Drivers in Bs.As. are crazy

Having only being 5 years old when I left Argentina, every time I come back I am repeatedly shocked at the disorganization and utter chaos that is the traffic in Buenos Aires. Here are some of the exciting things you can expect to see on the roads here:

  • Lanes, even where they are clearly marked, are quite astonishingly invisible to locals

  • Indicators also do not exist, especially when changing aforementioned “lanes”

  • There is a game in which you have to pass pedestrians and other vehicles as close as possible without hitting them

  • If there are enough cars in a queue at a toll road pay station, everybody honks and keeps driving so the operator lifts the bar and lets them through for free

  • The best time to pull out is exactly the opposite of when there is a gap in the traffic

The thought of having to drive in Buenos Aires is a hypothetical thought only, but it sends me into hypothetical shivers. I’m a firm believer of “never say never” but with my firmly established piloting experience limited to the calm and orderly streets of New Zealand, I can quite confidently say that I will never drive in Buenos Aires. That being said, I have to admit that I do experience a somewhat self-punishing level of enjoyment as a passenger, because it’s almost like being in a giant dodgem ride at an amusement park. But how people manage to avoid collisions never ceases to amaze me. 

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5 thoughts on “Drivers in Bs.As. are crazy

  1. Raquel says:

    Not even six, Soli! In March ’89 you were only five. What amazes me is to remember how “normal” it seemed to be while we were living there.

  2. Solange says:

    Oh of course! I will correct now 🙂

  3. Liria says:

    It is exactly the same in Santa Fe! And extrapolating, it would appear that you will find the same habits throughout the country. What amazes me, is the sheer “innocence” of people driving on the lines that divide lanes, changing lanes without signalling or even checking over the shoulder, or passing through a red light if the driver estimates they might make it…. I thought they would completely transform when getting into their cars, like in that old Disneyland program that portrayed Goofy as a regular family man who would mutate into a sort of a killer devil as soon as he was behind the wheel. But, no! They remain the same little old ladies, regular dads, and cherub-faced teenagers unaware of the chaos they are creating on the roads and certain that they are the best drivers!Yeap! I have also vouched never to drive again in Argentina!

  4. Ronald says:

    Tips for driving in Argentina (particularly in BsAs)1- Indecision, courtesy and common sense are signs of weakness; avoid them2- the traffic conditions are always better ahead of where you are, so you must travel faster to get there quicker3- the lanes on the road serve one and only one purpose: to allow the driver derive the number of cars that could fit across the road; for example if the road has 3 painted lanes it means that 6 cars can fit across, and in occasions more. The formula is: number of cars = AF + number of lanes * (PT+HR+WN+UF)where AF (argentinian factor) = 1 most of the time PT (peak traffic) = 1 during peak traffic, otherwise 0.5 RH = 1 during holiday return, 0 otherwise UF unhappiness factor is always higher than 0.5 WN (why not) = anything you want4- intersections without traffic lights: don’t look at the gap, the size of the gap is inconsequential, just look at the driver whose car is on your way, if her/his face shows any of the weakness signs of point 1, you accelerate forward with conviction; if you are not so sure about the other driver accelerate anyway but be ready to stop (important, you must stop your car as close as possible to the other car, and keep moving forward slowly to demonstrate you are not weak)

  5. Christine Udy says:

    Haha! It’s the same in Iran too! How there aren’t all that many accidents (considering the craziness) amazes me! Pedestrian crossings don’t matter…I think they serve as a … “take heed, prepare to swerve, suddenly halt or speed, there are more people crossing here than usual”

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