November 1, 2012
Time for us to say bad things about Korea! Oh, this is so worrisome. I know some netizen who has never seen the rest of our videos will stumble on this one only, and then think that we’re American pigs who hate Korea and should go back home if we hate it so much!!! (we get called American pigs a lot by angry Korean netizens, by the way…especially when we didn’t like some Korean traditional beverages). So, if you’re a Korean Netizen seeing us for the first time, let us say this:
Hello Korean Netizen! We do not hate Korea! We say lots of nice things about Korea and we like it here a lot! We just don’t like how you drive. That’s all! Please don’t be angry at us for thinking this, because we know you think this way too. Come on. Admit it. Loooveee youuu…
Ok, now that that’s off our chest, back to talking about driving in Korea. Now, we’ve talked a lot about it in the video, but I think this blog post might be best served with some diagrams of cool stuff we saw Korean drivers do. Check these out:
Figure 1: Bus driver wants to turn right, but the lane has other cars in it, so the bus drives around everyone by going to the left hand turn lane, then turning right, LIKE A BOSS! **Please note: I don’t think this is legal**
Figure 2: Car wants to turn right, but there’s a car in the way, so he honks at the car in front of him. The car in front of him kindly gets out of the way, by pulling out in front of everyone at the intersection. Sucks if you’re trying to cross the street.
I don’t think you need any drawings for the rest of these, you can just picture them in your head.
3: Car driver wants a coffee, really bad. Decides to park on either the sideway or hazard on the road in front of the coffee shop, because, well, HE REALLY WANTS A COFFEE. There are TONS of side streets to hazard in, but that would be too far away, so it blocks up the whole intersection because people turing right can’t get buy him. Also, we’ve seen people stop RIGHT after they turn right and just hazard to let someone out, or pick someone up, and the cars behind are just leaning on their horns. Really inconsiderate.
4: Cars are stopped at the red light, but there aren’t a lot of cars driving the other way, so why not creep forward a whole lot, until you’re sticking out right on the crosswalk. They’ll just keep on creepin’ till they finally say “screw it! I’m already half way there!” and they just run the red at a slow speed.
5: There’s a red light in front of the driver, but slowing down sucks, so forget slowing down. Just blow through the red. Really, I almost got smoked by a van like this before. Whizzed right in front of me, just a few feet away from destroying me. No honking, no slowing down, no apology. Just near death experience, I was really shaken up.
Sure, driving isn’t like this for EVERYONE. There are drivers who obey the law and don’t try to run you over. If you’re Korean and one of those drivers, then bless your soul! Otherwise, we’ve experienced so much bad driving that we’re really extra cautious every time we cross the streets in Korea now. Seriously, when people talk about safety in Korea, we’re not worried about crime, and we’re not in the least bit worried about North Korea. Our only fear: drivers trying to murder us.
We asked our Korean friends about what getting a driver’s license is like here, and they’re like, “you just fill out a paper test and then you get your license.” WAHHHAT?? !! THAT’S IT!!! I really REALLY hope this has changed over the past four years we’ve lived here, because that would seriously explain a lot about the driving. A car is a HUGE METAL WEAPON! You have to learn how to wield it! In Ontario (where we are from in Canada) you have to take first take Driver’s Education which doesn’t even involve a car, it’s just being lectured about driving. Then you have three levels (G1, G2, G) you have to go through just to get your final license, and all those require six months to one year of practice before you can even apply for the next level. AND you’re not allowed to drive without a real license holder (who had it for at least four years) in the car with you, AND you’re not allowed on the highways until you’re at the next level! Most people fail their very first driver’s test to get to the first level because there is so much pressure to do everything perfectly. They test your basic driving, parking uphill, downhill, and parallel parking, looking around and checking all your mirrors, how to drive on a one way street, and so on. Once you want to apply for your next level, you have another test where they see how you drive on the highway, can you merge, do you pick up enough speed, and so on. And if you want to drive a motorcycle or scooter, there are completely different licenses and tests you have to take, including a safety class on how to fall properly if you wipe out! I really think Korea needs to start applying more serious tests for their driving or start handing out really expensive tickets and dock points off someone’s license so that they can lose it and start taking running over pedestrians seriously. How about in your country? What is the driving like and do you feel safe as a pedestrian?