Several years ago, I saw a scene where a car had left the Ruta Interbalnearia eastbound at high speed.
I was cruising the frontage road looking for a mechanic’s shop. Rather sobering, considering how many people I passed on foot or riding bicycles, not to mention the thought of a car flying off the highway into your vehicle.
What’s also interesting is how close this is to the crash in 2012.
And the speed limit? Close as I can tell, 60 km/hr (36 mph). Maybe 90 (54). Either is clearly considerably less than this car was traveling.
With no call to action, this sign had me a little puzzled. The nearby parking attendant explained that it’s to remind people that there’s a school nearby, with children learning the classic Uruguayan practice they will carry into adulthood, namely wandering around in traffic, oblivious to it. Well, OK, he didn’t say exactly that.
Regardless, assuming that an Uruguayan driver will make the connection between the word niños and the thought that perhaps he should slow down strikes me as an entirely unreasonable proposition.
Summer traffic — and we’re now in peak summer season — tends to be horrific.
We live at the convergence of Punta-bound traffic from all points west. Punta del Este is the glitz capital of the southern hemisphere in January. We avoid it like the plague, but people who want to be there don’t want to be anywhere else. Especially slowed by congestion in Atlántida.
As I pointed out almost four years ago, the new overpass in La Floresta means pretty much open road after Parque del Plata traffic lights at the river. However, everything between Ruta 11 and there is pretty much one huge clusterfuck: a densely-populated area with numerous intersections. It very much merits caution. But don’t tell that to people racing in from sparsely-populated rural Ruta 11, or the Ruta Interbalnearia from Montevideo, who have just passed through several sparsely inhabited kilometers. Don’t tell that to the Porteños (Buenos Aires) or the BS drivers (see previous link) or testosterone-stoked motorcyclists, all of whom consider it their god-given prerogative to drive as fast as possible, regardless.
Because of the distance between traffic lights, in Atlántida the stream of traffic has often merged into a continuous flow, and trying to cross here can be an exercise in patience with small margins of safety. But crossing options exist: the Ruta 11 bridge is only 800 meters away.
One person tweeted that a motorcycle was run over:
No, sorry. Someone going way the hell too fast on a motorcycle slammed into something considerably larger, and possibly became an organ donor in the process.
It’s been over 30 years since one similar slammed into my BMW in a construction zone in Germany. Hast Du mich nicht gesehen?* he asked, lying on the ground a dozen meters from the point of impact. As if I, driving especially cautiously because my parents were in the car, should be responsible for his (typically reckless, according to neighbors) behavior. No sympathy. Even later, hosing off from the crumpled fender a tiny piece of flesh.
* Didn’t you see me?
UPDATE: same time, 24 hours later, a few hundred meters up Ruta 11, another fast bike — bright green — splintered into pieces on the road. Had to keep moving, did not see other vehicle/s involved. Two ambulances on scene, another coming quickly with siren as I drove on.
For anyone who has dealt with driving in Uruguay, there is nothing here particularly unusual: a pedestrian wandering into a highway, curious interpretations of the meanings of those lines in the road, red lights that don’t apply to city buses.