Driver's Ed.

Buenos Aires Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 5 › view all entries
Buenos Aires sure has some crazy drivers, even the drivers of public transportation and taxis, who could be considered some of the craziest. Here drivers disregard the lane markings, squeeze between cars in the lanes, and weave and swerve around the slow pokes. Most taxi rides I’ve experienced have induced some adrenaline release caused by either the speedy maneuvers through the narrower car-line streets or the quick lane changes around a car through an intersection. However, in my first month in Buenos Aires, from either walking the streets, taking the “collectivos” (or city busses), or taking a taxi, I have yet to see as much as a fender-bender. I have found this quite impressive. Although, I have heard that accidents do happen, obviously, perhaps they aren’t as numerous as if these streets were filled with (North) American drivers.

This experience mirrors my experience in other countries when it comes to city drivers. In France, it was almost exactly the same, with drivers careening through the narrow streets, avoiding the slower cars by a quick flick of the steering wheel. Oh, and never mind the lane markings. Lanes? What are lanes? Also, I heard that drivers in Germany are very skilled drivers due to their very rigorous driver training that they must take in order to get a license. So what is it about drivers in other countries, that despite seeming more reckless, seem like much more competent drivers than Americans? Now bear in mind that perhaps I would need to spend a lot more time in Buenos Aires, and possible even drive around the city, to actually observe the drivers more, but just going on the time I have had hear there does seem to be differences.

One possible explanation is that it is possibly much more difficult to get a driver’s license here. Maybe, for example, in order to get one you must be of a higher age than that in the United States and pass a much more thorough exam. Another factor is the cars. They are nice and tiny here �" not very many hulking SUVs that plow other cars down. The small, manual transmission cars, can more easily zip around through the maze of cars. However, the busses seem to defy this category because they still seem to zoom down the road and squeeze in spaces that make the Americans go berserk. The concept of driving “personal space” is different here, as well. Drivers don’t seem to mind that they get so close to other cars that you could literally reach out and touch the car next to you. If you drive in this city, you drive in any space that you can. And lastly, perhaps it is partially that famous Argentine arrogance. A little bit of “I’m a better driver than you!” or “Move please, I’m more Argentine that you.” Whatever the reasons may be, there are definitely large differences in the driving manners in Argentina and the United States.

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