Driving in Georgia can seem like something right out of a Mad Max movie. But after decades of a free-for-all road culture, Georgian motorists are being asked to discover their brakes and remember the difference between red and green.
The government’s European Union integration ambitions are acting as a catalyst for change. Strengthening road safety and driving standards are among the hundreds of EU requirements with which Tbilisi must comply once it signs an EU Association Agreement. Georgia last November signaled its readiness to sign an association agreement, and the pact is expected to be finalized later this year.
Compliance with the EU auto safety provisions represents a particular challenge for generally lead-footed Georgians. In the country’s capital, Tbilisi, a city of just under 1.2 million people, speeding vehicles routinely careen through red lights, jockey for position against oncoming traffic, cut in lines at stoplights and straddle lanes. To cross a street, pedestrians often have to dodge traffic. Drivers park where fancy strikes.
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Molly Corso is a freelance reporter and photographer based in Tbilisi.