Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red light, green light

Ah, the Kinshasa traffic system... It works about as well as you might imagine. Most of the time you are on your own and you do your best to avoid high speed crashes by inching out slowly, looking both ways a couple dozen times, checking for major potholes, and then darting across with a prayer. On the main boulevard, during the day, some of the busiest intersections do have generally accepted traffic directives. Sort of. Please see the accompanying photographs for examples of this high tech method. The guy on the concrete thing is a human traffic light. When he turns to face you or if his back is towards you, that means to stop. When his body is perpendicular to you, that means go. If he is tired that day and droops on sort of a diagonal, who knows. Also, as with most regulations here, it is really 50/50 if your fellow drivers feel like adhering to the body language rules. Of course, if you have someone accosting your car, banging on your windows, or trying to get into your backseat, it is sometimes best to press on without waiting for your turn.

Staying on the correct side of the road is also optional...

1 comment:

  1. Hmm... I wonder what the pay is for that human traffic light? Also, how many human traffic lights become casualties of traffic accidents?

    It's quite fascinating to see the ginormous cars/trucks/suvs when there is so much need, so much hunger and poverty... and zero traffic lights...

    i continue to live vicariously through your congolese adventure