Need a lift?

People talk about drivers from one city or another as being incredibly inept at operating a vehicle.

“Drivers from Chicago? Do you value your life?” Or, “Those idiots in L.A. need to get off their phones, and learn how to use a turn signal!”

But I’m here to say that Peruvian drivers are without a doubt terrible.

For starters, they honk at everything.  Slow moving vehicle ahead? Honk.  Little old lady on the sidewalk? Honk.  Dog on a porch? Honk. Curve in the road? Honk. Pedestrian in the crosswalk? Honk, then speed up. Motorcyclist riding three deep with a baby on the handle bars?  That requires a series of several honks, while you inch in closer and closer to his bumper.

We had a guide put it this way: “Peruvians see road signs and oncoming traffic as a game.  If the sign says slow down, they’ll speed up.  If a vehicle is approaching on a narrow road, they’ll charge aggressively, honking the entire time.”

I was involved in far too many single lane, dirt road stalemates.  As our driver was barreling full speed ahead, honking at this and that, intentionally hugging the side closest to a steep cliff, he would eventually come head-to-head with another crazed Peruvian driver.

Rapid fire honks would ensue, and without fail, our driver would cave, forcing him to travel in reverse down a road about as wide as my staircase, no guardrails, me sitting on the, uh, side with the best view, convinced our back axle just went over the edge.   I’ve never felt more alive.

Surprisingly, though, you will rarely see a Peruvian angered while driving.  No fist shaking, or mumbling under the breath.  No single finger salutes out the window. No road rage.

Just a whole lot of honking.


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