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Your Car and Driving

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Home / Preface
5 - Costa Rica in Brief
6 - Map of Costa Rica
8 - Symbols of Costa Rica
9 - Introduction
12 - Getting a Bird's Eye View
14 - Why Choose Costa Rica?
18 - Costa Rica Has Many Firsts to its Name
22 - A Place That Accepts All Races
30 - The Friendliness of the Costa Ricans
33 - Ticos are Individualistic
35 - Ticos Are Different and Procrastinators
38 - Why Others Have Gone Abroad
42 - Specific Reasons for Leaving Home
45 - Culture Shock
48 - Enjoy Your Retirement by Adjusting
49 - Ways to Adjust to Your New Life
56 - Making Your Stay More Satifying
58 - Cost of Living
67 - Addresses and Directions
69 - Your Car and Driving
71 - How Not to Be Obnoxious to Locals
74 - Adjusting to the Weather and Climate
76 - Choosing the Right Climate for You
77 - City Living versus Country Living
79 - Where to Live in Costa Rica
82 - Living in Your American Style
84 - Top Quality Health Services
87 - Medical Centers in San José
89 - Dying in Costa Rica
91 - Security and Safety in Costa Rica
94 - Personal Experiences of Petty Thievery
98 - Sex and Romance
101 - Going into Business Yourself
105 - Expatriates Production Enterprises
110 - Expatriates Service Businesses
114 - The Business Environment
120 - Helpful Tips for the Newcomer
125 - National Holidays and Festivities
128 - Religion, Churches & Support Groups
131 - The Optimism and Health Link
133 - The 8 Point Formula for Anti-Aging
134 - Obtaining Insurance
136 - Early Colonial History in Brief
139 - English Language & Tico Expressions
144 - Misdemeanors That Are Now Felonies
146 - Closing Words
148 - Bibliography
149 - For More Information and Contacts
151 - Appendix
155 - Index

Keep Calm in Traffic Jams and Live Longer

If you're driving, you have the right-of-way on the avenues provided there is no stop light or stop sign (ALTO). With many taxi cabs and motorcycles zigzagging as they do, it's sound advice to drive defensively. In fact, courses on defensive driving are occasionally offered. Don't take it for granted that everyone will stop at a stop sign even though you have the right-of-way so be ready to put on the brakes at any moment There's plenty of jay-walking so always be on the alert. Some rural roads are narrow so you might have to backup to give the oncoming car a chance to pass by. If at any time you should get sandwiched between two buses, don't panic, continue carefully and calmly. Some of their drivers are experts and don't want to get their buses damaged.

Again citing The Tico Times, its writer Mitzi Stark (with some additions of Jörn Malek) was very explicit when she wrote: "When you're driving in Costa Rica, you have to keep your eyes on the car ahead of you, the car behind you, the motorcycle sneaking up alongside, dashing pedestrians crossing three lane higways, dogs, holes, cows, horses, garbage trucks, public buses, and broken down cars blocking traffic, and worst of all thousands of drivers with absolutely or almost no driving education some even without drivers-licence, but with the idea that they drive almost as good as Michael Schumacher." I'll add more, such as having to put up with drivers honking behind you, and others giving you a dirty look if you drive too slowly. On some of the street corners you're apt to have a panhandler knock on your window. By paying no attention to him, he'll very likely go away quietly. In Costa Rica, therefore, the advice to follow when driving is to have patience, not to worry and certainly not to panic. Eventually, you'll get to your destination safe and sound.

As a Costa Rican, I recognize that the automotive traffic is a serious and pervasive problem. As crazy as it may seem, thousands of other Ticos themselves also consider it to be the most serious problem in the country. Traffic laws, if they are rational, are generally not enforced. They are abused in every conceivable way constantly. Traffic police are not enforcing the most basic of common traffic behaviour. Drivers are not educated. Every conceivable inconsiderate driving manoeuvre is executed constantly. One expatriate retiree went so far as to say rightly so that "the pedestrian is abused and attacked like it is the blood sport of the country." And I would say that it's comparable to the Roman slaves being tossed to the lions in the Coliseum. Currently, Costa Rica has more than 700,000 vehicles travelling the highways with several thousands more being imported monthly while practically no new roads have been built in recent years.

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All texts of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica are copyrighted © by Frank J. Thomas Gallardo and Editorial Texto Costa Rica. We recommend to buy a hard copy of How to Retire Happily in Peacefull Costa Rica.