Lessons Learned While Driving in Venezuela

Ojeda Car

First time driving a car in Venezuela (way back in 2012)

  1. Get really bright headlights installed (you might need to bring them from home if you want them, though) because street lights frequently don’t work and everyone has very tinted windows so it can be harder to see at night.
  2. Watch out for puddles because it might disguise a huge hole that will swallow your tire and not want to give it back (I have at least one friend who ruined his tire this way).
  3. Be careful of manholes in the streets because they are often missing covers. I keep saying that I need to create an album of the most creative ways that people mark the manholes without covers. Usually, they have a tree branch or tire sticking out of the hole.
  4. Try to not let your gas tank get below half a tank because there is a chance that you might not be able to find gasoline for a few days. I just wrote the other day about the gas shortage here in Venezuela.
  5. Always keep your windows rolled up (hope you have good AC too because it is usually hot) because armed robberies are known to happen and with your window down you will really be an easy target.
  6. Be very careful at red lights– especially at night. Many people take red lights as suggestions and might run it completely or only pause for a second. This is especially true at night when almost nobody stops because the threat of robbery is much higher.
  7. Turn signals are wishful thinking so watch out! People change lanes here all the time without signaling so you should be super vigilant about watching the cars around you.
  8. Be careful with U-turns, they are illegal even if they aren’t marked… even if you see five other people do a U-turn right in front of you. If the police see, then, of course, the foreigner gets all the attention.
  9. Be ready to be asked to “gift” money to a variety of people including nuns, police, guards, children, etc. on the side of the roads.
  10. Speed limits are just suggestions. I see 80KPM signs all over but people almost never follow it. You will have cars flashing their lights at you and tailgating non-stop if you don’t go with the flow of traffic.

To sum it all up: be very careful when you get behind the wheel of a car or even if you are riding in the car in Venezuela because it is definitely nothing like driving in the US!

Do you have fun tips to share about driving in Venezuela (or other places far from home)? Share them below! 


11 responses to “Lessons Learned While Driving in Venezuela

  1. At least you get to drive on the right side of the road! Another thought and I’m guessing you Already came up with this but keep your doors locked. People actually have been known to jerk open the door and grab whatever Is on the seat , even if your car is moving. ( true story)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Adventures in Driving | newtreemom·

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