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Belgians are the most stressed drivers in Europe, study says

If you thought Belgians were polite, law-abiding drivers … think again!

Sixty percent of Belgian drivers go too fast in road works and more than half of them “forget” to use their indicators, according to a study published Tuesday by the foundation Vinci, which looked into dangerous traffic behavior around Europe.

Only 47 percent of Belgian drivers view themselves as calm behind the wheel, while Spaniards top that ranking, with 69 percent of drivers considering themselves relaxed.

According to the study, more than half of Belgian drivers also honk aggressively in traffic (ranking equally with Italians). Of those in the surveyed countries, only the Spanish and the Greeks honk more than Belgians.

The study also shows that while 9 percent of drivers in Europe acknowledge they drive while underestimating the influence of alcohol, that number rises to 19 percent in Belgium. The Vinci study was carried out by the French statistics institute Ipsos in 11 European countries in March.

Greeks are the champions of insulting other drivers, followed by the French and Germans. Poles admit they most frequently get out of their vehicles to argue other drivers, followed by Italians and Greeks.

Meanwhile, the Belgian traffic institute Vias on Tuesday called on Belgium to introduce a driving license with penalty points as soon as possible.

According to the study, “Belgium is lagging behind at the European level when it comes to monitoring and punishing so-called minor traffic offences, which are not as minor as all that, since they include speeding up to 160 km/h on the freeway […], driving while intoxicated […] and the use of mobile phones while driving,” said Benoit Godard, spokesperson for Vias.

Godard added that most other EU countries have, in one form or another, a driving license with penalty points to fight against dangerous driving. The traffic institute now wants Belgian to fall into line.

According to a spokesperson for Mobility Minister Georges Gilkinet, who commissioned the Vias study: “Belgium is one of the countries in the world where car congestion is the most important. There are too many cars on our roads and too many traffic jams.”

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