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  • Writer's pictureJason Weening


HEY DADS! Have you spent any time driving around in a foreign country?

The rules aren’t the same, are they?

Have you driven on the wrong, ahem, other side of the road in England?

Have you driven through the dusty trails on an African safari?

I’ve never done it but I’ve heard rumors that you can just fly down the Autobahn in Germany and there’s not actually a speed limit! Can anyone verify that one?

I don’t think I’ve ever actually driven in other countries besides the United States. I’ve visited a few far-off places but I’m not usually the one responsible for avoiding potholes and ostriches and motorcycle (moto) drivers and cube vans and bicycles and Volkswagen Beetles and dump trucks. My kids were pretty interested in watching the roads when we arrived in the Dominican Republic last week and picked up our rental van. 

So far the most people we’ve seen on a moto is five. Friends have suggested that six or seven may be the record but we haven’t seen that yet. We have seen guys on those bikes carrying their helmets (that’s right. Carrying them in their hands), 16-foot long bundles of PVC pipe, 2X6 boards, lots of propane tanks, 50-gallon drums and at least one fridge. I’m trying to figure out the licensing system…if there is one. Most have license plates. Some don’t. Most cars have bumpers. Some don’t. Most trucks have hoods. Some don’t. The hundreds of ATVs on the road are usually in great shape.

Honestly though, I love driving here. Not sure what the speed limits are. Not sure what the rules of the road are. Not sure there are many of those. Tons of fun on the roads winding down the mountains. A van full of luggage, six months of homeschooling books and 11 people wasn’t as fun (or fast) getting up those same mountain roads. For the first time in my life I had to drop a van into low gear and smash that pedal to the floor. It felt manly. 

It seems the main rule of the road is that if there’s enough room to squeeze past, through or around the guy in front of you then go for it. If there’s not enough room …then go for it. As long as you tap a friendly Road Runner-esque “beep-beep” on the horn when you sail by. If it works. 

Yes. Lots more horns around here. At first, I thought everyone was angry at me. In the Greater Barrie Area I only ever hear horns while simultaneously seeing red faces and angry one-fingered gestures waving out windows. You can ask my patient wife to confirm that this rarely happens. Right. But in the DR most moto drivers just give a friendly “beep-beep” as they max out the throttle and fly past your side view mirror with millimeters to spare. I guess a beep is better than a bang. Especially if you’re the guy on the moto. So now I’m used to the honking and have even done it myself a time or two when I’m hammering the ‘ol rental van past a dump truck full of bricks or mattresses or people.

So dad wherever you’re driving today be sure to obey whatever rules are locally mostly followed. You don’t want your kids to have to bail you out of jail. That’s no fun at all. Time flies! Make every moment count!

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