Monday, May 23, 2016

Never a Doubt on the Roads

 Never a Doubt on the Roads
As trip advisor says, "It's not a good idea to drive in Peru. Driving in Peru should be considered as an "Extreme Sport." The driving rule here is that the bigger you are the less you follow the driving rules. I think that you never know what a crooked line is, until you have an idea as to what a straight line is. Likewise, you don't know about unsafe driving, cutting people off, and coming within inches of other cars until you leave the United States, where a premium is put on greater distance between cars and in my opinion safer driving. Peruvian drivers define maximizing the use of space on roads, and a honk is not a "Fuck you get out of my way," as it is in the States but rather a friendly way of saying well... honks are just involuntarily for show or out of habit I guess. Surprisingly, I have yet to see a wreck thus far, probably due to the small sample size and the way in which drivers in Peru have learned to play bumper cars without running into one another. 
I have come up with a few theories as to why Peruvians drive so closely to one another. The first is that their cars are obviously cheaper on average than the cars in the States. You don't see many Mazaratis, BMWs, or Bentleys roaming the Peruvian streets, so maybe the effect of having a cheaper car calls for more reckless driving. Secondly, maybe Peruvians are just less precautionary, less anxious, and braver on the roads than their American counterparts. Or perhaps, Peruvians have developed a chemistry with other citizens on the roads that lends to more aggressive maneuvers unlike the Americans who don't trust each other as well. 
Body language of drivers is also very different in Peru from the United States. You don't see angry drivers flipping birds, yelling, or rolling down the windows to complain to a driver that rudely cut him off. Feelings are expressed with a short staccato beep of the horn, and then life returns back to normal. However, I feel like traffic is much better managed in the United States as there are more traffic lights, and pedestrians can cross streets in a more civilized fashion. People are always on-the-go in both countries, and both the US and Peru can learn from each other's traffic systems to create more safety, trust, and efficiency on the roads. 

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