Driving in Lima, Peru

February 9th, 2009

Driving in Peru, and particularly in Lima, is a challenge. Drivers ignore the rules of the road, have no consideration for others and die at a rate of 30 per 100,000 vehicles per year.

The British Embassy warns visitors:

Driving standards in Peru (particularly in Lima) are poor, with stop signs and traffic lights frequently ignored. Drivers overtake on either side, with little concern for pedestrians or oncoming traffic. Crashes resulting in death and injury take place almost every day.

While the US Embassy warns visitors:

Driving conditions in Peru are very different from those found in the United States and can be considerably more dangerous. Visitors are strongly encouraged to familiarize themselves with local law and driving customs before attempting to operate vehicles.

So, lets familiarize ourselves with the local regulations and customs. To do this, we will walk through some simple multiple choice questions like those Peruvians must answer to be awarded a driver’s licence. Answer them correctly and you too will be qualified to drive in Lima and Peru!

1. As two cars approach an unsigned intersection at the same time, who has the right of way?
a) The car on the left  b) The car on the right  c) Whoever moves first

2. Overtaking is done always on the:
a) Left   b) Right   c) Right & at highest speed possible to avoid accidents by getting it over with as quick as possible.

3. A stop sign means:
a) Honk horn  b) Speed up  c) Slow down

4. A speed limit of 80kmph means:
a) 90-120kmph   b) A suggestion for those not in a hurry  c) Minimum speed

5. When needing to turn left, across traffic, which lane should you be in?
a) Far right  b) Rightmost lane  c) The lane furtherest away from the left

6. Red, Amber and Green traffic lights mean:
a) Ignore, Speed up, Go.  b) Slow down, Speed up, Go.  c) Caution, Go, Floor it.

7. Overtaking on a blind turn is:
a) Encouraged   b) Legal  c) Mandatory

8. In a hospital zone:
a) Speed can be increased and less caution taken as help is nearby   b) The entrance is as good as any place to park   c) Play a song using your horn to cheer up the patients    d) All of the above

I won’t post the answers. Happy driving!

Disclaimer: If you are a safe driver, although you may annoy those who aren’t, you should be perfectly safe, so long as you know what to expect.

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