously specialize in denying claims. Two-way insurance coverage is very expensive and almost completely unavailable for vehicles over ten years old–the drivers can only get basic liability. Get into a minor or major accident and expect the other party to lie to the police or better yet, flee after rear-ending you. Since your insurance won’t pay unless the offender is found and sued, you’ll see dash-cam videos of post hit and run pursuits for plate numbers.
The Ru CHP LiveJournal community is where all the major crashes, fights and deaths are aggregated. These are followed by a barrage of troll comment threads. Vicious stuff. Sometimes seeing a BMW and its driver pulverized by an oncoming truck while the Internet makes jokes is good driver’s ed. Additionally, before YouTube diligently deletes most of the road rage videos–lest the sensitive Americans be traumatized by seeing people screaming “I will kill you bitch” and pummeling each other in the head with steel pipes, crowbars and car wrenches. Ru CHP also backs these up on a Latvian server.
To better understand and navigate this community service, here’s a Russian Dash-cam Video Thesaurus for the blog tag cloud. It is comprised of purposely misspelled hick and thug slang and phrases used sarcastically…while people die. Ah, Russian humour.
кетай как всегда пиздец – “China is always fucked.” Clips from China that feature severe crashes and frequently feature passerbys ignoring the bodies and car debris.This bit's for the Alaskans and former Alaskans on my flist:
But there are moments of humanity among the crashes, in between the skidding, the burning, the kicking. There are dash-cam videos with happy endings. At a city accident scene, you could see as many as twenty cars pulling over, drivers running out to the scene. And then there are the resolutions, a sort of “brotherhood of the road” moments–forgiveness seen only on long-distance highways, far out of city limits, especially between truck drivers. This comes from the recognition of the fact that on a 300-mile stretch of uninhabited territory, help can only come from passing vehicles and not emergency services. Most Russian long-distance routes East of the Ural Mountains are that way. There is really only one highway like that in North America: the Western Canadian to Alaskan Stretch of the Pan-American Highway.So I want a dashcam now, not least because one of those hit-and-lie accidents happened to me in Somerville a couple of years ago.
But I think I'll leave driving in Russia--and China--to people who live there.