Outsider's Perspective: Honor thy Title

Here’s something new Ladies and Gentlemen, A post where I am actually an outsider and get a perspective on something. Namely, driving in America. And…well, you’re all better than you think.

Yes. After spending a week in the U.S I think I am qualified enough to make a partial verdict on your country and the best way to describe it is…weird. I was expecting a lot of things, as it’s supposed to be when you’re used as a benchmark for other countries. Effectively, the amount of food in a single meal is enormous, and the particular airport I landed on was so damn big I spent about an hour just walking across it looking for a place where I could have a slice of pizza (the most American food ever to come out of Italy).
But I was completely unprepared when it came to the roads. I’ve experienced unnatural things before, but nothing like this. Even now some time after returning to my regular chaos, litter, triple parking and people shouting while cutting four lanes of traffic to save 0.00076 seconds on a queue it’s still completely bizarre for me. People seemed to actually respect the traffic laws. When the lights turned red, it didn’t just mean “Please think there may be some people that want to use the intersection aswell.” People dropped anchors. And they did so before hitting the pedestrian crossing, so you could actually walk across where you’re supposed to. Absolutely nobody was jaywalking.
The pedestrian crossings had strange things to tell you when you could walk or not, taking all the guessing out of whether you’d make it across or not. And best of all, they weren’t destroyed with the sole purpose of complaining that the government can’t do anything properly.
Also weird was public transport. I could see damaged cabs yes, but damage seem to be limited to the odd dent here and there, there was no haggling and no horribly loud music blaring out with such intensity you’d think that the driver is an aspiring DJ taking his or her mixtape around for everyone to listen out of the crappy, tinny speakers that blew up about five years ago. Bus drivers didn’t just randomly decided to stop in the middle lane to drop off some random person who would then have to play a high-stakes game of frogger to get to the sidewalk. They stopped at something called “Bus Stops”, which is a concept largely lost over here in place of the much more common “wherever the bus stops”. None of them was spewing clouds of smoke so dense it could pass as an extremely fluffy but poisonous cake either.
So Americans, next time someone cuts you up in traffic and you’re thinking about how their car would look as a hood ornament. Remember that it could be so much worse. You could have to routinely deal with people who’s only qualification seems to be “is able to hold a drivers license for 2 seconds without falling off”; you could be forced to drive at the offense to actually get anywhere; you could live in a place so polluted that you don’t worry about smoking because the smoke from that cigar is likely cleaner than whatever is floating on the air. In short, no matter how terrible it seems, America is actually a pretty nice place to drive and be driven on.
Although I may have just gotten lucky, I met with some Americans and they seemed as startled about the high driving standard as I was.

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  1. CruisinTime Avatar

    Which country do you call home Gerardo Solis?

    1. dukeisduke Avatar

      Based on his first article here, posted in January, 2015, I’d say Brazil. Am I right, Gerardo?
      And thank you for all the kind words. Yes, the drivers here are generally pretty good, but I do wish that more would use their turn signals. I don’t know how many times I’ve been annoyed that someone slowed down and turned right, without using a signal, while I waited at a stop sign for them to cross my path (“If I’d known they were turning, I could have gone…”). Grrrrrr.

  2. karonetwentyc Avatar

    I am a firm believer that everyone should have to spend two hours, in the middle of the day, driving in Calcutta. This will instill both an appreciation for how traffic works in other countries, and those who survive the experience will understand the benefit of paying attention behind the wheel at all times.

    1. Fred Talmadge Avatar
      Fred Talmadge

      I’ve never been a more chaotic place than India.

  3. LEROOOY Avatar

    As with many topics, once the news takes hold of you daily you assume you’re in some kind of dystopia.

  4. JayP Avatar

    I’d read a CAR magazine article reviewing the New Allante where they drove the route I’d driven from home to Knoxville. The writer took time to express his amazement of how many people obeyed the “left lane pass only” rule on the interstate.

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Imagine the shock if he’d been to Germany & seen Autobahn discipline.

  5. stigshift Avatar

    I so fervently hope you had the proper direction to have had a crabcake while in Baltimore. The World Standard for a reason.

  6. needthatcar Avatar

    I always wondered why people don’t jaywalk. Even to the point where they started putting up “Hawk Beacon” intersections (I hate the pussies that actually push that button). People, it’s just you and some cars. Just look both ways and walk across the street. I jaywalk all the time. Sure it’s illegal….F*** the police!

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