Monday, November 17, 2008

Tico Driving- EXPOSED!

Take whatever you’ve heard about the driving skills of Ticos, multiply by 100- and THEN you’ll be in the ballpark of how bad of drivers they actually are.

Websites pertaining to Costa Rica are often subjective, unreliable, misleading etc. But every site out there seems to agree on one thing- Costa Rican drivers are among the worst on the planet. Even the Chinese come in a distant second. On second thought, they may be a PUSH.

If you’ve never had the opportunity to drive in a demolition derb.…..I mean Costa Rica, I’d say definitely put it on your ‘Bucket List’- before the new set of dentures and after jumping out of a plane at 15,000 ft. Actually, when I think about, driving here is a peculiar combination of the two. Anyways, when in Costa Rica, expect one, or better yet, a combination of the following to occur (at any given time): an 18-wheeler using a two-lane road as if it’s a one-way street. Passing on a curve - Stopping on a curve. Sudden U-turns, really, they’ll do this on the highway- it’s truly a sight to behold. Many WILL stop their cars when talking on a cell phone, but that doesn’t mean they’ll actually pull over- they just STOP. Folks, I can’t make this up. Also, Ticos will rarely miss an opportunity to ‘chat it up’ with friends- frequently pulling alongside a friend’s car, or perhaps their relatives they spotted walking to the store- oblivious to the line of cars stacking up behind them.

Remember, driving in Costa Rica is already difficult; rain, sun, darkness, fog, clouds, potholes, pedestrians, animals, mudslides, etc. can turn the shortest of trips into a white-knuckle affair in an instant. Here's OUR video about the driving conditions in Costa Rica:

Now, add a Tico driver to the mix and you have the recipe for disaster. I know you think I’m being overly dramatic- but I assure you, I’ve driven in numerous countries around the world, and this is the worst. Even in Rome, as a group, they drive in organized disorganization that somehow seems to work- they GET IT.

Ticos are NOT aggressive drivers per se, so what makes them think they can stop their car, on a curve no doubt, and get out and pee, regardless of traffic and/or driving conditions?

I know the answer. Hopefully I can explain it.

We’re talking about a culture with no standing Army, patience to spare (tico time), a Pura Vida attitude... and loathes confrontation of any kind. They extend constant driving courtesy BECAUSE they expect it in return. It’s nothing they actually think about, it’s more unconscious than that, but courtesy nonetheless. They get behind the wheel and do whatever they want, whenever they want. They expect their driving indiscretions to be accepted as such, because they know and understand they would wait for the guy to finishing peeing without the slightest agitation.

So, to the untrained eye, Tico driving appears as a severe case of complacency, or at least, a total lack of regard for others. But to them, when they decide to make a U-turn during rush hour, well, it’s ALL understood, because that guy peeing- he’s behind the guy making the U-turn.

And so it goes…

I would like to note that although I understand…this is NOT Rome, and in my opinion, no matter how you rationalize it- it’s just plain DANGEROUS. Because, let’s be honest, some of us pee at the gas station.

If you need Costa Rica Travel Information then CHECK OUT our travel guide at: Travel Costa Rica NOW and see all our Costa Rica Travel Tip Videos on YouTube.


Unknown said...

Amen! You're right on with these comments. I've lived here 5 years now and driving is about the only facet of "pura vida" that I can't handle!

Unknown said...

Hey Michael,,, thanx for the comment... always's definitely hard to stay 'pura vida' when driving

AJ said...

I can't say that I understand how the rental car businesses stay afloat. Even with the ridiculously priced insurance it's a crap shoot on whether or not that vehicle is coming back in one piece.

That being said I loved driving in Costa Rica! It was an adventure going even the shortest distances and I had a ton of fun! I wish we had documented all of the crazy things that happened in one week.