Tuesday, June 23, 2009

safety optional

Yesterday and today I learned just how dangerous my road trip was this weekend and how lucky I am to be in one piece.

My student yesterday told me that the terrible road we took back to the city (the only road to take back) is very dangerous at night, so that's why there weren't any other cars on it. He said when it rains they often close down the highway because the fog gets so bad.

Then my student today told me that that road is called "death road" because...well you can imagine. She said it's the only main road that goes to the northeast and all the trucks take it to get to Brazil and Uruguay. It's just a two lane road (highway if you want to call it that, but it's a road in my book). The trucks are moving slower than cars, so the cars pass the trucks using the left lane. I saw some of the trucks passing the other trucks too. A couple of times I didn't know if they were going to make it. Second, there was no shoulder on the road...well dirt if that counts?

Then I told her that I was surprised that the new rental car didn't have an airbag, something that is standard in the states nowadays. She said she had to pay 2000 pesos extra to get an airbag in her car when she bought it. I don't know why this surprises me.

We really take for granted the roads in the u.s. the lights over the road, shoulders to pull off on, the mandatory safety features in our cars.

I'll still go on another road trip in Argentina if the opportunity presents itself, but this time I won't drive at night and I'll avoid driving in the rain...and I'll request an airbag the next time instead of a gps.


krebiz said...

this reminds me of a recent conversation i had with a couple of people. my friend criticized the state of healthcare in the US, her friend said "it's a right, not a privilege" but went on to say she didn't trust the government not to royally screw everything up.
my part of the debate basically said that i am extremely skeptical of anything at the federal level but there are a lot of things we trust the government to do extremely well, and we take for granted that we trust them to do it. My examples were roads, the interstate system, clean water, and inexpensive utilities.

this was before your road trip, but I'll point the woman thisaway, just in case she thinks we have it sooooooo bad.

now behave yourself in BA, and be careful- no more driving at night! :)

Anquises said...

Yo prefiero conducir en la ruta de noche, simplemente porque la mayoría de las personas lo hace de día. Ese es el motivo por el cual hay poco tránsito nocturno en las rutas, y no porque haya más peligro. Conducir en la ruta es siempre más peligroso que en la ciudad, tanto de día como de noche, porque viajamos a mayor velocidad, pero si uno está descansado (ha dormido bien antes) y se comporta con prudencia, no creo que corra mayores riesgos.

yillabean said...

I definitely took for granted many things in the states that I thought were normal to expect from a government. Road conditions being one of them.

Before moving to B.A. I was like your friend and thought our government could do a better job, but I think that is our mentality as Americans "How can we make this better", we don't sit down and accept things. I really like this characteristic of ours.

I agree, no more night driving for this senorita!

Anquises: I agree that night driving was more easier in the sence that no one else was on the road. I kept telling my friends who were with me that I was more comfortable driving because no other drivers were around flashing their lights or driving so close.

As far as road conditions go, I think Argentina needs to at least put plastic road reflectors on the road so you can clearly see the yellow line, it was very difficult to see at night. Also, because the many trucks travel on that road, their tires make grooves in the road. When it was raining the water started to pool up or collect in the tire grooves. This made it almost impossible to drive in a lane.