This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Monday, February 24, 2014

Accidents of Zambia

If a truck or car has a problem you just stop.
There is no thought of pulling off the road because usually there isn't a shoulder, just a ditch, or if it looks like a shoulder you could sink in the mud.  So everyone is trained to just stop and traffic will figure a way to get around you.

Even if there happens to be a new road with a shoulder, just stop.  Perhaps your buddies will warn you if another vehicle is bearing down on you.

You will notice that tires are put out to warn others that there is a hazard.
That car will be fixed right there.  It is a lot cleaner than the dirt lot.

When you take to the highways for an hour or more, you can count on seeing at least a couple of accidents.

Notice the triangles.  Each vehicle is required to carry them in case of a hazard.
It is more common to see tree limbs torn off and placed ahead and behind to warn oncoming vehicles.

Sometimes the loads shift if not secured properly.

Some loads are a little awkward for normal traffic.

The wrecking yards are the parking lots/spaces around any police station.  Once they are stripped then they are hauled off.  There always seems to be a fresh 10 or so cars around each neighborhood station.  This car below got T-boned at an intersection between the mission home and where we live.  This driver was in a hurry and pulled out in front of a truck.

Speeding is usually a big factor along with poor vehicle maintenance.  This truck was jack-knifed as we were leaving town.

After passing the turn off to Livingstone and before the Zimbabwe border there is a wonderland of wrecks.

There is a bit of a downgrade and plenty of turns.  It seemed every curve had a wreck in it.

Some places had evidence of wreck after wreck.

Where these trucks come to a stop there is usually another truck off-loading or perhaps scavenging the load and parts.

Here is a truck almost loaded from the wreck.

Below is a sample of what causes a lot of problems.  The road condition shown here is the same road the previous trucks were on.  I know it looks a lot worse but it actually keeps the traffic slower.  The pot holes are what the trucks and cars are trying to avoid at a high speed.  This is why vehicles are always aiming at you head-on, trying to avoid damage.  Some holes or drop-offs where a shoulder should be could be one or two feet deep.  Is it any wonder why a load would shift?

This truck is moving down the highway.  I knew my truck driving son would appreciate the tires' condition and lack of tires.  This is daylight.  At night the movement is scarier as they know it is dangerous and they think they can not be caught.  They are correct.  Driving at night on an open highway is insane.  We have come home from a long day having to drive the early hours of dark.
No street lights, weaving vehicles coming at you and pedestrians and bicycles along the edge.  Many vehicles have only one light and you don't know if it is the right or left one working.  There are very few motorcycles.

Of course one man's tragedy is another man's fortune.

Some trucks look like an accident but just keep running.

Don't worry we'll fix it right here.

Night driving without any outside lights or reference is tough on these lonely roads.

Once you drift off, you have multiplied your problems.

Sometimes you see trucks and wonder what the other vehicle looks like.

Here are a lot of branches to keep you from running into the stopped truck.

Zambians are very helpful.  If you blow a tire just wait a minute or two and you will have a crowd to help get you on your way.  A nice tip would be helpful but no anger if you don't have anything to spare.  These guys are helpful for another reason.  The pickup they were riding in the back of broke down.  They helped it get up this hill so they could all get back to their jail cells and a nice meal.

The big ditches are always a problem.

After it has been studied a while and a consensus taken the car will get out of the ditch without a tow truck.

I really have endless photos of wrecks.

This is a truck that hit another truck head-on at night, of course no survivors.
This past weekend the news had a bus/truck head-on that looked pretty much like this except the bus was burned and gutted.  It made the news because it killed instantly twelve people and twenty four went to the hospital.  Maybe the dead were the lucky ones?  It happened around two or three in the morning.  NEVER, NEVER get on the highways at night!