Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Driving in Costa Rica

Have you ever driven here in Costa Rica? Well, if you have you know how terrible it is.

Driving in Costa Rica is like a race, everyone wants to be first no matter the cost. There are no signs to follow and no one cares for the friend in the other car.

Some of the very peculiar habits Costa Rican drivers have, are:
  • People love hunking the horn. If you are in a semaphore, as soon as the light turns green you will hear someone hunking the horn. Of course, they don't want to lose a millisecond of their precious time!

  • Also, if there is traffic they start hunking the horn, like if the person in the car in front is stuck there on purpose, just for pleasure.

  • No one, no one really knows how to use the circle ("rotonda"), everyone enters in the wrong lane and then try to change to the right lane in the middle of the circle ("rotonda"), causing, sometimes an accident, and if they don't at least, they scare someone.

  • People think that the yellow line aside the street is just for decoration or an invitation to "Park here for free!". You can find the smallest streets here in Costa Rica with parked cars in both sides of the street, then you wonder, "well, how can I go through?"

  • Pedestrians? Oh pedestrian don't matter here, they have the least priority. No matter if the green light for pedestrian is on, you have to be careful or you would be run over by some idiot who doesn't know that the red light means "stop"!

  • Also, if you want to be a taxi or a bus driver, you have to have the worst habits, you have to be worse than everybody else, you have to forget about any sign or driving rule your country has, even though you have passengers on your vehicle! For example, if you are a bus driver and you stopped at a bus stop than you want to be in the left lane, don't turn on your turning light, just turn, no matter if others cars are coming, they would stop because no one wants to die crashed by a bus.

  • If you see a small space ahead of you, run and take it, so you can advance faster. You might find a car coming while you are trying to advance, but who cares, the others cars will have to give you space so there is no accident.

In addition to this, you have very bad streets full of holes, no signs to guide you, no directions, no traffic police, so basically, you are on your own!

My advice is pray before you leave your house, try to be patient, be nice and do your best driving...ah and be careful!

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