Traffic is definitely up there for most-talked-about-topics here in Sao Paulo. Ways to avoid traffic, blitzs (police drinking stops), rodizios, bus lanes, accidents. when it rains how it gets 100 times worse...
When you are stuck in traffic sitting there patiently for it to clear.... the most irritating thing is when a car zooms by in the emergency lane and cuts in at the top as the traffic light goes green. Firstly, you're just pissed off that you hadn't plucked up the courage to do it, and secondly, you're really pissed off that the driver has the impunity to do it and nothing is going to happen to him/her. English people would never consider jumping the queue, it would be just considered rude. In the opening chapter of Watching the English the author has to have a drink to be able to jump a queue, which is a big no-no there!
There is generally seen to be a very poor standard of driving here, and coupled with the terrible standards of the road, I'm not surprised over 37,000 people died last year in car fatalities (1). People die every day, motoboys drive like demons down the marginal with not a care for ther life, people kill people and walk away just paying off the family. I actually don't even drive here yet because I'm scared sh*tless. It's on the wrong side of the road and I was never a very confident driver in the first place but I'm about to start lessons with a Brazilian instructor... wish me (and him) luck!
* Just got my Angloinfo newsletter today titled Accidents in Sao Paulo. I've copied the information below:
Dealing with Road Accidents
Do you know what to do if you’re involved in a road accident? Are you confident you know what to do if you witness a crash? AngloINFO has the information you need, so you can rest assured that you know how to handle accidents on the road, whether it’s a minor prang or something more serious.
Need to know
In the case of a serious road incident, the most important thing to do first is alert the emergency services. The Emergency Telephone Numbers Information Page has the numbers to call.
Whether you’re a driver or not, it’s important to be aware of the rules regarding what to do following a road accident as you might be involved as a passenger or witness. The Road Traffic Accidents in Brazil Information Page has important information regarding accident reports, the people and vehicles involved in a crash, as well as which authorities to alert afterwards. The page on Insuring a Car in Brazil has helpful information about insurance coverage and filing a claim. Make sure you understand the procedure so that you know what to do, should the need ever arise.
And finally, to fix dents, dings and bigger damage following an incident on the road, browse through the Car Service & Repairs category of The AngloFILE where you'll find listings for English-speaking professionals in your local area.