Week number 2 of this feature. Still looking for feedback (should I continue? Should I modify it? Better title suggestions? Something else?)
For the past couple weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of wandering the streets of Queretaro, Mexico, eating the food (which completely put me out-of-commission my first weekend here!), interacting with the people, and experiencing the roads as a pedestrian and a passenger on both buses and in cars.
From these road experiences, let me tell you something that is absolutely ridiculous: Mexican driving! They cut each other off, the men have this sense of “macho” (“I can’t let anyone in front of me because it’ll make me look weak”), and the rush hour (more like 4 hours) traffic is ridiculous here in Queretaro. I can’t even imagine what Mexico City is like. Oh, and they drink and drive.
But ya know what’s ridiculously awesome? Mexican driving! Yeah, that’s right. They have to be aggressive and aware of their surroundings, so they’re good drivers (for the most part). While they might not always use their signal to communicate when they’re going to turn, they do communicate to say, “Holy shit, traffic is really slow, beware!” or, “The way is clear, you can pass”.
First, in traffic jams, which are all-too-common, a sudden slow-down is quite frequent (as it is in other countries). If I have to suddenly hit my brakes, I won’t leave the car behind me guessing as to how hard she needs to brake. I simply put on my 4-ways/hazard lights until she gets the idea.
Next (and my favorite part), you know those country roads that get you from one town to the next? The ones with 2 lanes and shoulders on either side? Every developed country has them and we’ve all encountered a car that wants to go faster than the rest (that’s usually me), or a car that’s going slower than most. Well, here in Mexico (at least in this area), the slower driver will pull halfway onto the shoulder and put on his left signal to say, “The coast is clear, you can pass me”. The faster moving car can now pass using half of its lane and half of the other lane. If a car should happen to be oncoming, it will pull over partly onto its shoulder as well, just as a precaution, a way of saying, “I see you and I’ll give you space. Take your time”. In this case, you might end up with 3 cars wide on a 2 lane road. And it’s perfectly civilized. You see, the drivers here are responsive: “Oh, look, there’s a car that wants to pass, I’ll just move over so it doesn’t have to wait”. In Canada, sometimes I’m stuck until I turn or get to my destination because I just never get the opportunity to pass. If a driver overestimates how much time she has, it become a dangerous situation. The oncoming driver would probably freak out, unsure how to respond. He’d probably slam on the brakes and/or hit the horn – ya know, just in case the passing car might not realize she’s about the have a head-on collision while driving in the wrong lane…… Silly.
Driving in Mexico: aggressive and communicative. If you’d like to know more about driving in Mexico, stay tuned for my up-and-coming feature about driving in different parts of the world.
Do you agree with me in what I’ve stated as ridiculous and ridiculously awesome? Or do you think, for example, the passing thing is a little too much? Let us know in the comments!