martes, 30 de agosto de 2011

SAFETY TIPS WHILE DRIVING AND VACATIONING COSTA RICA



At Guanacaste Car Rental-Costa Rica, we are concerned about your road safety so we will make every effort to assist you in having a pleasant, safe driving and touring experience in Costa Rica. It is our priority to provide safe road worthy vehicles for your stay in Costa Rica. We ask all our clients to drive carefully on our roads which are very often narrow. The number of cars has increased on Costa Rica roads in the last few years and it is now more important than ever that all drivers abide by the rules of the road and take great care and precaution when driving.
As in any unfamiliar country it is important to follow common sense when driving and there are a few tips that can be easily followed to ensure a safe, enjoyable driving and touring experience while vacationing in Costa Rica.

    1)  If you rent a car, while at the lot, make sure you go over the car very carefully and make sure the attendant marks down every nick and scratch on his sheet. Failure to do this can result in huge adjustments to your bill when you return the rental.
2)  Avoid driving at night. You are not familiar with the roads and it is dark, impeding you seeing the road completely. There are many areas on the narrow roads that do not have guardrails. Since there is no public lighting along the roads, bikers may appear suddenly  right in front of you, and if case of a mechanical breakdown, getting help may be difficult
3)    Unless otherwise indicated, minimum speed on highways is 40 kilometers per hour (kph) and the maximum is 80 kph. The speed limit varies and is posted by the road. On highways and secondary roads the speed limit is 60 kph. , unless otherwise indicated. In urban areas, the speed limit is 40 kph, unless otherwise indicated.The speed limit around school zones and in front hospitals and clinics is 25 kph.
4)    Always carry a photocopy of your passport, showing your photograph and the date you entered the country and your current driver´s license from home. Leave your original passport in the safety deposit box at your hotel.
5)   Driving on beaches is strictly prohibited everywhere, except when there is no other path connecting two towns.
6)   You need patience because the potholes are big enough to swallow a truck so it takes longer to get anywhere. The roads are narrow and that’s one reason why everyone drives smaller vehicles. But there is simply no better way to enjoy seeing the Costa Rica´s countryside than to meander thought it at your own speed, stopping whenever something appeals to you.
7)   When in San Jose or in slow traffic, do not leave anything valuable on the seat next to you if the windows are open. A person can and will reach in and grab stuff. NEVER leave valuables in plain view in your car.
8)   Farm traffic is common and can slow things substantially, especially while driving across Guanacaste Cattle Country. If you live a fast paced life you might find it frustrating. But chill out! You are on holiday and when in the Northern Zone or Guanacaste Pacific Coast do as the Ticos (Costa Ricans) do! Avoid honking, do not get upset, wait patiently and wave politely at the herding cowboys when the road clears. This way you will make good friends quickly.
9)  Never leave anything valuable in your car, this might be an invitation to be broken into and may be responsible for the damage to the vehicle as well.
10)  Don’t count on signage to get you to your destination – signs are few and far between and sometimes are not that accurate. Do plan your route well ahead.
                                                               
11)  Pedestrians and animals use or cross the highways and roads everywhere; even where the speed limit is 80 kilometers/hour, pedestrians, bus riders, cyclists are to be found on the highways. The highways around San Jose and the Metropolitan Areas are notorious for people crossing the roads anywhere.
12)  If you get a ticket, do not pay it to the officer who has issued it, it may be interpreted as a bribe and you could be in more trouble than you thought.  Police officers are not supposed to take any money from you or retain any of your personal documents such as driver´s licenses or passports as a way to condition you to let you go. Tickets should be paid when the rental car is returned.
                                       
                                                  
13)  The mountain roads and highways provide very limited opportunity for passing and caution   should be used. Exercise caution in your own passing strategy and be constantly aware of local drivers, most of whom are averse to following slow-moving traffic. This applies to cars, trucks and busses. Defensive driving is a must.

      14 )    The law requires you to wear a seat belt

15)      Be especially careful of motorcycles. They obey NO rules and can come out of nowhere. They also can be the vehicles used when snatching stuff from you car  through an open window.
    16)  Fill up your tank before you leave on any destination as gas stations are not readily available everywhere
17)  When parking at businesses and restaurants lots, be aware of crowded parking lots where someone might back up on your bumper or scratch you car. Keep in mind that any damage to the vehicle, you would be held responsible for.
18)  Roads can drop off suddenly. Over the years and several layers of resurfacing, roads get narrower and ditches gets deeper.
19)  If you are in an accident, don’t move your vehicle; wait until the police arrive and the insurance inspector can visit the scene and record whatever it is they need to record. Traffic can be blocked up for hours and for miles around. Call Emergency 911.

  20)  If you rent a car, here is a common scam. Someone will punch a very small hole in your tire or loosen the valve stem. If you notice a flat tire, do not stop, drive soon to a well-lit area or to a near gas station; do not accept any help from strangers. In this case, any assistance means to separate you and whatever valuables they can find.
21)  Passing Slower Traffic is a national sport in Costa Rica. Many large trucks and busses, along with an assortment of ancient vehicles (usually pickup trucks) travel the highways at speeds well below the posted limit, especially in the mountains.
22)  Most roads in Costa Rica are single-lane one way, without shoulders and some are winding, have potholes of all sizes. Please drive defensively and always expect a cow, horse, oxcart, slow moving truck, a cyclist or a broken down vehicle around the bend.                                         


23)  Be aware of stopping buses in the middle of nowhere. The country is blessed with great bus service ……… some buses stopping anywhere someone flags them down (including highways). Others stop only at assigned stops. You never know which one you are following.
24)  When shopping to/from the airport or on the way to a destination with your luggage onboard, be sure  never leave you car unattended with your belongings and keep the car within your sight at close distance as possible or someone should stay with your vehicle all the time while shopping at nearby store.

Despite of all the above warnings and precautions you should be aware of and by exercising common sense, driving and touring in a car is the best way to see Costa Rica. Especially, if you are interested in nature and remote areas. If you go to the Pacific side of Costa Rica, you will find one of the nicest beach stretches in Costa Rica and the best way to get there is by car.

In all its perspective. With a little awareness and following the rules you are just fine to enjoy the local scenery, mountain landscape, people, food, lodge, forest, wildlife, just everything; and then above all, do not forget to do your own nature touring at your own speed and leisure. Relax and enjoy.



20 comentarios:

#20 is true. my cousin told me about her friend and her fiancee getting mugged in costa rica when their rented car's tire got flat. thank you for the information! this needs to be spread.. : http://maxliner-usa.com/

When will you be doing another article on this subject?

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