I’m guessing it’s pretty safe to say no one yells “Shotgun!” when Andrew Younghusband is behind the wheel of an automobile. At least anyone who has watched him on Don’t Drive Here.
The lanky Newfoundlander stars–and writes and produces–the Discovery series, navigating the roads of the world’s most dangerous driving towns in the world. Younghusband could be pulling a cart of vegetables along a muddy thoroughfare, biking exhaust-choked roundabouts or guiding a city bus alongside a busy market. Season 2 finds the Canada’s Worst Driver host (he tells us Season 10 has been shot) visiting six more cities: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Port-au-Prince, Haiti; La Paz, Bolivia; Rome, Italy; Sao Paolo, Bazil; and Monday’s first stop, Nairobi, Kenya.
Younghusband once again literally puts his life on the line all in the name of entertainment, and has had some very close calls along the way.
“I love it,” he exclaims. “There is a lot at stake, but at the same time the show was created around it because I like this kind of foolishness. So getting to go to these exotic places and living the way locals live and meeting all these people that do these jobs I find endlessly fascinating and I’m thrilled to be back making the show. But it’s incredibly stressful for my mother.”
Nairobi was a huge challenge for Younghusband; the sheer number of people who walk where they need to go means other modes of transportation are battling pedestrians for space on the roadways. That leads, viewers learn, to countless injuries, maimings and an average of five deaths every day. Though surprising, Younghusband says those statistics were’t the most shocking part of the African city.
“The most shocking thing is that a guy who pulls a handcart 20 kilometres a day for less than 10 bucks is happier than I probably am,” he admits. “That guy [in the episode] Harrison is loving life and that to me, in my Western ways, was the most shocking to me.”
Those glimpses of humanity are something Younghusband strives to include in each episode , spotlighting the people who do these dangerous jobs as well as the gigs themselves. Younghusband says he has a skeleton crew of five with him on production, a few handlers on the ground in each city. Each seven-day shoot is a guerrilla-style affair of research, interviews and recording done at a brisk clip to keep costs down.
Have the skills Younghusband acquired for survival on the planet’s most dangerous roads primed him for driving in Toronto? Absolutely.
“I drive a bicycle in Toronto and I’m constantly weaving in and out of traffic going , ‘This would be a great shot!'” he says with a laugh. “I do bring a lot of these skills from this and Worst Driver. What I do bring home from Don’t Drive Here is how easy we have it here. When people are upset I kind of roll my eyes at them.
“And when a cab driver from India honks his horn, I realize that it’s culturally appropriate for them to do that.”
Don’t Drive Here airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Discovery.