Argentines* are fucking crazy drivers

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*downgraded to Portenos, people in the provincias are much calmer and dont fancy picking off pedestrians

One of my first posts way back, asked the question “what’s up with the crazy driving here, why??” While I have lived here, no one has been able to answer that question to my satisfaction. Often when I ask a local friend, “what is it exactly that happens to you when you get inside your car and you drive like you are insane?”, they will without fail say something that indicates that I have exaggerated the reality and am guilty of hyperbole. Coming in a close second is they honestly don’t have a clue what I am talking about. Just recently a good Argentine friend finally enlightened me about two driving mysteries, that until now were unsolved.

The first: Why are most people from BsAs incredibly dangerous drivers? They pull maneuvers that cant be believed. I am not talking about the fact they are serial red light runners and are unable to “pick a lane”. That’s nothing. I am talking about driving at stupid high speeds with multiple lane changes on congested roads. How about taking right hand turns across two or three lanes of traffic? Gunning the engine as a way to warn the pedestrian he better get a move on across the street, cause the car isn’t slowing down, in fact it is accelerating. My personal favorite is the ghost-riding or driving at night without headlights. This is not because they don’t have them. They have them. They will flash them at you if they think you are doing something stupid. For some reason, driving at night without lights isn’t stupid?! That will be another mystery to be solved at a later date. I wont even go into the behavior of guys on motorcycles. (and their infant passengers)

I understand now from my friend that they drive like this because car accidents are natural disasters. They believe it is out of their hands and it doesn’t matter how well they drive, the end result is in nature’s hand. I am willing to accept this reasoning because it does seem to explain this mentality perfectly. It doesn’t explain though, why, as a culture they are paranoid and hyper-vigilant about crime and are extremely health and diet conscious and huge fans of plastic surgery. Their fatalism is selective.

The second: Why do portenos like to honk their horns? Horn honking is generally not used to forewarn danger on the road or to say watch out for me (in the other car) cause you are doing something that might cause a car accident. That is what the brights are for because they sure aren’t used for night driving. So why all the horn honking? On toll roads if you hear a lot of horns drivers are saying open up another booth, we are not waiting, and it generally works. But then there seems to be a lot of not so constructive, noisy, manic horn honking. Not long ago I was stuck behind a big armored truck on a stretch of a very congested single lane road that had perpendicular parking on it. The armored truck ahead of me was stopped and waiting to park in reserved parking. A concrete something had to be moved by someone before it could park. This took a few minutes. You cant even believe the noise that dozen or more car were able to make. I of course, assume that they are honking at me, begging me, to drive over the top of the truck so that the traffic would keep moving. I was extremely pissed off and annoyed and stressed out to the point of wanting to give someone the finger. I knew that could have a unwanted response (i will save that for another post) , so I just sat there and took it like a big girl. Of course the armed vehicle guy was taking his sweet time moving the pylon. Eventually, the truck parked and I was able to move forward and everyone went on their merry way. This was very stressful for me until at a retelling of my trauma, an Argentine friend told me it was not about me but about the fact that they all thought it SUCKED that they had to wait. They don’t even have a beef with the armed truck guys. They just didn’t like waiting. I say, next time keep your disappointment to yourself and your eyes on the road.

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About Elizabeth

Wife and mother of four. This blog is personal, political and hopefully relevant with a sense of humor. I got to have a sense of humor with the tough crowd I deal with everyday, and they cant even vote, drink or drive.

4 Responses

  1. Joy

    The drivers here in Neuquen are also mind boggling horrid. At least I saw portenos using seat belts the last time I was there. Neuquinos simply refuse to put it on. One of our friends from a small coastal town recently lost her nephew in a head on collision that he could have easily survived if he had been wearing a seatbelt. Unbelievably, her family still won’t come near a seatbelt, and when asked, she explained “when its your time to go, its your time. It’s unavoidable”. I was so upset that her sister lost her small son in an accident, that I started crying. But our friend just shrugged. “that’s just life. You have to move on,” she explained. Her own beloved nephew. I DON’T GET IT!!

  2. Joy

    One more thing to add: I have to agree with your parents that Bangkok driving is worse. We traveled in various Asian countries, and Thailand and Vietnam driving is really, really atrocious.

  3. I think you can upgrade to Argentinians in general again. Everyone drives like crazy here, or at least in all the big cities I’ve been and on the roads as well. Just come to Rosario and see for yourself. It’s getting worse now, with the economy getting better and everyone buying new, bigger cars.

    As for the seatbelt, I don’t drive, but all the people I know who drive use the seatbelt, and I put it on every time they give me a hike, without been asked to. But my sample is probably biased in this case.

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