Driving For Members

'Irresponsible and dangerous': The verdict on Danish driving habits

Emma Firth
Emma Firth - [email protected]
'Irresponsible and dangerous': The verdict on Danish driving habits
Cars, pedestrians and bicycles on Christian IX street in Copenhagen. Photo: Niels Ahlmann Olesen/Ritzau Scanpix

As traffic police in Denmark crack down on drivers who ignore red lights, we asked our readers about the worst driving habits they've seen on Danish roads. Here's the verdict.


A large number of police districts across Denmark are focussing this week on catching both drivers and cyclists who go through red lights, as The Danish Road Safety Council revealed that 11 percent of motorists have admitted to driving through a red light in the last year.

But according to our reader survey, the worst habit seen on Danish roads is drivers not indicating.

Out of 34 reader responses, 12 people listed this as the worst driving habit they witness in Denmark.

"Many Danes seem to consider indicators as an optional extra, and will often use them as an afterthought once their manoeuvre is underway, or indeed completed. That's if they signal at all!" The Local reader David Alcock said.


Beth from the UK noticed the lack of indicating in Denmark, "especially on roundabouts," while reader Eamon found the Danes' delayed indicating habits frustrating.  

"Most indicate whilst actually carrying out the manoeuvres and not before, making the whole indication thing completely useless! The whole purpose of the indicator is to inform the other drivers of your intentions before you actually do anything!!" he said.

Speeding and running a red or late amber light, were both listed as the next worst driving habits seen by our readers.

"Drivers seem to treat the amber light as a sign to hit the accelerator, not begin to slow down. It is an area where Danes seem to show very little patience," Lisa from the UK told The Local.

The Danish Road Safety Council said that their two studies carried out in 2022, showed concerning trends over road users’ tendency to ignore red lights; something noticed by our readers.

"I see many drivers jumping a red light on a daily basis," Christophe from France told The Local. While Maria from Sweden noted that drivers in Denmark, "pass the red lights almost running over pedestrians, whose light is green."

READ ALSO: Ten things for foreigners to know when learning to drive in Denmark

The Road Safety Council studies found the number of drivers not stopping at a red light was higher in central Copenhagen and its outlying suburbs, known as Vestegnen. 17 percent of drivers in both areas said they had intentionally run a red light in the last year. 

The Local reader Elan said he noticed drivers of both cars and buses in Copenhagen running a red or late amber light, "90 percent near Nørreport, Nørrebro, Radhuspladsen". 

The Local reader Ross from the US noted speeding as the worst driving habit in Denmark, "especially cars driving too fast in crowded areas."

Another reader, Tom said, "It looks like the speed limit is taken more of a suggestion than an actual limit. It is not that they drive incredibly fast, just above the speed limit."

READ ALSO: Why bad driving might cost you your car in Denmark - even if it’s rented


Tailgating was another habit listed several times by our readers, with one who noted, "it's irresponsible and dangerous, especially on the highway."

Alex Clermont from the US said, "On the motorvejen/freeway, Danish drivers tailgate much more than in other countries I’ve driven in. They even tailgate on two-lane roads, even when it’s a high traffic time. This is especially true of work trucks."

Merging lanes, driving too slow, not letting other drivers out in traffic, dangerously changing lanes, not paying attention to cyclists when turning, cutting across lanes on a roundabout, not driving further to the right when the lane is wider and inconsiderate parking, were other bad driving habits listed by readers.


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