Zika, dengue, diarrhea, dogbites, sunburn …. these are a few of my favourite things, as Julie Andrews sang in The Sound of Music.
But what do I really worry about with my travelers?
Accidents … mostly of the motor vehicle variety.
With the Olympics and Donald Trump so pervasive in the press, probably most of you don’t notice headlines like this (bus accident in Nepal) or this (bus accident in Peru). While the traffic in Toronto and wherever you live is horrendous, and accidents happen everywhere, they are much more common in lesser-developed countries.
Why? Lousy roads, overcrowded, poorly maintained cars and buses and drunk drivers just to name a few reasons. I was in Peru in 1973, and Nepal in 1999. I’d bet that not much has changed. If I were to return, I might think twice before getting on the same roads and buses …. getting old!
Here are some suggestions for minimizing your road risks, realizing that all may not be practical, available, affordable or exciting!
- stick to well-built vehicles with uncracked windshields, functioning rear-view mirrors and seatbelts
- wear your seatbelt
- avoid nighttime travel, especially in rural areas (I know it might save you money and a night’s lodging)
- sitting in the back of the bus might be safer than the front (in Ghana, I recall being honoured with the front seat by the driver.. The goat went in the back!
- if the weather looks really bad, stay put
- the more expensive bus is probably safer
- if you are the driver, don’t drink … or text … and drive
- consider using a local driver
- motorbikes are a lousy idea
- if you have small children, car seats are a good idea
There is more to your personal safety than your mode of transportation, but this is a start.