Road obstruction canary

There are many countries where the streets are full of car-destroying obstacles such as stray dogs, roads that end randomly, unsigned giant speed bumps (often built up by friendly locals hoping to sell you things as you slow down), or construction workers wandering in the road with no barriers.

In these countries you want a Road Obstruction Canary. Pick a local who is going in your direction at roughly the speed you want to go. Follow them at a safe distance of four car lengths or so. If they hit a speed bump you will see them fly into the air; apply the brakes smartly. If there is a stray dog in the road they can grapple with the moral decision about whether to hit it or drive into the trees instead.

But usually, none of these things will happen to them, because they are local and know the road conditions. On the other hand, if you tried driving without a Canary, all these things would happen to you, probably simultaneously.

Note: Road Obstruction Canaries are particularly useful when driving at night; they are also useful when the speed limits are ridiculously low and no one is obeying them (e.g., China) but you don’t know what speed you ought to go.

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When the driving environment is challenging, a road obstruction canary is your best friend: pick a local who’s going in your direction and follow them at a safe distance, watching closely to see if they flip over or catch fire. Photo by the author.