18/40-1 Driving Conditions

24 Nov

I’ve been to some places with crazy driving before. Beirut. Athens. Bangkok. But where we are right now,  I think this city takes the cake.

And when it comes to awarding driving cake, the criteria I prefer to use is inventiveness. In Athens I saw drivers actually aim their cars at pedestrians crossing the streets. It’s also an old city with lot of hills and narrow streets – the only speed limit: the drivers’ imaginations. Basically it was just plane bonkers. In Beirut the traffic would take over any space it could. The shoulder of the highway going out of the city (fast lane side) turned into a lane of traffic for the morning commuters going into the city. This was back in ’98 and they might have changed things since then, but personally I think that’s a clever exploitation of the asymmetrical properties of traffic patterns at different times of the day (but also incredibly dangerous). Bangkok had millions of tuk-tuks operated by fearless drivers.

The cool thing about the drivers in the city we’re in right now, is that they use their horns in a sonaresque kind of way. At first it sounded all random but then after spending about four hours over the past a day and a half driving in (and walking around) the local vehicular traffic, some patterns began to emerge. Short quick beep for warning pedestrians. Double beeps for other drivers (blind spot warnings). Long honk for “you can go now, assface”.

I think this is really cool because instead of driving being in three dimensions (like back home), over here they employ the fourth dimension.

The fourth dimension is sound. Which these videos lack. But I feel they do convey how chaotic and close everything is over here. Also, see if you can guess the city!

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