He Who Honks First: Seven Tips for Driving Argentina
While Argentina has traffic rules like everywhere else, your first time behind the wheel in Buenos Aires can be quite an adventure. Given the extensive bus system (see how to ride here), you don’t really need to drive in the city, although driving can be among the best ways to get outside of BA and explore some of the vast countryside. But since you’re likely to have to traverse greater Buenos Aires at some point, it’s best to know how the game is played!
Here’s a few tips that will keep you (and hopefully your vehicle) in one piece:
1. He Who Honks First…has Right of Way
Yes, while there are traffic signals here, that doesn’t mean everybody obeys them. More often than not, cars will honk to announce their approach into an intersection, and are likely to take that honk as having earned right of way. So be careful!
2. Don’t Turn Left
From main roads anyway, left turns are not typically permitted here. This is not always followed (as you may have guessed from Tip #1), but unless it’s specifically stated that you can turn left, you probably aren’t supposed to. Circle the block!
3. Get Ready for Tolls
Many of the main highways, especially around Buenos Aires, are privately owned. As such, you’ll probably have to pay a toll to ride.
4. Check Your Suspension
Not that you will really able to do much about this, but given Argentina’s tenuous financial state, road maintenance is not among the top priorities these days. You’re likely to hit a pothole, or three, so just keep your eyes on the road and don’t expect smooth sailing!
5. Don’t Leave Anything Visible
This should be common sense for most people in cities around the world, but if you park your car and leave anything that can even be perceived to have value in plain view, don’t expect it to be there when you return!
6. Wear Your Seat Belt!
In case you haven’t picked up anything else from Tips #1, #2 and #4, you’re not likely to have the smoothest Sunday drive you’ve ever had here. So be smart!
7. Enjoy the Adventure!