3 Differences In Driving in Latin America and the USA

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3 differences in driving in latin america and the usa

Some of my hubby’s family members came from the States to join us on our wedding day in Ecuador. It was so much fun to share that special day in the beautiful place where I grew up. A few weeks after the wedding, I asked my husband’s abuelo what was his favorite memory of his Ecuador’s visit, and he responded with a kind smile: “Driving in downtown Guayaquil. That was more exciting than taking the Indiana Jones Adventure ride in Disneyland!

Guayaquil
                                              

His remarks made me laugh hysterically, but it also reminded me of what I already knew about driving in many places in Latin America: We are crazy drivers! In fact, the hardest part for me about having to drive a car in the United States was actually getting rid of some of my previous old loco ways! It took some conscious effort, but I did it!

3 Differences In Driving in Latin America and the USA

Order

One thing that impressed me the most when I started driving in this country was the sense of order. American drivers seemed to me more intentional about following the law.  This is a good thing because it not only assures safety for everyone, but it also helps to extend the life of the vehicle. It is a win-win situation.

driving in latin america

Pedestrians

Another difference that I have noticed since I started driving in the States is how pedestrians have the right of way over vehicles. I know it is a pretty obvious thing and I am sure the same law is found in the written driving test in many countries like Ecuador, but unfortunately, it is not usually seen in the reality. This is why we need better enforcement of speed limits, more pedestrian-friendly infrastructure and education.

Maintenance of the Cars

In the United States, you can’t legally drive a car in bad shape. Yearly car inspections are mandatory and important to make sure our cars are safe to drive. The other day I took my carrito for an oil changed at Walmart Auto Care Center, and was impressed with the service. They not only changed my oil but they also educate me about things I need to be aware of my car’s maintenance.

 

One thing that I noticed is that they used Quaker State® Advanced Durability Motor Oil,  a familiar product in Mexico and South America known for delivering twice the wear protection of the industry standard throughout its life at a great price. (Only $19.88 for the DIFM Oil Changes.) This is wonderful because Quaker State gives you more durability and more honesty.

I spent a considerable amount of time in my car driving my children from one place to another. So it is very important to make sure my vehicle is safe to drive. Regular maintenance will give you peace of mind and help you to be aware of any possible issues.

What other things have you noticed is different in driving in Latin America and the USA?

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4 Comments on “3 Differences In Driving in Latin America and the USA”

  1. So true! plus in México, when you go to a gas station, somebody else fills the tank, not you. I didn’t put gas to my car by myself until a few years ago (and I’ve been living in the US since 2008) because most of the time my husband was the one making sure the tank was full, so I didn’t know how to do it! For me was a totally different experience lol.

    1. Blanca, you are so right about the gas! It is the same in Ecuador. I think it is odd that somebody else has to fill the tank! And yes, I also had to learn how to do it myself! It was a messy experience the first time I did it! 🙂

  2. I concur with the “order” difference. When I visited Mexico we took a taxi a couple times and they drove like maniacs on single-way roads through the mountains. Talk about exhilarating! To be fair, I think USA is in the minority of countries that consider traffic laws strict laws instead of “guidelines” – in Italy everyone drives crazy too and nobody ever stays in a traffic lane.
    Also, you’re more likely to see gas station attendants up north: in New Jersey you’re not allowed to have self-service gas stations. I remember the first time I stopped for gas in NJ I was really discombobulated by how it all worked. What do you mean I can’t pump my own gas?! haha

    1. Yes! Driving in many parts of Italy is hectic! The narrow roads make it even more challenging. I didn’t know that about New Jersey’s gas stations! Too funny!

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