It was less than a year since the completion of my fictional novel based on the character of Kitty Clinch and her epiphany in Peru. Since my return to the Inca Warrior Land it appeared I had tripped over a heap of unimagined paragraphs and haphazardly landed my whole self into un-written chapters of a sequel.
I was rooted to the spot of Plaza De Armas as I stood looking at that wreckage of a car being hauled slowly towards the police station. On a glorious sunny day the bashed up article and the carnage it represented screamed at odds with this otherwise idyllic scene.
One dead, three injured. Did they not say their prayers? All I could think of was those unpaved cliff-edge roads that had shocked my wits only a few days before on my way to Santa Teresa’s cloud forest. I saw at least one driver say his prayers, that’s what they do to keep their mind in the positive. Crashed! Dead! And here I was still living.
I’d had an email this same morning from a dear pal who continually writes me from a faraway land updating me on news of Peru’s tragic road accidents. He doesn’t mention any of the road accidents in his own country or much about the fact that there had recently been an earth quake there. His fascination lay in the fact that, a year before, we had travelled some of those same roads together. We had seen the crosses adorned with rosary beads and trinkets commemorating lives lost at numerous posts along the Pan American Sur Highway. We noted the long distances between towns and cities mostly traveled by trucks and buses and the eagerness of some to over-take in the most heart-stopping situations with on-coming traffic or along bendy parts of lofty roads.
Perhaps driving styles are unique to different countries and their cultures. I couldn’t help but notice in Lima that the cars drove so closely together, leaving hardly any gaps between junctions and lanes, that I likened it to a style of salsa dancing for cars.
There and then I remembered, I hadn’t informed my friend that I had returned to Peru. It was time to break the news. He would fall off his chair as I kept him in the suspense of my whereabouts. I intended to have some fun with this. Poor man, indeed he nearly did fall off his chair and has since made me promise that the next time I go to Peru, we go together. Somehow though, we seem to be dependent on a number of lottery balls all rolling out in a convenient order. This hasn’t happened yet.
So dear reader, if you happen to be Richard Branson or an equally magnificent soul with a jet for two adventurers could you please make our dream come true and transport us to Machu Picchu, or to the little town of Ollantaytambo, where we can at least take the train.
Whilst writing this article I got curious about the road death statistics around the world. I gleaned information from websites listed below and created a table comparing road death statistics between Ireland and Peru. This is yours to interpret, how does your own country compare In this regard. Be safe on the roads and thank you for reading my story.
©Caroline Cunningham Author Of Wild Star Landing Blog
ROAD SAFETY STATISTICS IRELAND PERU
Population 2013 4.595 million 30.38 million
Registered Vehicles 2010 2.4 million 3.1 million
No. of Deaths per 100k inhabitants 3.5 (2012) 15.9 (2010)
No of people killed (road users) 162 (2012) 4622 (2010)
No of deaths per 100k vehicles 6.7 (2012) 146.5 (2010)