Thursday, December 20, 2007

Third World Driving Hints & Tips Part 1

I was reading "Holidays from hell" last night. The books is by PJ O'ROURKE and he is just witty and hilarious. Anyways, wanna share something from the book. This excerpt was written during the days when Marcos was finally overthrown and Cory Aquino came into power, and is in the process of 'rebuilding' our nation. Oddly enough, some things on this excerpt still holds true, while others are not -- please bear into mind that this is not only about the Phiippines he has written about but other third world countries, including ITALY (Italy, as he said, is technically part of hte Third World, but no one has told the Italians). If one looks closely, it's more than a scrutiny of our roads and driving -- but rather a closer look of our nation in road sign signals.

**pictures are not mine but are taken randomly from google search engine.

Part one

Road Hazards
What would be a road hazard any place, in the Third World is probably the road. There are two techniques for coping with this. One is to drive very fast so your wheels "get on top" of the ruts and your car sails over the ditches and gullies. Predictably, this will result in disaster. The other technique is to drive very slow. This will also result in disaster. No matter how slowly you drive into a ten-foot hole, you're still going to get hurt. You'll find the locals themselves can't make up their minds. Either they drive at 2 mph -- which they do every time there is absolutely no way to get around them. Or else they drive at 100 mph-- which they docoming right at you when you finally get a chance to pass the guy going 2 mph.

Basic information
It's important to have your facts straight before you begin piloting a car around an underdeveloped country. For instance, which side of the road do they drive on? This is very easy. They drive on your side, That is, you can depend on it, any oncoming traffic will be on your side of the road. Also, how do you translate kilometers into miles? Most people don't know this, but one kilometer = ten miles, exactly. True a kilometer is 62% of a mile, but if somethign is one hundred kilometers away, read tat as on thousand miles because roads are 620% worse than anything you've eer seen. And when you see a 50-kph speed limit, you might as well figure that means 500 mph becuase nobody cares. The Third world does not have Broderick Crawford and the HIghway Patrol. Outside the cities, it doesn't have many police at all, Law enforcement is the hand sof the army. And soldiers, if feel like it, will shoot you no matter what speed you're going.

Traffic signs and signals
Most Developing nations use international traffic symbols. Americans may find themselves perplexed by road signs that look like boy scout merit badges and by such things as an iguana silhouette with a red diagonal bar across it. Don't wory, the natives don't know what they mean either. The natives do, however have an elaborate set of signals used to convey information to the traffic around them. For example, if you trying to pass someone and he blinks his left turn signal, it means go ahead, Either that or it means a large truck is coming around the bend, and you'll get killed if you try. You'll find that out in a moment.

Signaling is further complicated by festive decorations found on many vehicles. It can be hard to tell a hazard flasher from a string of christmas-tree lighst wrapped around the bumper, and brake lights can be easily confused witht he dozen red Jesus Statuettes and te ten stuffed animals with blinking eyes on the package shelf.

Dangerous Curve
Dangerous curves are marked, at least in Christian lands, by a wooden white cross positioned to make the curves even more dangerous. These crosses are memorials to people who;ve die in traffic accidents, and they give a rough statistical indication of how much trouble you're likely to have at that spot int he road. Thus, when you come through a curve in a full-power slide and are suddenly confronted with a veritable forest of crucifixes, you know you're dead.

Learning to drive like a native
It's important to understand that in the Third World most driving is done with the horn, or "Egyptian Brake Pedal", as it is known. There is a precise and complicated etiquette of horn use. Honk your horn only under the following circumstances:
  1. When anything blocks the road.
  2. When anything doesn't.
  3. When anything might.
  4. At red light.
  5. At green light.
  6. at all other times.
One thing you can count in Third World countries is trouble. There's always some uprising, coup, or Marxist insurrection goin on, and this means military roadblocks. There are tw kind sof military roadblocks, the kind where you slow down sot hey can look you over, and the kind where you come to a full stop so they can steal your luggage. The important thing is that you must never stop at the slow-down kind of roadblock. If you stop, they'll think you're a terrorist about to attack them, and they'll shoot you. And you must alwyas stop at the full stop kind of roadblock. If you just slow down, they'll think you're a terrorist about to attck them, and they'll shoot you. How do you tell the difference etweent he two kind of roadblocks? Here's the fun part: YOU CAN'T!

(The terrorists, of course, have roadblocks of their own. They alwyas make you stop. Sometimes with land mines.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

2 sections are missing. ANIMALS IN THE RIGHT OF WAY and ACCIDENTS.