Driving in Colombia

I keep returning to this subject, it is one of my pet hates, and that is the standard of driving in Colombia, it is appalling!

The Government blame Drivers of all vehicles, but it is the Government that issue the Licenses, they issue them like confetti, with no regard to the drivers they give them to being safe.

The system was supposed to change, but it continues unabated, people can get a license without taking a test, someone else stands in for them, but it isn\’t that hard to get hold of one, as the Instructors decide if they are proficient, you can get a motorbike license here with as little as four hours training, I know this from experience, my sister-in-law had exactly that, and then wondered why she had two accidents in the following two months.

The Instructors don\’t fail their Pupils, it wouldn\’t look good on them, so it doesn\’t matter how bad you are, you will be able to drive, as long as you can pass the medical, and that is much harder than both the test, and the medicals given back in Europe.

It is time the Testing was done by an Independent Body, there was talk of this, but it yet has to be introduced, like everything else here as long as there is a Government member whoes kids are waiting to get a license, this won\’t change.

This morning for example, I was driving on the Autopista to Copacabana, when I came behind a Learner Driver.

They were diabolical, I am not going to blame the Driver, it was down to the Instructor, they were braking whilst hundreds of yards from the turn, no indication when turning onto the slip road, and then it came to an abrupt stop, and started moving backwards towards me, it was only when I sounded the horn, as they neared me, that the instructor beckoned me to pass, by which time, they were so close I had to reverse myself. The Instructor should have his permit revoked, if indeed he had one, they were dangerous.

When I left Copacabana for Bello, I then had to witness total disregard for the laws of the road from motorcyclists, the first, failed to wait for the traffic lights to change, the second decided that by indicating out of sight of me, she could cut me off at traffic lights, turning left immediately in front, I could easily have knocked her clean off, if I wasn\’t looking for something to happen, and the third again totally ignored the red traffic lights. People who use motorcycles here as their mode of transport, are mainly untrained, and dangerous on the road, they may have a license, but really it means nothing. They are looked down on by genuine Bikers, because they give everyone a bad name.

These selfish bikers, believe the road belongs to them, they make a two lane road into four or five, then shout at four wheeled Drivers if they can\’t get passed, or if they drive to close, even if those four wheeled drivers are the ones obeying the law.

I am not saying that four wheeled drivers ( I say this, because I am covering every class of vehicle that has a minimum of four wheels) are good, on the contrary, but at least they have to stick in a marked lane. They still have no idea what Indicators are for, they don\’t stop for Give Way lines, or when entering a main road from a minor road, they believe they have the God given right to go where they want, when they want, and to hell with everyone else.

The major problem is that none of them are policed, because both Transito (The Municipal Traffic Police) and the Policía Nacional drive to the same standard.

I guess the Government is not too bothered, because  with most of them being Catholic, this helps with population control.

Published by Phil Sale

I moved to Colombia from Spain in 2012, and I am happily married to a Colombiana.

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