Ready for the surprises

Your best bet is to drive defensively and be alert of the other drivers. Obey the rules as you know them and you should be fine. You will notice many cars with “fender-bender” dents and scrapes, but amazingly, there are relatively few serious accidents. Be alert and be safe.

Some examples of the typical bad driving habits you need to watch out for include

  • Most people don’t use blinkers/turn signals when changing lanes. They just do it … quickly!
  • Even if someone’s turn signal is flashing, don’t necessarily believe it.
  • We have a “no passing on the right” rule, but people will pass in any lane (including using the shoulder as a passing lane).
  • We also have “keep right except to pass” and “left lane is the fast lane” rules. But people will drive slowly or very fast in any lane.
  • Motorcyclists make their lane in between lanes by riding on the line. Be very careful changing lanes.
  • People make U-turns when they have a red light all the time.
  • People push the yellow light and end up running the red lights, a lot! Be extra careful at intersections. Don’t jump the green light until you know the other traffic is stopped.
  • Be VERY careful early in the morning. It seems that if no is using the intersection, people don’t bother stopping or waiting at red lights.
  • Be very careful around curves on small mountain roads or on small roads that don’t have a lot of traffic. Local drivers who know the curves take their lane in the middle! Go slowly and toot your horn before going around a narrow curve in the mountains, and keep a driver-side window cracked so you can hear others do the same.
  • The police drive around all the time with their blue lights on, so don’t panic or pull over unless they turn on the siren.
  • Often, people will cut you off and even block a lane if they need to get into traffic. They do not wait for an opening.
  • People will stop suddenly and backup if they missed a turn or exit they wanted.
  • Don’t assume which direction people are going by the lane they are in. If they are in the wrong lane, they will turn from the lane the are in. You’ll see people turn left from the right-most lane, and other people turn right from the left-most lane.

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