Automobile Wrecks

ElQueso

Registered
I just had to comment on the last couple of days being a series of big wreck days out where I live, or on routes I drive regularly.

Two days ago, my wife was waiting for a collectivo in Tortuguitas (about 37K on Ruta 8 toward Pilar) at the intersection of the collectora and the main cross-road that goes under the highway (it's not called Tortuguitas, but of course there are no road signs so I don't actually know what it's called). There is an exit that comes down on the opposite side of the cross street where the bus stop is. There were about 6 cars waiting for the light sitting on the hill of the exit at the bottom. Anyone approaching the exit from the freeway wouldn't have seen any cars because there's a hill for the exit and there weren't enough cars to back up high enough for someone to see.

My wife happened to be looking in that direction when she noticed an SUV of some type come flying up to the exit and turn off without slowing down hardly at all. If there had been no cars there, from what my wife told me I think that guy would have had problems slowing down and turning in time to not smash into the railing at the bottom of the exit. As it was, there was a small hatchback of some sort that the SUV hit first, smashing it against another small car in front of it and that second car actually going under the older Falcon that was the last car to take rest of the force of the idiot exiting. The first car the got hit looked like it was completely smashed she said. My wife's bus came just a minute after, there was hardly any time for anyone to react and she didn't see any more.

Yesterday I had a dinner with some ex-pat friends of mine. I was coming back home around 1:30 am, driving up General Paz from along Saavedra toward the split of General Paz and Aceso Norte. About half a klick up the highway from the Lugones start of it, on the inbound side (opposite me) there were three or four cars smashed up against each other with cops and wreckers around taking care of things. About a klick further up General Paz, I saw flares out on my side of the road, lights flashing, etc. At first I thought it was a checkpoint, but how strange that it was on the left side, I thought. Plus I've never seen a chackpoint on General Paz. As I got closer, I saw that it was ANOTHER freaking accident, 5 cars all smashed together, with police and wreckers all around taking care of things!

Today around 2:00 pm, I drive out to Pilar to go buy some things in the Jumbo/Easy shopping center out there. On the way, there were 3 cars on the left side, all smashed into each other. I couldn't freaking believe it! There was a couple of cops behind them lighting a flare and waving off traffic so it had obviously happened pretty recently.

The topper was tonight, around 8:30 pm, when I took my wife's cousin and her younger brother to help me bring back some McDonald's (alright, her mother and brother just came to visit, we have a house full and it was late - no one had cooked! McDonald's has it uses at times...). The place it at the Ruta 8 and Ruta 26 intersection. On the McDonald's side of the collectora, there is a roundabout (one of the few intersection traffic control devices in existence out where I live) that controls traffic between Ruta 8, the collectora and Ruta 26 traffic. There are three gas stations on the corner and the McDonalds next to one fo the gas stations. It's actually a very busy intersection.

We leave McDonald's parking lot, get on the collectora moving toward the Ruta 8 entrance ramp (which is actually toward the intersection, but turns up and back toward the highway before it gets to the intersection). As I approach the massive confusion that is the roundabout (not because a roundabout is a bad design [it's not] but because a roundabout does require some form of cooperation which is not likely to happen here, particularly related to driving!) I notice that there is an ambulance and a couple of cops, and the whole roundabout is shut down. There is a motor scooter (a Vespa, or something like it, not a small motorcycle) UNDER a Ford EcoSport (a small SUV). There are paramedics holding a guy's head up off the pavement. He's stretched out and there were a lot of people surrounding him, so I couldn't see very well what was happening.

So, I just had to kind of get all of that out. It was amazing to me, so many accidents in just three days. Pretty big accidents really. Not just a couple of fender benders, but some pretty serious crap. Give me any statistic you want, but driving in Argentina is not safe.
 

gouchobob

Registered
I've been on the same roads many times and even in the same McDonald's. I agree completely. I've witnessed a couple of accidents on Ruta 8 and even stopped to give assistance on one occasion. There is a good place to eat near where you live called La Portena, I highly recommend it for beef. Also the best Italian restaurant in Argentina in my opinion is Mario Fettucini in Pilar, very good food, a but a bit pricey by Argentina standards. I can't remember when driving when there wasn't at least one close call. You have to be constantly alert with eyes in the back of your head. I remember one time on ruta 8 I witnessed a high speed race between three cars, they were weaving in and out of traffic, even leaving the paved road and on to the grass to get around slower moving vehicles. The third car in the race was a police vehicle, he was not chasing the first two cars but particpating in the race. There is a reckless disregard for safety here.
 

ElQueso

Registered
Yeah, I love Mario Fettucini - one of the best Italian restaurants that I know in or around Buenos Aires.

I've seen La Portena but I've never been there. I drive by it often when I pick one fo the girls up from a bus stop at the Garin exit (if I'm thinking of the correct place). I'll have to try it - been meaning to.

I see the racing allt he time, for sure. I have to admit I've never seen a cop involved in the action, but completely believe it.
 

bradlyhale

Registered
The other day on my way to Ezeiza, there was an accident involving a moto. The moto's driver was dead on the pavement. What a pleasant sight as I was leaving the country...
 

arty

Registered
I am never driving a car in this country. And you have to be insane to ride a motorcycle in microcenter.
 

fifilafiloche

Registered
The microcentro is actually fairly easy...9 de Julio is very large, there is always some way to get to the traffic light and a lot of free parking for the motorcycles (paying 10 pesos for 2 hours can get tiresome very quickly).

Actually, i m more stressed riding in France, i always fear to get pulled over by a cop for whatever reason (a few km/h over speed limit, an orange traffic line, a straight white line, papers controls...). In Buenos Aires, riding is FUN! And that s what motorcycling is about. In the countryside, it can get boring, especially in the Pampa, but at least you dont need to pay for highways, since national roads get you very quickly from one point to another (no need to slow down every 5 minutes to enter a village).

There are certainly more casualties here, i know it and it wont stop me from enjoying riding around, just like anti tabacco campains wont stop me from smoking...I might die a few years before the retirement house, but at least i will have fully enjoyed it.

2 friends died young , they were all into adrenaline sports. They will be remembered as young and energetic. I salute them from here.

And i tell you, there is much worse than Buenos Aires. Moscow, Venezuela, Asuncion, the South East of China bring you much more stress than here...

the bolivian altiplano death road with its crosses at every corner,



brazilian wrecked roads between Manaus and Boa Vista...



Argentina is a riding paradise in comparison.
 

EvergreenGal

Registered
This thread could go on and on and never stop...we have all seen horrific accidents or the aftermath in person or on TV....there is no respect for other motorists...and no rules enforced...so it's like giving a 16 year old boy the keys... who has never driven before and say ...have fun!

IF you have to drive...do so..but keep an extra set of eyes on the watch for the idiots...and pray for a safe journey...
 

fifilafiloche

Registered
What i mean is that the more you fear risks, the harder you make your life for yourself and for your family. I am very surprised to read so many North Americans reporting their fears here, be it from driving, from illnesses...since this is in total contradiction with the idea they have about themselves being risk takers, facing the Evil fearless to make the Good triumph...Can this be achieved simply by watching a tv screen in a confortable sofa?

Fear is communicative, that virus corrupts minds and kills life more surely than Ebola. I wish there were fewer posts willing to spread that virus around here, especially from people that had the courage to leave their country to adventure their life abroad. Where is the adventure if you expect everything to be like at home? What will this teach you?

I m puzzled...
 

EvergreenGal

Registered
Define risk....sure you take a risk everytime you walk out your door....or get into a car...but I don't call it a risk driving or riding a motorcycle in BA...I call it suicide in the making...you can be the victim of more close calls or real accidents than I care to count.

In the states I was on the the road for my job...not ONCE did I feel my life at risk from driving from point A to point B....here I do....it's as simple as that. I loved to drive..it was relaxing...people knew the rules and followed them...here it's a guessing game at best.

I guess you can say one mans trash is another mans treasure....if you find a "thrill" in driving in BA..more power to you...I will never feel that....only very thankful when I reach my destination in one piece.
 

fifilafiloche

Registered
Over more than 100,000 miles riding around the world, the only place where i crashed was...in the USA. It gave me a chance to discover the local culture more in depth (Louisiana, Cajun country) staying with a family there while waiting for my knee to somewhat get better...and discover than, against appearances, there is indeed generosity and trust in that competitive environment. There are millions of suicide candidates that drive vehicules in Buenos Aires, most of them have families, and, unlike in the US, they have public transport as a cheaper alternative but they prefer to drive...amazing isnt it. After all, there might be some reasons for them to enjoy driving in Buenos Aires.

There are people that will never swim in fear of water, never fly in fear of height...there are indeed planes crashing every year and people drawning too. There people will also never feel the pleasure and freedom of swimming in a wild environment or gliding at sunset with the birds.

As written before, riding in China litterally terrorized me the first night i got there...it scared me a bit less the day after...and a few days after it started to be fun. Your brain is much more flexible than you think it is, just give it a chance to adapt. If you can learn a different way to speak, why couldnt you learn a different way to drive?

Btw, public transports are also more dangerous than back home, do you avoid them? This is a train/bus accident that a close rugbyman friend escaped last year, he saved about 10 people from death.






You don t stop breathing because oxygene rots your cells, it s also vital to live your life.
 
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