Thursday, July 17, 2008

Brazil 3 - How to Drive Like a Brazilian

Continuing on the banal, painting a picture theme, here are some tips on how to drive like a Brazilian in Brazil:

  1. Most major roads are one-way. This is for a very good reason.
  2. This does not of course apply to cyclists. Weaving in and out of traffic going at 60 km/h in the opposite direction to you at night with a girl on the handlebars and no reflective clothing or lights is perfectly normal.
  3. The reason that the accelerator and brake pedals go all the way down is that they were meant to be used all the way down.
  4. If you haven't hit a pot-hole for a good few minutes, it's because you've broken down.
  5. You see those dotted white lines on the road? Don't worry - they don't mean anything.
  6. If someone phones you, it must be very important. Please answer it, talk, text, etc. while driving. Hands-free sets - what are they?
  7. 20's plenty - cm from the car in front, that is. In the picture above, either of both of the cars slightly ahead could cut in without warning. It's only too close if the cars actually hit each other.
  8. At night, red lights are optional. (Actually, the people who ignore them do it allegedly because they don't want to get carjacked).
  9. If traffic is driving approximately in lanes, don't worry - there isn't a "fast lane" or "slow lane". Just overtake / undertake when you can.
  10. If you're near where you want to go, just stop in the road, on the side vaguely near where you are aiming for, and look for a parking space. Don't worry - traffic will swerve round you.
  11. If you are getting out of your car, watch out for the wide open gutter down the side of most roads.
  12. Do not crash. I am continually surprised by how few crashes and dented cars there are here, especially compared to somewhere like Naples. Some of it might be down to the fact that Brazillian cars seem to be tuned so that 50mph feels like 80mph does in the UK, and that a lot of the other stuff is actually done at 20mph.
  13. It's also worth pointing out that one of the greatest racing drivers of all time was a Brazillian.
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