These two buses played chicken with each other. They both lost.

These two buses played chicken with each other. They both lost.

Steps On How To Survive A Bus Crash

Catching buses in third world countries can be daunting. In fact, catching any form of transport can be a scary notion. Road rules are barely followed or completely non-existent. The drivers are all in a race with each other. Keeping a safe distance between vehicles is a foreign concept.

Many people fear the worst when trying to get around from place to place. And with good reason. The crash rate is so high that the mere mention of the word “accident” doesn’t even raise an eyebrow. But never fear! We are here to tell you that it doesn’t have to mean doom and gloom! We will let you know the correct ways to make it through a worst-case scenario. Here is the NOMADasaurus guide on how to survive a head-on bus crash in Myanmar!

Step 1 – Freeze

Myanmar - Where Buses Collide! Bus Crash

Myanmar – Where Buses Collide!

You may or may not see it coming. I did. I was looking straight out the front windscreen. I saw the other bus drift onto our side of the road. I even thought to myself, “Hmm, that bus is going to get pretty close to us.” Then there was the horn. The sound of tyres screeching. Then the opposing bus trying to push it’s way to the inside of our bus. I froze. I didn’t even have time to tell Lesh to brace herself. In fact, I barely even braced myself! It happened so fast yet so slow, like the space-time continuum was in a state of confusion. Before I knew it we had come to a very abrupt halt and it was only through a stroke of luck that we didn’t knock our teeth out. So step one, freeze!

Step 2 – Panic…But Calmly

Once the two buses have become one, check that everyone around you is ok. That is common sense. Do a mental run through of your own body. Nothing hurting? No signs of bleeding? I didn’t lose all my teeth and now look like an inbred redneck from the Deep South? All good. Awesome. Now calmly panic. Get the hell out of the bus! I was about to kick our window out when at the last second I realised it could just slide open, so that’s what I did. I looked at Lesh, and trying to maintain a sense of tranquility, I said, “climb out of the fucking window!” She listened and clambered down the side of the bus onto the ground with me following, post-haste. No way were we going to be sitting on that bus like stunned mullets if it decided to spontaneously combust!

Step 3 – Grope People As You Try To Carry Them From The Wreckage

Man in underwear from the bus crash.

If you are really lucky, you may get to carry a guy wearing only his underwear from the bus!

Now that you have looked after number one (yourself) and number two (your girlfriend, but tell her that she’s number one), start helping others off the bus. Everyone will be starting to trip and fall out the windows. It’s a long way to fall to the ground, and chances are they will cause more injury to themselves tumbling from the wreckage than what they did during the bus crash. So reach up and lend a hand. Young, skinny, nimble humans will probably be ok to help themselves, so you’ll have to provide assistance to the overweight, uncoordinated people. As you try to take a good hold of the person, they will decide to simply flop into your arms. This will probably force you to just grab a hold of any body part that comes into contact with your hands. Usually genitals and breasts. Enjoy this opportunity to form a special bond with those you are assisting. But avoid eye contact. Eye contact makes the whole thing awkward.


Step 4 – Take Photos

At this point you have ideally come to the realisation that everyone is more or less all right and the buses aren’t going to explode. So take photos. Everyone else is, so why shouldn’t you? We live in a day and age where if something can’t be proven on YouTube or Facebook, it probably never occurred. Get proof that it happened, or your friends will never believe you.

Step 5 – Stock Up On Karma Points And Provide First Aid

Take a look around. You are the only foreigners within earshot. As you are such a tightass you paid for the cheapest tickets on the dodgiest mode of transport with the company that has the shadiest safety record. Because of this, you get to share this experience with only locals. They are probably blaming you. Maybe they are right. Was it your fault? Who knows? Maybe you’ve done some bad shit in the past and now Mama Karma is coming back to bite you on the ass. But to dispel any ill feelings, grab your backpack, fetch your paramedic-worthy first aid kit and start impressing everyone with your basic first aid skills! Find the guy who is bleeding the most, point at the green cross on your bulging kit, and mime bandaging him up. He’s perplexed. So perplexed from your ludicrous hand signals, that he just submits and lets you do whatever you want. Put your gloves on, because that makes you look professional. Now start bandaging. Take a moment to look around and absorb the hundreds of eyes focused on you. Talk about pressure! You better not fuck this up, or you will be lynched! You don’t speak the native tongue, and no one there speaks yours, so you have to rely on smiling, nodding in assurance and using your improvised skills to get yourself through this. Soon enough, you have patched him up to a standard that your ’emergency first responder’ course instructor would deem satisfactory, and you have stocked up on some bonus positive karma points. Hoorah!

This man thinks the bus crash was your fault.

The look of disdain from the man in red says it all. This is your fault.

Step 6 – Hitchhike Your Ass Out Of There…On Another Bus!

Well it’s pretty obvious by now that your original mode of transport is going to be sitting there on the road for quite a while. It’s getting late, and you don’t really want to spend the night on the side of the road in an isolated Burmese village with no power (which means no cold beer). Because you are lazy and never bothered to learn the language of this country before you arrived, you don’t know how to ask for a ride. But lucky for you, the universal sign for “I’m broke, give me a ride!” is still recognised in this part of the world. So stick that thumb out! And even though you do a pretty decent job of butchering the name of the city you want to go to, people generally understand your poor pronunciation of “Yangon” and can nod if they are heading that far. Of course they’re not, and the only vehicle that is going as far as your final destination is, you guessed it, ANOTHER BUS! So after all you have experienced up until this point, do you take the chance and jump on the death vessel? You bet your ass you do! I mean, what are the odds that you will be involved in two head-on collisions between two buses in one day. Zero!

Bus Crash Man

Alesha and Jarryd

Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award winning writers and photographers behind this blog, and we have been travelling the world together since 2008. Adventure travel is our passion, and through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

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