Monday, December 30, 2013

A Few "Rules of the Road"

We do a lot of walking and are amazed at how few accidents there are when we perceive that the driving is rather--well, let's say it is "spontaneous."  We appreciate our friends offering us a ride from time to time.  We have seen very humble and non-aggressive people that we are getting to know rather well somehow change when they get behind the wheel of a car.  They are still friendly and nice and we appreciate their not "talking with their hands" as they drive; but their driving doesn't seem to match their personalities.  Their driving seems to match what is needed for the driving situation we find here--which makes sense.  Here are some driving tactics that we have observed:

When leaving a parking lot when trying to turn left cross four lanes of traffic, wait for a break in traffic and stomp on the gas to get into an available spot and then stomp on the break to get into position.

Stop signs are only advisory.
If you come to a stop sign and you can see that no one is coming from the side--just keep going.
If you come to an intersection with a 4-way stop and the car on the right has stopped--just keep going.

If you can get your car past a parked car leaving only 3 inches of space--go for it--3 inches is as good as a foot.

If you come to an intersection and want to cross it but there is a steady line of cars coming from the right, slowly edge into the middle of the intersection forcing the flow of traffic to slow and stop and then continue through the intersection.

Only put on your seat belt if the car's safety alarm won't otherwise stop beeping.

U Turns are allowed at any time in any situation so keep an eye out for the other drivers.

When you want to make a right turn but happen to be in the center lane, honk several times to see if the bus in the right lane will let you turn and cross in front of it.

Because of the unusual driving behavior that we are seeing, we really don't mind walking so much!  However we have developed some rules for ourselves as the pedestrians.  We do have to admit that our walking and maneuvering through and around the traffic has become very "spontaneous" as well. ;o)

Rule # 1:  The pedestrian does not have the right-of-way.

Repeat after me:  The pedestrian DOES NOT HAVE the right-of-way.

Rule # 2:  Look both ways before crossing a one-way street.

Rule # 3:   Don't assume cars will stop at a stop sign.

Rule # 4:  Don't assume cars will stop for you.

Rule # 5:  If a car is near you and honks twice very quickly--don't take it personally, you didn't do anything wrong--it is a taxi driver indicating he is available.

Rule # 6:  Walking across a busy road can be accomplished when you can see that all cars, buses and taxis have come to a full stop for a traffic light--but hurry!

Rule # 7:  When you want to cross a street, crossing mid-block is quicker and safer than crossing at the corner.  Just wait for a gap in traffic in both directions and hurry!

Rule # 8:  After a rainstorm and puddles have accumulated along the sides of the road, stay as close to the buildings as possible.

Rule # 9: Hold on to each other so if one of you sees an opportunity to dart across the road, the other can be advised and (a) stop the first or (b) join the first--depending on the situation.

Rule # 10:  When walking along the edge of a busy road or down a sidewalk, be careful where you put your feet!

Rule # 11:  If you make eye contact with the driver of the car and he hand signals for you to cross in front of him.  It will only be safe to cross in front of him. Don't assume the driver in the next lane will be so kind.


  1. I completely agree with #7. I bet I would have chuckled to see the premise behind rule #8. And I think rule #9 was there when we were 7 kids in a busy, crowded place - just hold hands with someone and don't let go.
    I reminds me of road crossing in New Zealand. When crossing a 2-way street, don't worry about making sure both sides are clear - just cross the first half....then stand in the middle of the street between the two lanes (cars zooming by on either side) until a gap on the 2nd half appears. Always scared me to watch the locals cross!
    Glad you are staying safe!