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Old 06-02-2015, 03:52 PM
1,858 posts, read 816,151 times
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Going on 2 months in SA now and while it is most likely too soon to write about final impressions (good or bad) something which I recognized fairly quick are the bad road conditions and IMHO the overall bad driving which is partly responsible for the at times bad traffic (within city-limits) .

The conditions of the roads are very bad IMO, with cracks and potholes in sizes and frequency I have hardly seen before in other places (especially in the "first world"). I also have never seen so many broken down vehicles just standing, sometimes even abandoned, on the side of the road on the highway. Then there is the litter, trash and debris on the sides of the highway.

As for the driving, I'm not sure it could just be culture, but to me the overall quality of driving here seems pretty bad, too.
People pass on the left AND right because there seems to be no clear structure on which lanes are for passing. Because of that it creates backed up traffic since people can drive how they feel like and slow down traffic by blocking lanes.
I'm used to highways where the left lane is for passing and the further right you go the slower you can go, also big delivery trucks usual are on the right lanes so that the middle and left lane won't be too congested and it allows for a smoother flow of traffic.
I also have already seen countless of instances where people signal (left or right) but won't follow through on switching the lane when they have/get the opportunity. Of course in other cases some people refuse to give opportunity especially for the people coming on to the highway. Which makes no sense and is most frustrating as that lane usually turns into an exit lane rather quickly....

Anyway just my impressions when it comes to the roads and overall driving in San Antonio.
I am comparing it to Europe.
I have driven in other parts of the US but never for a prolonged time which to form any kind of opinion on the matter.

Other than that my first impressions have been quite positive so far, especially the people..... outside of their vehicles anyway... ;-)

Last edited by MustermannBB; 06-02-2015 at 04:09 PM..
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:08 PM
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Unfortunately, dealing with bad drivers here is something that has to be accepted. And it will only get worse.

I wish we had highways like the Autobahn. And with drivers that know proper rules of the road--like most Autobahn drivers do.

I embrace all kinds of diversity, but I stop short of that with driving habits. Texan's used to be great with lane courtesy and decent driving, but the influx of out of state and Mexican drivers has ruined that reputation, in my opinion.
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Old 06-02-2015, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by heimerswt View Post
Texan's used to be great with lane courtesy and decent driving, but the influx of out of state and Mexican drivers has ruined that reputation, in my opinion.
Smart phones have ruined that more than anything else.
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Old 06-02-2015, 06:13 PM
Location: San Antonio/Houston
37,700 posts, read 55,375,930 times
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No compatible driving culture or skills. People almost brag about breaking the rules, and lawyers can get them out any misery. In Europe: better driving discipline – fewer crazy drivers!
It shouldn't ever be compared.
Local road conditions are mostly a result of our climate - rain or heat, AND the quality of material used.

HOWEVER: all this is NOT restricted to San Antonio (go on the road trip to Austin or Houston )

The quickly constructed roads of America - this is usually compacted dirt, in many spots not properly sealed. Corners are cut early on so it looks better on the budget. Local governments tend to award competitive contracts to the lowest bidder, often meaning they got the shoddiest materials and the sloppiest work.
Road-building is a kind of prediction game here, that tries to balance initial construction cost with continuing maintenance. Build a very thick road with a solid foundation - like what the Germans do, and the road wont need as much continuing maintenance. They simply spend more money of quality materials, and maintenance and repair work begins before damage is even visible.
Why America Has So Many Potholes - TIME

Again - this is not something that happens only here, in San Antonio.
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Old 06-02-2015, 09:08 PM
1,858 posts, read 816,151 times
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I do miss the Autobahn.

The point with the climate/temperature is well taken.
Something I failed to consider, by comparison roads in southern Europe indeed seem a bit worse than the ones in northern Europe.
However while climate most likely does have an considerable impact, I do think that the bigger reason reason is the mentioned poor build quality.

Regarding traffic in Houston or Austin, I did hear many of the horror stories. Is it really that bad and /or even worse than San Antonio??

Thanks for that link BTW.
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Old 06-02-2015, 10:38 PM
Location: San Antonio
425 posts, read 513,294 times
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As mentioned, a lot of the bad roads has to do with the climate. The highway system in San Antonio is one of the best in the state though. Austin has some of the worst traffic in the country and not a very good highway network. Houston has a very big infrastructure but still just so many people and cars/traffic.
San Antonio doesn't receive as much in transportation funding as other major cities in Texas do but they still do a pretty good job with what they get.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:06 PM
Location: Austin, TX
7,181 posts, read 16,238,505 times
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You can't observe much of the "driving etiquette" in Austin during rush hour, because it's mostly stopped or moving at 5mph. But when there isn't much traffic (rare), it runs the gamut of styles from big-city aggressive to rural laid-back.

In Houston, the traffic is bad just due to sheer volume and the spread of the city. But in my experience, the drivers themselves are pretty good. Probably from lots of experience with the typical driver spending so much time on the road! Like any big city, you aren't going to get much sympathy if you hesitate or drive like you don't know where you are going -- but overall people will usually let you in if you need to merge and usually pass on the left.

San Antonio does have a bit more of the driving culture of Mexico (or South America)... basically, traffic rules are only suggestions and anything goes. It is even worse in the RGV close to the border; less volume of traffic, but less adherence to any rules also.
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Old 06-02-2015, 11:57 PM
Location: Texas
261 posts, read 252,005 times
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Ha! San Antonio would be the better of the major cities. Trust me, you DO NOT want to drive in Houston, Austin, or Dallas.
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Old 06-03-2015, 12:36 AM
Location: San Antonio, TX
425 posts, read 358,972 times
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Agreed, SA not all that bad especially compared to Atlanta, GA or Houston/Dallas where speed and road rage rule.
Seattle is pretty good when it's moving and even friendly when crawling along, those drivers are mellow. But it rains there almost as much as SA in May.
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Old 06-03-2015, 05:28 AM
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I am less concerned about the deliberately bad drivers in SA than I am the condition of the roads. Many city streets resemble lunar landscapes. Roads in Crimea are in better shape right now. Given all the woes with existing infrastructure, it boggles the mind that the city somehow sees fit to attempt to annex more land, and more responsibility.
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