Puerto Rico driving: The locals’ perspective

Welcome to a new edition of Cultural Tidbits Monday! Last week, I introduced you to driving in Puerto Rico from a visiting gringo’s perspective. You laughed at the funny video and learned that the island is way more similar to South America, despite its status as a U.S. dependency. Now, you’ll see what the locals think about Puerto Rico driving. Tighten your seat belts!

Puerto Rico driving, bad parking

Smart car with a not-so-smart driver? Police (on left) feasting, of course

Puerto Rico driving: The locals are interviewed

Priscilla Narvarte: Puerto Rico driving? The Hooooles! Grrrrr! No one can be saved! Hahaha.

Karla Laborde: Careful when the light changes. To some boricuas, when it’s red… they see it green! […] And definitely, there are some craters on most roads!

Angela Mendez: Usually, I’m a sweet person, but when I’m driving I become another person. Specially, when they pull a “corte de pastelillo” on me (when someone speeds up and suddenly, very closely, run right in front of you from a different lane). Or when, during an infernal tapón (traffic jam), the cars behind you somehow expect you to splat the cars ahead of you, keep honking at you, among other things. I got a story for you…

One time I was coming out of the mall, in the middle of a traffic jam, and this individual wanted me to move my car so he could drive by the grass and get into the emergency lane. I mean, there was NO space and he was honking at me like an animal. So I, very happily, got closer to the car right in front of me so he would have even less space…!

I know, doing that in Puerto Rico is asking fro a shot. In summary, Puerto Rico driving takes out the worst in me :S […] By the way, I have an American friend that lived in PR for a while and during his first months here he told me: “Puerto Ricans drive like crazy!!!” Yet, after time went by, he told me: “I drive like a Puerto Rican now.” In fact, when he went back to his hometown, none of his friends wanted him to drive. I mean, it can be contagious for some people!

Puerto Rico driving, treacherous road

Puerto Rico driving: Treacherous? Maybe… (Hank Anderson, Flickr)

Marian Clementina: Almost no one is courteous. I spend more money in filling or fixing my tires than in gas because the holes f*** my rims very easily, they are enemies. Almost no one turns the signal lights to turn, so you end up braking on their ass. I don’t understand how this happens, as the signal light switch is so accessible, but oh well. People honk crazily at you even though the light just turned green. The roads or streets are usually labeled, but they could be better.

On the good side, Puerto Rico driving is panoramic. There are many roads with beautiful views that I really enjoy as a driver. Forests to discover inland. That aside, I do believe Puerto Rico is the best place to learn how to drive. One learns to make drastic route and lane changes, even “DIY parking” (create-your-own parking, as the photo above).

Helga Marie Torres: When you are in Puerto Rico, you’ll notice right away. Only look at the car beside you and, if it’s a woman, she must be putting make-up on while talking on her cellphone. If it’s a man, he will cut you off for sure.

Deliana Pagán: Puerto Rico driving is terrible! I only go on vacation now, but from what I’ve seen, not good. They drive without seatbelts. After midnight, they run all red lights, as if it’s an unwritten law. They drag race on the highway. I cant think of the good things lol. I get scared when I get in a car over there. Been closed to too many car accidents.

You must be wondering: Is Puerto Rico a driving hell?! Some locals disagree:

Jaime Gordon: Best place to learn how to drive. One may think it’s crazy, but compared to other countries it is not too bad. Check out how they drive in Middle Eastern countries or South American or Asian provinces. Now that’s some crazy driving.

Laura Santiago: Miami is much worse!

Thoughts on Puerto Rico driving? How is the driving in your country?

11 thoughts on “Puerto Rico driving: The locals’ perspective

  1. Funny, I’ve been driving in Puerto Rico for 56 years, drive aggressively and never had an accident. Are these people referring to the same island.

    • SO funny you mention that, because that’s what happens! Holes are the main cause of car damage. Ppl in the island spend more money on new tires than anything else 😛

  2. Last summer, I drove from San Juan to Ponce. It wasn’t so bad–the main highway was in good condition–and it was absolutely beautiful! Finding a gas station en route, however, was another story!

    • Well, that photo of the ill-parked Smart Car was taken in Juncos: En el medio del pueblo/plaza! 😛 Así que imagino es una buena mezcla/representación de manejar en cualquier parte de la isla 😉

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