How to Drive in Cuenca

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January 24th 2008
Published: January 24th 2008
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January 24, 2008

First off, check down the list for other blog entries. I have not sent out a notification with every blog entry, just the most recent one if I add more than one on the same day.

I have not driven in Ecuador, nor do I have any immediate plans to try. However, I have spent a few weeks as a pedestrian in Cuenca, so I can share some observations.

1. Make sure your horn is working; you will use it a lot.
2. If you pull into a line-up of traffic, and the car in front of you is not close enough to the car in front of it, honk your horn.
3. If you have a car in front of you at a red light, honk your horn as soon as it turns green.
4. If the car in front of you is very expensive, disregard numbers 2 & 3.
5. If a pedestrian is crossing the street in front of you is less than half a block away, honk your horn.
6. Under no circumstances stop for a pedestrian.
7. If someone in front of you slows down or, horror, stops for a pedestrian, honk your horn.
8. If someone in front of you stops to drop off a passenger, honk your horn.
9. If you are coming to a blind intersection, honk your horn. If it is night, flash your lights too.
10. Ignore the lanes painted on roads, drive in the middle as much as you can.
11. No need to signal lane changes, see #10.
12. If someone driving in the middle of the road is in front of you, honk to see if they will move over a bit so you can pass.
13. Do not pay any attention to turn signals on any car in front of you. They mostly do not use them, and if they do, you should not rely on them.
14. If you see somebody on the street you recognize, honk your horn.
15. If you see somebody you recognize in a car, honk at them too.
16. If it is not rush hour, you can ignore the traffic lights.
17. If you ride a motorcycle, do not wear a helmet. If you have a helmet, carry it on your arm when you are riding.
18. If you are on a motorcycle, you can ride between the cars on two lanes, and between the cars and the curb on one lane.
19. If the traffic is not moving to your satisfaction, honk your horn as a general indication of disapproval.


24th January 2008

Horns aplenty...
I wonder if anyone else was chuckling as much as I was about the Cuenca drivers. I'll bet the sound is deafening and I'll also bet that their blood pressure rates are nothing like the North Americans. How can it be, they let it all go in the streets! ...and you are going to ride your motorcycle there - what is spanish for crazy? Loco? Scary story about the camera (thanks for the tip of reading back - I would have missed it otherwise). I've heard about the need to be wary, though never known anyone personally involved. Goes to show not everyone has your best interests in mind. Gotta' be careful while still being adventurous. Looks like you are walking that line. Looking forward to your next update. - Sandy
25th January 2008

Loving the blogs!
Hey Uncle! I'm really enjoying your blogs and all of your pictures. The traffic rules you have posted are hilarious! I hope you are having a great time seeing the sights and learning the language. Can't wait for your next one!
28th January 2008

Just like Jamaica
Hola John! Your description of driving in Ecuador sounds just like what we saw in Jamaica. Maybe its the latitude and/or the heat? Hope things are going OK for you.

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