Traffic in Costa Rica is a beast unleashed. Everyday I find myself with my mouth hanging open at the idiotic things that people do with their cars. I don’t even know that I can explain some of the things that I have seen just in the last 24 hours. The problem is there are no driving schools here and no laws to enforce the laws so it is very similiar to the wild wild west.
Just this morning we were sitting in traffic in the right hand lane of a 4 lane intersection. All of a sudden 5 or 6 cars decided to turn left from the road we were facing into our lane. Not the lane that they were supposed to turn into but into the right turn lane. We all had to back up to keep from getting hit. It was like a herd of wild cows heading right at us.
A couple of days ago I noticed a woman with 2 different cell phones (assuming both were on speaker) just talking away as she was trying to go around one of the rotundas. Not an easy task when you aren’t talking on the phone, let alone 2. I wondered if she had manual transmission how she would balance that act. If the police stop you which they are supposed to but never do, you are supposed to get a fine for using a cell phone while driving. I wonder what they would have done with her with 2 phones? Double the fine or straight to jail as it might be in other civilized countries.
Don’t get me wrong, Costa Rica is plenty civilized in most everything but their driving habits. There are no boundaries and no one to enforce the laws that they do have so it is a free for all again, the wild wild west. First one to the front of the line wins and believe me it is a race.
If you are waiting in line to merge into traffic, it is usually to your advantage to be a woman, smile real big and ask nicely with hand gestures if you can cut in. I get into traffic much easier than my husband, he has to wait and wait for some poor soul to let him in. That’s why when we go out during rush hour he insists I go, says it saves him 30 minutes driving time or waiting time as the case may be.
Today for some unknown reason, traffic was backed up everywhere when we took the children to school. There was no getting by anyone and we couldn’t catch a break until we were about 100 meters from our house. This is often the case because so many cars are cutting in front of other cars never allowing the ones that are obeying the law and staying in line to get ahead.
I could go on and on about how people drive in Costa Rica but the statistics speak for themselves. Costa Rica is in 4th place in the world for accidents per capita. That would explain why our insurance rates are so high. Of course it doesn’t help that there is only one insurance company in Costa Rica but that is a topic for another day.