Traffic Chaos

When we were in the United States a few weeks ago, someone actually congratulated us on surviving traffic in Lima. I accepted the congratulations with great sincerity because surviving traffic in Lima is no easy feat.

I come from a land full of kind, orderly, overly sympathetic Southern drivers. If you need to get over to another lane, simply put on your blinker and a kind driver will welcome you in front of them with a warm wave. Once you find your place in the lane, a small thank you wave is exchanged and there is harmony in the world. If the traffic lights are not working, the intersection becomes a four way stop and drivers patiently wait their turn in line. As I wait my turn I usually think, "Look at how nice humans can be to one another."

And then in Lima, simply driving down the street is an exercise in survival of the fittest. This no holding back, let the biggest car win approach to driving has completely dissolved my desire to drive in Lima. My boyfriend's mom tells me, "...but you know how to drive, you will be fine." Not exactly.

I know how to drive in a state of orderly drivers who respect traffic lanes. I know how to drive in a city with traffic laws that are actually laws and not mere suggestions. I know how to drive in a place where a stop sign means stop, not honk-your-horn-as-you-pass-through-the-intersection-to-tell-the-other-cars-that-you-are-coming.

Lima is the only city I have ever been in where cars in the right hand turn lane, dart forward after the light changes, go across several lanes of traffic and make a left turn. He with the larger car wins.

Today, I received this video as yet another shocking example of the traffic conditions in Lima. I know that the traffic problems and lack of law enforcement are serious issues, but I can't help but to sit in humored awe as I witness the chaos.  It's something that to me, a driver from regulated, kind Tennessee, is so bizarre that it can't possibly be real. Now you too can witness the adventure that is driving in the city. You don't need to speak Spanish to understand the video, but I'll give you a hint: that's an exit ramp.