Friday, March 5, 2010

Stopped by the Swedish Police

Dang it and here I was thinking I was invincible. I guess there is a good reason to follow the law and the nasty amounts of red tape required to get my Swedish driver's license...

I have a new house and therefore, a new and longer route to get to the little guy's school. It involves going through the downtown. Uppsala seems to lack stop signs. They are replaced with roundabouts, traffic lights at major intersections of course, but in smaller intersections, it's a bloody free for all!

Now I know that some rule must exist when you approach traffic coming in 2 different directions, other than your own. But seeing as though I have yet to get my Swedish driver's license, I have no clue who goes first. I just follow the crowd and when no crowd exists, I wing it. There's this one particular little intersection that freaks me out everytime I approach cuz I have no idea who goes first, second and last. But I think on my approach, I might fall into the latter category.

Anyway, I make my way through, start going up the street and notice "Polisen" vehicle behind me. Naturally, I start to slow down and freak out a bit, especially since I'm coming up to this other small intersection, but one I definitely know the rules for...or the most important rule. The cars coming up the hill onto this street have the right of way. Apart form this, No clue if it's me, going straight, or cars turning to go down the hill in the opposite direction or cars coming straight from the opposite direction that have the right of way. I wait patiently to make sure there are no cars coming up the hill and then I go. And copper is still on my tail. And then I turn right and proceed to throw up in my mouth a little as I realize the Swedish Police are indeed in pursuit, lights a flashing. I pull over and commence internal freak-out.

Rather good-looking (cuz well, it's Sweden) male cop saunters over to my window (you should see the women! It's like in that racing movie with Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman where that hot blonde woman who is really a stripper pulls over their trailer). I proceed to roll down the window. He starts blah, blahing in Swedish. I turn on the charm and proceed to answer in English.
Jenn: I did something wrong, didn't I?
Blonde Cop: Oh, you speak English (his English is uncharacteristically bad). Do you speak a little Swedish?
Jenn: Oh, just a little (flashes smile, hoping nothing is stuck in my teeth from lunch)
Blonde Cop: Can I have your license please?
(Hands over license and ID Card)
Jenn: What did I do wrong?
Blonde Cop: Can you blow in this tube please?
(Yup, my very first ever breathalyzer. These guys don't fool around.)
Jenn: Oh, I have never done this before! (Acting all amazed)
Blonde Cop: Do you live here in Uppsala? (Looks over at his partner, says something in Swedish I don't understand.)
Jenn: Yes, but we just moved here recently (if recently means over a year ago, meaning I should definitely have my Swedish driver's license now)
Blonde Cop: Mumbles something about a hill, turning right and prohibited. (I have no idea what he's talking about)
Jenn: Oh, I didn't know, I'm so sorry! (and still don't have the faintest idea what I did wrong, though it could have been the small intersection from before and I only noticed later he was following me. He couldn't have pulled me over on the big street because it would have stopped traffic.)
Blonde Cop: Ok. Make sure you don't do it again. (Do WHAT again? But there was no way I was calling this guy out on his bad English communication skills when I was like THIS close to maybe getting out of a ticket)
Jenn: Oh, I won't sir. (Nod & Smile, just Nod & Smile)
Blonde Cop hesitates and then....walks away. I breathe deeply and drive away. He didn't even run me through his system (There is a God). I think I freaked him out with my English-speaking ways and pink hat.

I eluded the notoriously tough Swedish Police. But I still have no idea what the heck I did wrong and will be dragging my friend with me on a re-creation of the scene to find out. I was lucky yesterday. Next week, me and my confused driving skills are headed through the jungle of red tape until I find out who has the right of way. I'm pretty sure it wasn't me.


LostInTraslation...Literally said...

HAHHAHA while i was reading this. i was yelling in my head " SPEAK ENGLISH!!! SPEAK ENGLISH, WOMAN!!!!!" hahahahahahah
75% of the time. It works!!
i loved this post. I was reading it with the hugest smile on my face. thank god he didnt run you . xD!


stay away from that street from now on lol

Anonymous said...

just always assume anyone coming from the right has the right of way, that should work! most of the time anyway ;)

septembermom said...

So even the cops are good looking there? Sounds like your pink hat got you out of that one. LOL.

SwedishJenn said...

@Terander: But what if there's no traffic coming from my immediate right? The closest right was right in front of me. So I guess I was right in my assumption that in that situation, I was the last one with the right of way?

Hyacynth said...

Yup, it was defintiely the pink hat. LOL! Hubby thinks this was hilarious. He laughed so hard he just gave himself the hiccups.

Mazui said...

Was it the intersection at the university library? If you had just passed the castle and turned right onto Drottninggatan, the only thing I can imagine you got stopped for was not waiting for pedestrians to pass at the crossing.

SwedishJenn said...

@mazui: I think the offence happened as I was turning left onto Ovre Slottsgatan from St. Olofsgatan (spelling atrocious I'm sure).

Mazui said...

Priority to the right shouldn't be an issue there, since Övre slottsgatan turns into a one way street in that intersection. If I remember correctly and they haven't changed it in the last ten years.
Maybe you forgot the turn signal or didn't see people at the crossing?

Do they use the priority to the right rule in Canada, or do they have signs in all intersections?

And the speling was fine, except you forgot the two pricks above Ö. :)

Anonymous said...

Could you please change the font color to something stronger?

SwedishJenn said...

@Anon: DONE!

DrRyan said...

Except for taxis and buses, traffic is not allowed uphill from Sysslomansgatan to Öfre Slottsgatan (downhill is OK). I assume you drove in that direction since you turned left on Öfre slottsgatan.

SwedishJenn said...

Holy Crap Dr. Ryan. That is exactly what I did! Is there some kind of sign I should be looking for that I obviously have not seen, that says, visually, "DO NOT GO UP THIS HILL AND DO NOT TURN LEFT". A blog reader to the rescue yet again...woohooo!

DrRyan said...

Look for this sign:

in this view: