Driving in Panama
Driving here is crazy. You need to be able to look in all directions at the same time.
Learning to drive here is intimidating. I have not driven at all since moving. Expats moving here have adjusted how they drive to become more assertive and at the same time more aware of their surroundings when driving. Here you can never take your eyes off the road.
People here do not know how to merge first of all. They will stop in the merge lane until all the traffic is gone before going into a driving lane from a merge one. On the other hand if you are driving down a street and the cross street has a stop sign and you do not, don’t for a moment think that they will wait for you to go through the intersection before they proceed across or turn down the street you are on. They just go and force you to slam on your brakes and let them cross or cut in front of you in traffic.
If anyone sees a small space between you and the person driving in front of you, they will try to cut in. They will not wait until it is safe and there is no traffic. To a certain extent I understand this. In David, the traffic is horrendous. There are only about 6 main streets that all the cars seem to be on. These streets are always bumper to bumper with traffic.
If you are on any two lane road you can expect cars to pass you on curves, pass when there are oncoming vehicles. This is the reason I do not go out for dinner in Boquete. I do not want to be on any road in the dark if we can help it.
Panama drivers will also not necessarily stop for pedestrians to cross at crosswalks. This makes being a pedestrian just as unsafe as being a driver or passenger.
To get downtown we need to pass through the most bizarre intersection. Four streets come together. At anytime you will see traffic trying to either cross or go through this intersection. The only way to successfully manage it is to just go and believe me everyone “just goes.” It is a wonder how there are not constant pile ups at this location.
Anyway, this video is from the front door to Pricesmart which is on the Pan American highway on the way out of David. It is Panama’s Costco. I love it. It is a membership store, I believe costs $35 for a year. I shop alot there, for bulk items like paper towels, TP, cleaning products, booze. Oh, and yes the pool.