Sunday, May 30, 2010

Perspectives in driving

The level of lawlessness which prevails on the streets here is really mind-boggling, not to mention life-threatening at times. I've mentioned in a previous post my gradual, "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" stance which I've adopted in response to some of this lawlessness. This certainly helps me extend grace to those who drive like there are no rules, although it's probably developing habits in me which I should not replicate when I return to the States. (let me extend a preemptive apology if I pull bonehead moves on my next visit and you happen to be driving with me - just kick me and remind me where I am).

There are a few things which I will not do, however, and for these circumstances I have decided that instead of imitation, my coping strategy will be imagination. For example, when a car goes weaving in and out on the highway at breakneck speeds (this rarely happens, by the way. Most people never hit the speed limit) I pretend that it is someone rushing to the hospital. This makes perfect sense, as every ambulance I have ever seen here has been stuck in traffic. Odds seem better if you do it yourself.

Another example, much more common - someone is driving 40km/hr on the highway, with no apparent obstruction. Furthermore, they are doing this is in the fast lane. When this happens, I have started asking myself, "What if that were my daughter at age 16, learning to drive, nervous, still figuring things out?" I would want someone to give her grace, so I simply pass them in another lane. Granted, most 16 years old probably need to be told to slow down rather than speed up, but again I think this makes sense. I don't know the stats, but I would guess that the majority of people on the roads here have been driving for fewer than 5 years. It's like a whole country of teenage drivers who are not quite sure what they're doing.

I have yet to imagine a plausible excuse for the person who misses his exit and drives backward down the highway to catch it, or the guy who turns left from the right turn lane, but I'm working on it. As always, life here is about perspective.

1 comment:

Travis Todd said...

I like your view on driving. I still just get mad. I did laugh yesterday at the sign on one guys car. You know how a lot of cars have a piece of paper in the back that says "new hand on the road please be patience" this guy said "old person who us a new driver please be patient" he was ok'd and it made me laugh.