The thought of crazy traffic abroad sends chills down your spine? Relax: navigating chaotic traffic in different countries isn’t as terrifying as it sounds.
Here’s some advice on how to get adjusted quickly:
Go With The Flow
When we first got to Sicily, I wanted to scream at just about everybody: the drivers on the island, it seemed to me, were all homicidal maniacs, and almost every single car there had scratches and dents.
But getting angry and frustrated won’t help you: you are where you are and road rage won’t change the traffic conditions around you. Try not to get irritated as it will only stress you out, and instead, just go with it – you don’t have much choice anyway!
The weird thing about crazy traffic in foreign countries is that it…works. It may look like pure chaos to Westerners, but somehow, people don’t crash into each other, and although it feels like every other situation is a near miss, it all still works out in the end. This is because locals are already used to crazy conditions and because they are very acutely aware of their surroundings at all times: they know exactly how wide and long their vehicles are, how lenient the traffic cops can be, and how to maneuver. Learn from them: simply pay attention, be alert and aware of what’s around you, and you’ll be just golden!
Learn the Local Courtesies
Even in the craziest traffic conditions, there are rules – even if those are unspoken and unwritten. In Mexico, drivers on the main roads will move over to the right to let you pass. In Peru, sticking your hand out the window means you’re asking to be let in the lane or turn. Figure out the local driving courtesies and stick to them – it’ll make life much easier!
Get Locals to Help
If you feel utterly lost and overwhelmed, ask locals to help you out. If your GPS failed in a multi-million city, get a cab driver to lead you to your hotel – or out of the city; if you feel you don’t understand the logic, just ask. People are usually delighted to explain the local peculiarities of their city or town!