Monday, May 17, 2010

The hazards of driving in Bosnia

While I was driving back from Sanski Most (about 80kms or an hour and a half drive from Banja Luka) this weekend, I realised that I had never shared the joys of driving in Bosnia on my blog... I have got so used to it that I forget that it is a completely different experience than most other places in the world!

One of the reasons it came to mind is that it was pouring with rain and the ruts in the road (made by the cars and trucks driving in the same place all the time) filled with water and made for really fun driving! Try imagine driving along at speed and having only one side of the car go into a rut filled with water and slow just that side down... yip, fun times! And here is the Bosnian solution to rut filled roads:
It actually took me a long while to figure out what the heck this sign was for... but then I realised: They tell you there are ruts in the road for the next 6kms, or 14kms, or whatever... Great solution!

In Bosnia, you don't ever say how far a place is away from another in kilometres (or miles for that matter), it is always by the time taken to get from one place to the other. This is indicated by the fact that Zagreb is actually further away from Banja Luka than Sarajevo. But it takes 2 and a half hours to get to Zagreb (Zagreb is in Croatia and they have lovely highways!) and 4 hours to get to Sarajevo because of the Bosnian roads!

One of my favourite quotes ever: In the Bradt travel guide for Bosnia and Hercegovina, when talking about driving in Bosnia, Tim Clancy writes "Bosnians love to pass on solid white lines, it's a common practice, especially on curves - don't fret too much, they're good at it". I can certainly vouch for that.

Another fun thing is the road signs in the Republic of Srpska are sometimes only in Cyrillic so for those who can't read the script, it is a little hard finding your way:
Now, if you don't believe me about the hazards of driving here: I found this great video that someone posted on YouTube. You don't have to watch all of it, as it is quite long, but it gives you an idea...


Anonymous said...

Unfortunately, drivers don't respect traffic signs and don't have the culture of behavior in traffic. But the ugliest thing is that they do not respect pedestrians, cyclists and children in traffic.
But as you once said: you find something like that only in Bosnia!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm...that's not correct. Come to Bulgaria - same thing. I want to repair all the roads on the Balkan Peninsula and to make them safe and modern. I seriously advise you to visit Bulgaria someday! Many things will remind you of Bosnia. ;) Vasil, from Sofia, Bulgaria

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