Drivers in Crete have adapted to modern rules and regulations with one, not so minor, exception. On your first drive you have no idea that their approach is common across the island, so you remark and comment on the fact that their action is rude, dangerous, and reckless. After a bit of observation and practice, it makes great sense!
In Crete, most roads are two lanes. Even when there are adequate shoulders, there are still only two lanes. Clearly, given the preponderance of this fact as well as the limited tax base, this is not going to change. I am not sure when the local drivers adapted, but they have! Their solution makes common sense and, as practiced consistently, is probably as safe as most four lane highways prove to be.
The solution is this. Driving slow is defined to be anytime someone comes up behind you at a faster rate of speed, regardless of size, location, sight lines, light or darkness, uphill or downhill. If you are driving slowly, then you pull as far to the right as possible. Driving on the shoulder is fine! Moving across the line on your right shows you understand the local custom. This allows people to pass safely on blind corners, at night, against double lines, and while going up hills. If two cars are passing at the same time everybody does their best to fit in. There is no requirement except speed. No horns, lights, or signally of any kind. People just seem to know!
The new tourist clearly stands out as he drives his line. Commonsense has taken a break while old country rules prevail. My fears about the practice being “normal” vanished as two police vehicles passed me under these same circumstances while they were just cruising through the countryside.
I wonder if my values and priorities come through like those of a Cretian driver. I enjoyed driven yesterday, both fast and slow. The courtesy at both ends is striking, yet normal.
“A commonsense person lives good sense; fools litter the country with silliness.” (Proverbs 13.16)