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Lessons in Extreme Driving

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Contributor:
Dallas Boyd
Dallas Boyd

Because what’s more fun than a death wish? Nothing. 
 
My friend has a surfboard that’s like a zillion years old. It weighs enough to tire me out just carrying it down to the beach and back. It’s like someone just cut down a tree and said “that’ll do.” Needless to say, every time I see it, I have to get on it. I figure that if I can master this beast, I can ride anything. (Provided I don’t crack my skull open in the process). 
 
I think similar thinking occurs behind the wheel of a car. To prove my extreme driving skills I started driving around the dusty and potholed roads of Central America. (It was a toss up between that or drink driving in NZ, getting myself killed and having my grieving mates lovingly place cans of Tui on my grave). 
 
In this part of the world there are two types of drivers: Those who drive like they’ve got a dead body in the boot and those who drive like they’re stoned. Maybe that's an unfair generalization, but it's just that bad.
 
So. The lessons.
 
1. ) Setting the Mood
All Boy Racers know that a car isn’t just “a car.” It has to be pimped out. In Central America this usually consists of hanging some rosary beads around the rear vision mirror and sticking a picture of Jesus on the back window. Not only does this enhance your street credibility, but these magical Catholic amulets will protect you from accidents and misfortune, freeing you to drive however you like. Plus, this outward display of Christianity shows you are of good character, with no need for car insurance. You may want to also consider installing a novelty horn, preferably one that wolf whistles to impress the ladies! 
 
2. ) Mastering the Basics 
For me, driving an American car, on American roads, means that every day is opposite day. If you feel like at any second you could have a head on crash and die, this is a good thing. It means you’re (literally) driving on the right side of the road. Even trickier is learning how to stop indicating with your windscreen wipers and keeping tropical downpours at bay with the blinkers. This is known as “Brain Gym.”  
 
3. ) The Rules
Ever played a game of Super Mario? O.k. sweet, you’re good to go, the road rules are pretty much the same here. Hit another car? 10 points. Run someone off the road? Hilarious. 
Pedestrians will do as they please, which includes standing or walking slowly in the middle of the road. They will not move - you must drive around them. Females will assume they have the right of way. Always.  
It is acceptable to stop your car suddenly in the middle of the main road for no apparent reason.
While walking or bike riding at night, you are required to wear the standard uniform of black on black.
Many a fragile yet persevering man will huff and puff his way into town in the scorching midday sun, while his fat girlfriend perches on the handlebars of the bike (probably complaining about the heat). If you see these long-suffering men on the road, for the love of God be nice to them! 
Motorbikes are designed to see how many people and small children you can fit onto them at once. 
Helmets are for losers. 
Passing on blind corners is a display of how skillful you are, passing into oncoming traffic is a display of how fast your car is. 
The centre line is just a guide. 
You may drive on the wrong side of the road if it's smoother.
You must honk your horn loudly, as often as possible, for no particular reason at all. 
 
4. ) Accidents 
Accidents are an occasion for excitement and publicity. The size of the frothing crowd is dependant upon how much blood is spilled on the road. Mangled corpses will be displayed on the front page of the morning paper so that the grieving family can stare at their dying/dead relative plastered all over newsstands. This is a good incentive not to crash. 
 
5. ) Pirates and Police. 
If you are ever pulled over by the police, it could be for a number of reasons. Recently I was pulled over and asked to come to the station on Friday nights to teach English to the police. It's often preferable to avoid the police. Luckily you can call the headquarters of the Pirate Taxi Service (yes, the pirates have a headquarters - on land no less) to find out whether the Highway Patrol is out. However you probably want to avoid the pirate taxis too...

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