Cross-Cultural Driving

Some driving habits around the world may surprise you. Many Bible translators and others can recount amazing stories about travel in foreign lands. But next time you hear such stories, think about their very real safety implications. The World Health Organization reports that “of all the systems that people have to deal with on a daily basis, road transport is the most complex and the most dangerous.”

Here are just a few examples of driving practices around the world:

  • In Ethiopia, a left-turn signal indicates that someone is turning left. But it can also signal that it is safe to pass. The driver following must decide which signal is intended. Wrong guesses lead to many accidents.
  • In Australia, kangaroos and wallabies are among the primary causes of accidents on rural roads. The country has an estimated 200,000 kangaroo-related accidents a year—a figure which some dispute as significantly low.
  • In some countries, if a vehicle breaks down, the driver stops in the traffic lane and places a large object, such as a rock or log, several hundred meters behind so that he can “safely” make repairs. Often, once the repairs are completed, the rock or log is left in the roadway.
  • In one African country, flashing headlights at an intersection means the driver is going to yield to oncoming traffic. In another African country, this same signal means the driver is going to proceed regardless of oncoming traffic.
  • In the mountains of Peru, roads can be covered quickly by landslides. In other cases, the slide moves slowly, and drivers must judge whether they can drive to the other side of the slide before it carries them sideways off the edge of the mountain.
  • In many remote areas, taxis are small cars that normally seat five adults. They often carry eight or more people in the interior, plus more on the roof. If the vehicle gets stuck, all the passengers will serve as a “pit crew” and hop out to push.

These are some of the challenges faced by our missionaries. We are constantly researching and assisting them in the numerous problems they face everyday. Our goal is to keep them driving safe, reliable vehicles. We thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support to make it possible.

Mike and Kathy

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