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Latin Driving And Road Safety

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Driving (and indeed the drivers) in Latin America leaves a lot to be desired. It’s mental.

There are few (no) rules for overtaking, and buses will quite happily pull out and overtake a car going which is moving at a fair speed. The use of horns is widespread, and any jam, no matter what the delay or cause, will see a constant horn battle by all those affected.

I’ve lost count the number of accidents that I’ve seen the fallout from. I saw a sports car on it’s roof in Panama City in addition to the major stack up I actually saw in San Jose where a two cars collided and slammed into a lamppost, fifty yards from where I was standing. There is a significant amount of vehicles that have damamge of some description. Actually, most of them…

Crossings

Medellin Street PerformersTraffic signals do not seem to mean very much, and junctions are often at a standstill as a result of people ignoring these signals. They’re there for a reason people!!

People take no notice of Zebra crossings – especially in Colombia – and I always wonder why they are even put in. I think that the Lonley Planet suggests that drivers are not obliged to stop, so really, what’s the point? Road crossings (where there actually are traffic lights) will see people try to sell all kinds of stuff, clean your car windows and much more unusually, stand in the middle of the road with advertising stuck to a large board above their heads – “buy the latest property” or “get a new job here”.

I think that my favourite traffic light activities are the street performers. There are jugglers, magicians and acrobats all trying to get drivers to give generously as they perform all day long in the soaring heat. It’s great to watch.

 

Business Opportunities

Sometimes there will be guys standing at busy road junctions and stopping traffic to let out cars into the main road. I can only assume that they are hoping that someone will give them money for helping them, but I am yet to see someone do so.

More interestingly, I have also seen guys (and young lads) stand around in parking areas out in the streets, helping people into parking spots. I have twice seem people phyically pick up and move motorbikes in order to free up a parking spot for a car. These guys will stand in the street all night (I have twice observed them from the view from my window) trying to earn a few dollars.

I also assume they are claiming to look after your car while you are out enjoying yourself. Now, here’s the thing, and I have no evidence to suggest this, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there is some type of blackmail going on. There may be situations where if you don’t pay the guy to “look after your car” you might find the window smashed, or the car actually missing upon your return. Whilst this is completely unethical and illegal, I do admire the business idea of this!!!!

About Adrian Britton

Sometimes I will talk about things that are interesting, and sometimes I won’t. Sometimes it will be a bit of a laugh, and sometimes it will just be a downright rant about something going on in the world – I’m often accused at moaning a lot, and I consider myself quite good at it !!

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