Almost Killed Three Dominicans Sunday Night

cobraboy

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Jul 24, 2004
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We were going back to La Hamaca de Dios (Jarabacoa-"God is everywhere, but he sleeps in Jarabacoa";)) from Santiago Sunday evening around 9pm. We were going maybe 30-35mph in a driving rain on the very dark Autopista somewhere between the airport and the toll booth. Windshield wipers were going like hell, and I was paying serious attention to the road ahead. It was difficult to see, and I had the fog lights on driving in the left lane. Fortunately, there were very few other cars around, and I was not driving too fast for the conditions.

Appearing suddenly, maybe 50 feet in front of me is "something" I was overtaking fast, an indescript object moving slowly. I slowed down in a near panic, and got maybe 10 feet from "it": a black pasola, no lights on of any kind, with three people on it, all dressed in black, nothing reflective, right square in the middle of the left lane, doing maybe 10mph...

Morons. I would have killed all three, period. They were lucky I was driving and not some truck driver or Dominican SUV uber-pilot doing 60. As I passed, they didn't even look over. They were oblivious.

Darwin at work. They each used a life that night, and didn't even know it.

I know see why statistically, driving a moto or pasola in this country is so dangerous.
 

Hillbilly

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Jan 1, 2002
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congratulations on having the good sense and the great luck to avoid that mess.

When I used to go to Bonao three times a week to teach at our extension there. we would have a pool: Everyone put in RD$5.00 and a number. The number would be our guess at how many motores we would pass with no lights.... One night the winning number was 78!!

My only really serious accident here was with a motor with no lights. It won't happen again...at least not with that driver!



HB
 

Keith R

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Jan 1, 2002
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The first 2-3 times I visited the DR in the late 1980s, we got around on public transport or in a friend's car, so I didn't fully appreciate the dangers of driving in the DR. Then we decided to rent a car during our next visit, so that we could get around easier and more readily go to places outside SD.

What a nightmare, especially at night! No street lights because of blackouts. Unmarked construction pits in the street everywhere. Intersections with no working traffic light, so crossing was a game of chicken. Chatarra conchos and motoconchos traveling without lights. People and pets walking the streets, sometimes in dark clothes, or crossing the street, heedless of traffic.

Nerve racking, to say the least.

I ended that trip swearing never to drive on another DR trip. I did, though. And in fact drove most days of my four years living there! But it remained very nerve-racking. Sometimes my wife would come home from work shaking -- and this is someone who learned to drive in NYC! We had many, close calls -- too many. Thank god nothing more!
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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Tell me about - talk about stupidity.

It reminds me of a time a good friend told me he encountered someone under similar circumstances coming back from Moca and he slammed on the brakes but actually just bumped the guy with the bubmer square on the rear tire.. My friend, the eternal comic, pulled along side the guy and rolled down the windo and sais, "se le prendio"(did that start the motor for you)? followed by a few dichos, hahahha.

I wouldn't hazard to say the majority of these guys are shipfaced drunk.
 

Ricardo900

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Jul 12, 2004
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I remember a couple of years ago driving in the capital at night during the numerous black outs, no traffic lights and conchos all over the place weaving in and out of traffic. I thought I was definitely going to run one of those guys over! Many of those pasolas can't even reach highway speeds and these guys will ride it drunk, at night, in the rain, with passengers and no lights, Jeeshhh. Vaya con dios!!
 

J D Sauser

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Nov 20, 2004
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It's stupidity which kills most people around here... other's will call it natural selection...
Yet, I think that what would help, was that the police would recognize that there IS some qualtos to be made from picking up all vehicles who have no lights and put their drivers in a cell WITHOUT ANY LIGHT over the nite... so they can bump into each other all nite trying to sort out where to pee and where to sleep. MAYBE, a few of them would get the message then.

Obviously, there will always be those who think that because they're poor they should be dealt with with more fur gloves.... pero amigos mios, conducir es un privilegio no un derecho!

Most of these hotheaded mueltoahoritas only live by the grace of those who play stunt drivers trying to evade them. But they think THEY are cool... until one day, they're cold.


... J-D.
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
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Tell me about - talk about stupidity.

It reminds me of a time a good friend told me he encountered someone under similar circumstances coming back from Moca and he slammed on the brakes but actually just bumped the guy with the bubmer square on the rear tire.. My friend, the eternal comic, pulled along side the guy and rolled down the windo and sais, "se le prendio"(did that start the motor for you)? followed by a few dichos, hahahha.

I wouldn't hazard to say the majority of these guys are shipfaced drunk.
I can just hear him saying: Hijos de su mald*** Mad**! LOL!!!
The more nerve racking the situation, the most severe the Dichos! LOL!!!:laugh:
 

PICHARDO

One Dominican at a time, please!
May 15, 2003
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It's stupidity which kills most people around here... other's will call it natural selection...
Yet, I think that what would help, was that the police would recognize that there IS some qualtos to be made from picking up all vehicles who have no lights and put their drivers in a cell WITHOUT ANY LIGHT over the nite... so they can bump into each other all nite trying to sort out where to pee and where to sleep. MAYBE, a few of them would get the message then.

Obviously, there will always be those who think that because they're poor they should be dealt with with more fur gloves.... pero amigos mios, conducir es un privilegio no un derecho!

Most of these hotheaded mueltoahoritas only live by the grace of those who play stunt drivers trying to evade them. But they think THEY are cool... until one day, they're cold.


... J-D.
Don't forget that they serve a crucial role of service for our medical students at regional hospitals, to both the morgue and "departamento de mentiole' y curitas para motoristas". I think that the "departamento de desabolladura y pintura de conductores de motor" no longer provides ferrer...
 

tflea

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Jun 11, 2006
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It'll Catch Up

Driving at any time, especially at night, is, for me, the most dangerous activity we do. Forget the tigres, los delicuentes, the bars on the windows, the dogs, the razor wire, the alarms, cameras, watchees, whatever. The numbers are bound to catch up with us. Fortunately I've only smacked a few mirrors and scratched a few vehicles, dented the bumpers. How close is that. I never stop. Sort it out in the morning, or whenever.
"Mira, General, desculpe las molestia, pero recuerdas cuando nos encontramos en la cena el otro dia? ............." ! :bunny:
 

BushBaby

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This thread demonstrates one of the FEW reasons I do not like to drive after dark in the DR. I have driven in many countries right through the night & never experienced the hazards one experiences here!! At least most places teach pedestrians & motorcycle riders to wear something light so we drivers are given a fighting chance of seeing them even when they have no visible lights!!

As an additional warning to those new to driving in the DR, please be aware that IF you hit one of these inconsiderate drivers/riders then it will be YOUR fault. The fact that the rider is being absolutely suicidal in the way he/she rides (or the pedestrian walking) does not extend to your innocence when confronted by an angry family or the 'Law'?!! In these instances 'gringos' are considered guilty until proven innocent (which means quite a chunck of money & get out of Dodge quick')!! I am sure anyone who has been living in the DR for more than 5 years has heard stories of friends who have been hounded out of the country by angry relatives of a seriously injured or deceased relative who was stupid enough to try redesign their motorcycle on the bonnet of a car.

IF driving at night, be slow & be SAFE ~ Grahame.
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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I concurr that it is best to avoid driving at night. However, I have found that after a couple of years my level of intensity has notched up quite a good bit so that I'm unconsciously scanning the road all of the time.

As far as not being able to see the types that like to dress in dark clothes and don't have any lights, reminds me of a family member who snickered at one motorcyclist that we gave a close call to: ay co?o idiota, riese por lo menos para que se vea. :)
 

Lambada

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I would have killed all three, period.
So glad you didn't - that wouldn't have been an auspicious start to your new life here.

I think I've driven in the dark twice in 15+ years. I just won't do it.

But at least you've got it over & done with.........happens to everyone who drives at night sooner or later. Some are skilful & lucky like you & tflea. Others less so..........the jail, the looking over the shoulder, the never knowing when revenge will be sought in the case of a fatality (particularly of a breadwinner). Not IF but WHEN. One of the dark sides of living here.
 

whirleybird

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Feb 27, 2006
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I think we discovered in our first month of living here that we did not enjoy or desire to drive after dark... I have always worked on the premise that "if you cannot please a fool, don't aggrivate it" ...think this applies here
 

amparocorp

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Aug 11, 2002
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what amazes me is that if you asked any of the 3 people, on the moto without lights, if they thought there was anything stupid or dangerous about their actions they would think you are a nut for asking the question, and they would add that "miguel" is a very good driver....................
 

DavidZ

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Aug 29, 2005
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"I know see why statistically, driving a moto or pasola in this country is so dangerous."

Driving here is crazy, especially at night, but what almost happened to you is not what makes motos and pasolas so dangerous here...it's what makes driving here "period" so dangerous. So many people seem to have absolutely ZERO regard for their own, or others' lives when it comes to sharing the roads.

As often as it happens, basically daily, I am still amazed at the sheer stupidity of many of this country's drivers...particularly those on 2 wheels. If, for some reason, you *must* drive a vehicle with no lights, at least do it in the far right lane...I mean c'mon...it's common sense, right??? And/or if your vehicle has a top speed of, say 10 mph, the same rule applies - especially on the autopistas!

I think the number one thing the government could do do in this country to improve quality of life. without "ruining" the way of life here (after building more schools and 'quality' hospitals, and maybe doing something about "food basket" prices) Is to enforce a reasonable set of vehicle safety and driving laws... but of course, the chance of that happening is.....
 

frank recktenwald

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Jun 18, 2007
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Big head lights

What about the cars driving at night with their big lights on so one gets blinded.
Lived on 3 Continents and always loved driving at night but here it's suicidal and I do it as less as possible
 

Chip

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Jul 25, 2007
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"I know see why statistically, driving a moto or pasola in this country is so dangerous."
Do you actually have statistics? I will be very surprised if the statistics don't show that it is much safer to ride a motorcycle here in the DR than the US - based on the number of miles traveled and the number of riders compared to the number of cars.

I base this on having riden a substantial amount in both countries. notwithstanding the skew caused by drunks at night without light, it is a fact that Dominican auto drivers are much more aware of motorcycle riders than in the States, and they have to be of course because the majority of miles traveled here everyday is certainly by motorcycle.
 

Chirimoya

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Dec 9, 2002
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A vast number of people are killed or maimed in motorcycle-related accidents in the DR each year. Certainly in absolute terms, although I don't know how it works out in proportion to the total number of users.
There have been a couple of reports in the dr1 news lately - the most recent was from doctors warning about the sheer number of serious injuries they have to deal with on a daily basis.
But I agree with one of the earlier posters. Although not a huge fan of motorbikes myself, stupidity rather than motorbikes is the main factor here.