Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Driving in Ghana

Everybody talks about the crazy driving in Ghana. To me it has never seemed that crazy. Driving in Cambodia and Vietnam is CRAZY--driving in Ghana is very tame in comparison. However, the TRAFFICK in Ghana can be absolutely mind-boggling. It's not uncommon at all for a regular working Joe to spend 6-8 hours a day in his/her commute.

There is a driving "lanuage" here that I find quite amusing.

Do you want to pass somebody? Honk several times in short succession.
Goat in the road (or any other living thing)? Short honk, LONG honk!
Are you going to be passed by somebody? Honk in recognition, to let the passer know that it's safe to pass.
Are you going to turn? Don't forget to honk.
Coming up to a pedestrian as you drive? Honk so that they know you're coming.

You honk pretty much for everything, but there are definitely certain honks for certain issues.

Oh--driving at night? If on a rural road you drive with your brights on constantly (you really do need to) and when someone comes upon you (also with their brights on) you both flash your brights on and off at each other until you have passed! Someone is supposed to give in and turn their brights off but it seems instead both parties argue it out, waiting for someone to turn them off first.

I was told for the drive up West we would definitely need a 4X4. In America, we wouldn't think we would need a 4x4 for the same road. The difference is that here--when you are on an unpaved road you go just as fast as on the paved road, so rocks and other things fly and ding the car as you skid along the loose dirt/gravel. You have to have the 4x4 to control this crazy fast driving on a dirt road! The fastest I saw our driver go on a dirt road was 145kph (90 mph)--and he did that for a solid hour. My co-worker and I were praying!! LOL!

In Ghana the lines on the road might be more of a suggestion than an rule, but most people follow the lines when it makes sense. Everybody knows the driving "language" so I generally feel pretty safe. The traffic backups are beyond frustrating but you learn to deal with it. Just do your shopping while your stuck in traffic!



Rachel 11:30 AM  

All of the honking reminds me of Liberia! It was so funny to me when Micah came home because most little boys go "brrrmmm, brrmmm" when they play with cars but Micah said "Beep! Beep!" LOL!

Story of our Life 5:45 PM  

My co-worker John is from Zambabia (spelled wrong I know) and I were talking today. I told him about your comments on "Driving in Ghana" and asked it it was like that in all of Africa and he says "OH yes". He then says "who you know in Ghana...I talk to her. I go with her. no fair she go and not me". LOLOL

We also discussed how he REALLY needs to learn how to say "Ma'am" and stop calling me MOM becaue I am NOT his mom nor do I want to be his mom. (He could be my dad).