This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions and automotive advice are mine alone. #DIYOilChange #CollectiveBias
I’m sure you’re an excellent driver. Navigating the streets of your hometown is no big trial. There are signs and lanes that keep everyone in line, assuring that scant amounts of liberal creativity are used when navigating the highways and byways. When done correctly, it really is a safe and and moderate endeavor. Now take that same vehicle, and translate that experience to driving in Honduras. It’s nothing similar.
For it to be such a safe and enjoyable modern vacation paradise, the country of Honduras has some unique and particular road rules. Taken from a page out a Mad Max film, it’s an adventure molded in speed and steel that tests your skills on long, empty mountain roads. Now, you may be more comfortable taking a van or chicken bus to your destination. You meet nice people and you don’t have to know how to read a map. It hardly matters. There are very few helpful road signs anywhere in Central America. When it comes to the hassle that accompanies border crossings, sometimes sitting on a bus is the best way. Learn the rules about taking a car across a border. It’s not always a complete pleasure.
When it comes to covering ground with the windows down and the music loud, having your own vehicle can be super special. Compared to twenty years ago, the quality of the roads in Honduras, and the rest of Central America, have improved greatly. If you have the right kind of machismo and dumb luck, maybe you too, can hold your own on the empty back roads of Honduras.
Rules For Driving In Honduras
- Speed: In a crowded city or the long mountain roads, there is really no speed limit. There may occasionally be a sign suggesting a certain kilometer standard, but it is widely ignored. Unless you’re a descendant of Fireball Roberts, there’s no reason to try and keep up. When you see a deisil full of plantains in your rear view mirror, let him pass by easily. If you want to test yourself on the curvy mountain roads, see how long you can keep up. It won’t be long. These folks learn to drive when they are twelve. You are simply outmatched.
- Stopping: You do not. Not for anything. I made the mistake in Tegulciagalpia for stopping for a school bus that was loading passengers. Every car behind me for two miles almost ran up my tailpipe and everyone from Brownesville to Bocas Del Turos laid on their horn. For God’s sake, it was a school bus! Nope. Doesn’t matter. Don’t ever stop. You may think you need to stop and help the people in that burning house. It’s not burning. That’s the smoke from the cooking fire coming through the chimney. Keep moving bub.
- Critters: The stopping rule applies here as well. Even though you can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a pregnant dog, you have to find a way around them. The entire country is a virtual minefield of pics, cows, chickens, and burros. Usually a cow and a pregnant dog signify the entrance to a town or hamlet. For confirmation, look for a church and soccer field.
- Speed: Forget trying to keep up with these people. They don’t know what a speed limit is. Most vehicles are generally pushed to go as fast as they effectively can. Obviously, speed is decreased on inclines and increased on slopes, of which there are many. Most of the county resembles North Carolina pine forests with it’s rolling hills that climb into fertile mountainsides. The mountains grow and turn into jungle covered volcanoes as you head southwest toward Guatemala. On your way there, stop by Copan Ruinas as take a tour through the Mayans ruins at Copan.
- The Secret: Honduras has a secret to efficient driving patterns that many other countries share. Especially in the big cities of Central America like San Jose and Guatemala City, there is an unspoken set of rules that allow the traffic to proceed as efficiently as possible. Often there are no lines delineating lanes of traffic and if there are, they are largely ignored. It’s every man for himself. If you can make your car squeeze into a spot, you do it. The crystalline perfection of the system can be incorporated into your daily driving experience, beginning today. Do not let anyone in. It’s as simple as that. If someone is waiting, let them wait for an opening. They are already stopped, you are already moving. Don’t rock the system. In this country, we try and have a complete telepathic discussion about who is going and why. We use quick glances and flashing lights to indicate that we are letting someone in the line of traffic out of politeness? It’s bunk! It just confuses everyone. The cars behind you don’t know why they are stopping and the car you are letting in is creeping into the line of traffic with slow confusion. No one cares if you don’t let them in. They know they are supposed to be waiting.
In the same respect, if there is a spot in which they can slide quickly, they take it as if it belongs to them. It might force you to slow down just a bit to keep from rear ending them, but it’s much more efficient than both car stopping altogether. Remember this tip. Never stop for someone to pull in front of you. Keep up with the traffic and let them wait for their turn and find an acceptable place to merge. It keeps everything moving at it’s optimal speed. Drivers near 47th Street in Manhattan use a similar strategy but they are trite beginners compared to the pole sitters of Honduras. American drivers just make everything more difficult than it needs to be.
Naturally, the automobiles in Honduras take some wear and tear on potholed mountain roads and keeping them in shape is a necessity. It’s the same way in this country. If you wait to take care of your vehicle, it’s fsho going to leave you in a lurch. Changing your oil is the number one way to keep your car in working condition and you’re just the guy to do it. You mean you don’t usually change your oil? You hire some cracker to do it for $75 bucks or more? Not anymore. Male or female, everyone needs to know how to change their oil. It will cost much less than having it done at a shop and you’ll feel good about it.
Again, Nail Travels is here to help where it matters. Pennzoil Platinum full synthetic motor oil is a high-quality oil that has been specially designed to give your engine complete protection. You get cleaner pistons (and who doesn’t need that), better fuel economy (a great idea when you’re making the long haul from Puerto Cortez to Copan Ruinas), horsepower and wear protection (nice for when you’re behind a cattle truck going up a 35 degree grade). Don’t forget! Pennzoil Platinum Full Synthetic motor oil is also backed by a 10 year/300,000 mile Lubrication Limited Warranty. It really makes it a challenge to see how many miles of mountains you can drive in one day.
View this short video for a quick tutorial on a do it yourself oil change. Please use standard safety procedures when changing your oil. You should always refer to your own car’s manual first. Please make sure to purchase the recommended weight and grade your vehicle requires. Call your hazardous waster or solid waste management office for locations where you can take your old oil. No, not the backyard.
Where was it you were cast into the gauntlet? Where did you have to learn the rules of the road?
Be sure to visit the Pennzoil landing page for more information and learn some tips and tricks for changing your oil. Go ahead and like their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. What else do you have to do?
Much thanks to Pennzoil and Collective Bias for sponsoring this Nail Travels exclusive. Keep coming back for more tidbits of wisdom to help you get through your day without shearing off what’s left of your hair.
When were you first thrown into the gauntlet? Where did you learn the rules of the road?