SO WHY, after writing here about visitors detained after traffic accidents, and being fully aware of our own government's advisory against driving in Cuba, would we rent a Kia Picanto from Cubacar?
Well, we wanted to get somewhere. Couple of places, in fact. But we weren't quite sure where we were going or how long we wanted to stay. So hiring a car and driver, our habit in the last few trips, wasn't as practical this time.
It went fine. Our travels took us to the Varadero resort strip, home of some of the calmest roads in Cuba, and then on to Cárdenas, a city where the biggest obstacle is the horse-drawn carriages rolling along the straight streets.
We didn't speed (good thing, considering all the radar traps we saw) and we tried to take special care at intersections.
One thing I had forgotten. While much of the world uses red octagon stop signs, Cuba employs the red, downward-facing triangle (with PARE, or stop, in not-so-large letters) that is the second format permitted by the multilateral Vienna Convention on Road Signs and Signals.
Why? Probably, as with its new licence plates, just to prove it's a whole lot different than the United States.
For drivers who associate a triangular shape with yield signs, however, Cuba's stop signs can be difficult to pick out. Of course, what you might take as a yield sign should still slow you down enough to notice it's actually a stop sign.
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