Rules of the Road in Honduras

Honduras is a very mountainous country. The roads are often very windy and curvy.  Knowing how to drive in the different parts of the US is an art.   Contrary to the majority of people, I enjoy driving in Washington, DC.  The drivers are crazy there.  I learned early on that you are either an offensive driver or a defensive one.  Defensive drivers never win.  If you try and watch out for everyone else it will make you crazy and most likely wind you up in an accident.  So the alternative is to drive so others need to keep out of your way.  For the most part it works in Washington, and I believe that people of Honduras have taken the same perspective.

Of course the only people on horses in DC are the police.  Not true in Honduras.  You can see every mode of transportation imaginable: a horse and cart, semis, tour buses, pick-up trucks with people riding in the back, school buses-not always carrying students, “regular” cars, and of course people walking along side the road, all at the same time, going in different directions in Honduras.

Cars and buses will stop and pick people us if they are looking for a ride.

At night it can be a real challenge because working headlights don’t seem to be required and therefore are not always used.  The same is true of windshield wipers (and on some trucks-brakes).

The quality of the roads, are as good as most of the roads in DC, which isn’t always saying much.  On occasion you will see a man standing in the road having filled potholes, collecting money for his services, only then allowing contributors to pass.  DC should look into that.  There are times when a paved road will just stop, it may pick up again, but not always.

There are a few (intentional) four-lane highways but not many; most are two or three depending on the severity of the mountains.  People in Honduras will pass on either side of you, and on coming traffic does not seem to be a deterrent.  Just because you have two lanes in your side doesn’t mean that the person coming  toward you won’t use  “your” other lane.

Solid white or yellow lines don’t really mean anything.  In Haiti there are no traffic lights or stops signs.  So every cross road is a four way stop, yea right.  But at least everyone is aware that it is a free for all.  In Honduras they have stoplights, but some people choose to ignore them.  Not everyone, it seems just a small minority; the problem is you never know who they are, prior to running the light-and into you!!  So in Honduras you don’t hit the gas on green, you wait for a couple of seconds if you are first in line at the light and then it is a crap-shoot.

I haven’t figured out all the rules for using the horn yet.

As I got off the plane in Miami, people seemed frantic, some rushed as they headed toward customs, I thought to myself, I just came from Honduras, I am not rushing any where.   Most things seem to take more time in Honduras.  Some people even speak of  “Honduran time.”  They don’t seem to be in a big hurry, until they get behind the wheel; then the pedal is to the metal and a good offence is the best defense.  I think I will park it here.


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