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Why We Hate the Driving in Korea

November 1, 2012

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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…Border

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**

Bus turns right

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.

Honking

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?

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Why We Hate the Driving in Korea

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  1. I lived in China for a year and yes, the driving there is monumentally terrifying. I found a link that pretty much sums it up. This is how to turn left on an intersection in Beijing.

    http://soimgoingtochina.blogspot.co.uk/2007/06/beijing-traffic-lesson-left-turn.html

    4 years ago
  2. Here in Italy there are at least 2 tests for getting a driving license (theory and practice)…anyway the driving style differs a lot from place to place…for example, cities are generally a lot more dangerous than suburbs and little towns…but the price to pay if you make a mistake is high, so it’s your interest to drive in a good way…it’s just that unpolite people and dorks are everywhere and for this kind of problem there isn’t a real solution…if you won’t to consider extermination, of course….

    4 years ago
  3. I honestly think that there may be worse places than Korea. For example, when I was on a trip to Cairo, Egypt, I was not able to spot a single car without a large dent or one that looked relatively new and well taken care of. The roads basically have no lanes so every car is making its ‘own’ lane and they drive so close to each other that they are always only centimetres away from each other. Although many cars may have missing side mirrors, non-functioning signal/brake lights— the car horn is the one item that will always be in working condition in their car because even at 5am in the morning when the roads are pretty empty, the drivers have their hand perpetually glued to the horn, honking at everything and anything. You can only imagine what it’s like during peak rush hours like 5-6pm. I am quite bewildered how all these cars are able to co-exist with donkey/horse-pulled carts on these roads with little to no adherence to road rules.

    In Malaysia, it isn’t as bad but there are lots of ‘types’ of drivers that you have to look out for which can be summed up here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cblqyj6Z_ls
    Usually it’ll be luxury car drivers and illegally modified cars that weave in and out between traffic and tailgate. Taxi drivers and truck drivers are somewhat road bullies and are not very sorry if they happen to run into you. Ladies in general drive quite poorly and erratically. ‘P drivers’ or rather ‘probational drivers’ are newbie drivers who have recently passed their driving test and are on probation period for two years. They either drive really slowly on the ‘faster’ lanes or are straddling in between lanes because they can’t control their cars well. Malaysians have a bad habit of slowing down whenever they spot an accident on the road whether the cars involved in the accident are completely pulled to the side into the emergency lanes of the highway (not disrupting traffic in any way) or the completely opposite side of the road. They always wanna ‘see’ and ‘know’ what’s going on and some even take down the car’s (which is involved in the accident) registration number to purchase lottery. As a pedestrian, it’s best that you still look out for cars when crossing roads because not all of them stop for the traffic lights. However, from a viewpoint of a driver, there are also a lot of pedestrians that jay-walk. So it’s a two way thing.

    4 years ago
  4. two weeks ago, when I was in St. Petersburg, I almost got hit by a speeding car who “didn’t saw” me. A classmate pulled me out of the way. ANd how fast thy drive there, zigzagging they’re way through. It was like being in a racecar. We saw a car accident every night, sometimes two.

    4 years ago
    • Russians are crazy drivers too.I would say there isn’t a big difference between korean and russian drivers.In Moscow it’s even more dangerous.And I think there were more car accident than the ones you saw

      4 years ago
  5. UH, HELLO, I don’t know who you asked about driver’s license, but YOU DO NOT ONLY FILL A PAPER TEST. That’s crazy! D: OF COURSE you have a driving test as well! My parents are Korean and got their licenses with both a paper and driving test, AND they had to take an education course before the test. My mom had to take it twice before making it, and that was way back in 2002.

    I swear I’m not angry, I just wanted to set information right. I don’t want you to be attacked by random angry netizens either, so you shouldn’t make their job any easier with misinformation. That being said, I sometimes found that your Korean friends were not the most reliable source regarding stuff about Korea. Have you thought about hiring a Korean cultural context person among your staff for TL;DR or other things?

    (Also, my brother has called me ‘octopus legs’ for my inability to keep balance on the bus. I’m Korean-Korean. Yeah.)

    4 years ago
    • Thanks for the input! We always make a point of asking people (such as you) to leave us comments in our blog because we know we don’t have full information. So don’t worry, I think most people know that we aren’t a reliable source, like a government website or something. We’re just opinion based and experienced based from our own perspective, and we love the comment section because after everyone post people always leave their honest opinions. So honestly, thanks for taking the time to leave your comment, it can help fill out our experiences and we’ll be using your comment in future conversations! ^^

      4 years ago
    • Don’t hire a cultutal context person.. it will take the fun out of it.. i love hearing the foreigner’s perspective… also its good to hear things from real people

      4 years ago
      • I only mentioned cultural context person because their FACT – that you *only* have a paper test for driving – is incorrect. That’s NOT an opinion difference. I like hearing from their perspectives too. But they should still form opinions based on correct FACTS. That’s why I talked about a cultural context person, so at least they can get correct FACTS on things about Korea, it wouldn’t affect their opinions one bit.

        …I know I’m sounding aggressive >_< I just really dislike seeing incorrect information, even if it's from two awesome people whose videos I really enjoy.

        4 years ago
      • nah

        i agree, because more then likely the experience of any other foreigners is going to be similar, we know how we see Korea and how native Koreans see Korea is way different, so its nice to see the things we might see as strange.

        4 years ago
    • nah

      really, in curious cause, when i get to Korea i want to be able to drive, i know in canada we had to have at the lest 5 hours of practice scheduled and completed with the driver instructor, then write a paper test, if we passed that we got to take the physical test with a instructor, if we got more then 5 points off of that test we failed and had to start over.

      4 years ago
      • It sounds super easy in Canada. In the US, each state is different, but I got my license in Minnesota, and I had to take a semester course in High School and a written test for my permit, then have 20 hrs of practice with an instructor, as well as signed off practice with an adult driver over 21, then the driving test at a closed course for my actual license.

        4 years ago
        • That’s interesting. I’m from Colorado, and here you either complete driver’s ed when you’re 15 or skip it and get your permit at 16. Permit is just a written test, and you can only miss 3 questions to pass.

          Then you need to have an adult sign off your driving time log (50 hours for day and 10 night hours). Anyways, You can’t drive without an adult while you hold a permit. The rules are pretty strict

          Once that’s done (after a year), then you can take the driver’s license
          test, where you drive on the main roads (wherever the grader tells you) and do what the driver tells you to do. I think you can only miss 2 or 3 things before the grader fails you. There’s 2 different licenses: one for under 21 and one for over 21.

          4 years ago
        • Yup, we have the same thing, but that’s to just get your FIRST level temporary permit license, but not your full license. Two – three more tests to go before you get that.

          4 years ago
      • i found this on the net.. and as we all know, it might or might not be full of facts lol but at least it gives a good idea of what you would go through to be able to drive in Korea (if your not native born)

        http://www.korea4expats.com/article-driving-licences-korea.html

        4 years ago
      • The only account I can provide is how my mom got her license – she attended a certain required amount of practice with an instructor, did a paper test and a driving test. If you don’t have passing scores for just one of them you have to try again. I don’t know how easy or difficult they are, but the test procedures, at least, don’t seem all that different from other countries.

        Yes, people would write different things about a cat because people are different – but everyone would agree cats have four legs, because that’s fact, not opinion. When S&M’s Korean friends said you “only” have to complete a paper test, they got a FACT wrong, it wasn’t an opinion, which was what I wanted to point out.

        4 years ago
  6. We Got Married with Seohyun and Yonghwa might not have been the greatest show ever, but it did teach me about how driving test are in Korea… That was kinda hilarious honestly, in a slightly disconcerting way though… Like, as far as I can tell they never actually have a road test, just a highly automatized test in an enclosed area. It honestly seems like you can get a license without ever having to learn how to deal with actual traffic…

    4 years ago
  7. Asian drivers are maniacs,but i don’t think the reason is that they are shitty drivers because of the lack of the abilities.They just have a different style of driving (I’m serious by saying that by the way) Since the traffic jam is such a big problem in Seoul and Tokyo because of the larger number of cars than roads the most important thing is to reach your destination so they build up a set of stylish driving skills called “I go wherever the fuck I want,bitch”.Thats really causing some problems when asians emigrate to countries with traffic safety regulations”Lanes? what the hell ?” The worst part is that they are totally immune to western gestures that are supposed to take some attention and have a influence on driving skills,but nope since an asian person has a hard time trying to handle the traffic and getting his way to a freeway he probably is too concentrated on the road to notice you- a simple pedestrian.So i guess next time someone encounters an asian driver who changes his lanes like a motherfucker I don’t think it will be efficient to show the finger or shouting whaterver.Don’t bother too much because he won’t notice it or he’ll ignore it

    4 years ago
  8. Driving Level: Asian

    4 years ago
  9. I wonder, is the driving in Seoul worse than in Bucheon? Or is just equally horrible driving all over Korea?

    4 years ago
  10. Just a quick nit-pick here — I’m in Ontario, and I have to correct you guise. Sorry!

    The Driver’s Education is not required, it’s just highly encouraged. You don’t HAVE to take any of those in-class (or in-car) lessons. You do your written test for the G1 to demonstrate that you have some understanding of the basic rules of the road. This allows you to get behind the wheel with the proviso that you have an experienced driver with you. Then the driving tests as mentioned above to graduate to G2 and G. Its’s an 8 month wait between levels IF YOU TAKE THE TRAINING. Otherwise, it’s 12 months, no less. Everything else you said is spot-on. ^_^

    As to the safety question — as you mentioned, cars are HUGE METAL WEAPONS that can CRUSH ME!!! They TERRIFY ME!! However, I have some basic reassurance that most people will follow the rules, and if I do so too, all will be well. Buuuuuuuuut … I do look both ways on a One-Way street, and I do keep looking EVERYWARE when crossing at signals. My 8 year old was nearly smoked when we had right-of-way. He saw the walky-man, and started to move forward. Some dude in a mini-van who had decided that ‘yellow means HURRY UP GO FASTER!!!’ nearly clipped him.

    So… I’m not sure that I would retain sanity in Korea. :P

    Kloveyoubyebye

    4 years ago
  11. I visited Australia and New Zealand earlier this year and was told by my tour guides pedestrians don’t have the right away to cross in these countries. The crossing light only lasts for about 10 seconds and you’re usually in the middle of the street when the light turns red. I finally realized that I should probably run across streets when I saw actual citizens doing so.

    4 years ago
    • Nic

      Actually drivers are required to give way to pedestrians at crossings and shared zones. When the light flashes red for pedestrians it doesn’t mean the cars can now go, it’s a warning for pedestrians to not start crossing now as there is not enough time. As long as you cross before it’s the red men not flashing it’s fine.

      Most pedestrians run because they are crossing the street when the man is flashing red- when they are not supposed to- but they know if they run they have enough time. Also people just tend to run across the street anyway, particularly in cities here.

      4 years ago
  12. Add 16 million cyclists that don’t care about any traffic rules or having their lights on in the dark and you have Dutch traffic

    4 years ago
  13. Pedestrians beware! Scooters/motorcycles, and sometimes cars, drive on the sidewalk. Very rarely do the scootermen honk to warn people if imminent mowdown, in my experience. I have a book called Ask the Korean Guy (or something to that effect) and he was asked about the driving on the sidewalks so he contacted his local police department. Appatently driving on the sidewalk is illegal but they don’t go after the offenders to issue warnings or tickets out of fear that those in violation will cause accidents whilst trying to evade the police. Super faulty logic. So they will allow for potential accidents or harm to occur in order prevent potential accidents and harm from occurring… Also, pedestrian right of way does not exist here even when there are crosswalks if lights do not accompany them. Sometimes even then some drivers will try to cut you off.

    4 years ago
  14. I love this! I spent a semester in China last year and can attest that the driving is ridiculous over there…I refuse to drive overseas. period! it’s terrifying! I’ve seen buses almost run over ladies with strollers, I’ve been in a bus accident with a man on a scooter getting killed…it sucks! When I got back to the US, I was literally scared to be near buses because I thought they were going to randomly swerve into my lane! people here in the West can’t even begin to understand.

    4 years ago
  15. In the two years I lived in Korea I almost got hit by a bus twice and a taxi driver once. I forgot that pedestrians don’t have the right of way even if the little green man tells you otherwise.

    4 years ago
  16. yeah i almost get killed everyday when crossing the street. Drivers have no respect for people crossing on a green light.

    4 years ago
  17. Mei

    It’s almost the same as in Argentina. Really. It’s scary.

    4 years ago
  18. This would make me so sad, b/c I love driving! But I also love being alive! But I also suck at parking!
    What a quandary.

    It varies by state in the US but there are generally just the two levels,
    learners permit and license. Sometimes a provisional license in between if you
    haven’t reached a certain age yet (16 or 17 I think). But there are places where
    15-year-olds can drive, and THAT is a bit scary.

    And, ahem…since when does conjunctivitis give you a cough? ;P

    4 years ago
  19. In California, if you’re over 18, you take a test to get a driving permit, but you can schedule a driving test 7 days after you get your permit…I think. The driving permit allows you to drive with a licensed driver, no restrictions on how long they’ve had it…at least I don’t think so. The permit expires after a year and in order to take the actual driving test to get your license you need to have a permit. For teenagers it’s different and definitely different tests for motorcycles or to drive a van. (info: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/dl/dl_info.htm#two500) There are different classes for licenses, however the most common is Class C. Each class has restrictions on what you can drive. (info: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/cdl_htm/lic_chart.htm)

    4 years ago
  20. People have tests and practice driving in my country aswell…I don’t drive so I can’t tell you any details ( -.- ) …
    But from what I heard from you , now I feel safe in my country when it comes to driving. Of course, there are always idiots who will run over the red light in a hurry and do some other stupid things, but in general it is safe.
    I had to move to a city for college ( since I grew up on an island and the education goes up to high school ) and in my now 4 years here I was almost run down 2-3 times…which isn’t much…and in one case I called my dad and told him the cars plate number xD ( dad’s a policemen *lol* ).

    4 years ago
  21. Malaysia’s pretty bad too, not as bad as Korea though. Always, ALWAYS look before you cross the street. Even though it’s a red light for cars.

    4 years ago
  22. China is also insane. For example in a lane meant for four cars, there will be six tightly packed together! Also the military have no rules to obey, their cars go everywhere they want.

    4 years ago
  23. Wow, Ontario has a lot of requirements for a license. In Texas, kids can get their learner’s permits at 15, where they can drive with a licensed driver in the passenger seat during daylight. The take a 6-week driver’s ed course, which includes a whopping 14 hrs of practice with an instructor, and can get their license at 16. There is a written test, but no practical. For adults the requirements are less stringent, but at least some sort of test or education is required depending on the situation. I think that the drivers here aren’t terrible, but they could be better. The worst drivers are the tourists from Mexico who don’t seem to understand that the speed limit signs are in mph, not kph and that traffic signals mean something.

    San Antonio is very spread out and the public transportation sucks, so most people have a car and drive everywhere. The exception is downtown. I do feel safe with traffic there as a pedestrian. We’re a tourist city, so the cops are extra anal about traffic safety downtown. However, since the rest of the city isn’t really designed with pedestrians in mind, I’d rather not walk anywhere other than downtown or in my neighborhood.

    4 years ago
  24. I live in NYC and if a pedestrian were to get hit by a bus, truck or car the first thing that would happen (if theyre alive) after recovering at the hospital would be to sue the sh!t out of the driver. Does that happen in Korea? Is it common practice to take someone to court to sue if your in an accident (pedestrian and car accident included)?

    4 years ago
    • I live in NYC also, I am afraid to drive, I sold my car when I moved here two years ago, that Is how bad it is. It is A LOT like Korean driving. Like one day a friend came from Florida and I was on a one way street and yet I looked right when they asked why I said “people drive like maniacs now a days” .

      4 years ago
    • Same here. I especially worry about the taxis and the bike messengers/delivery as a pedestrian, and as a biker I worry about pedestrians (who always walk out right into my right of way in the bike lane–no, that’s not your place to walk, sorry) and taxis, who don’t seem to get that “bike lane” does not equal “taxi turning lane.”

      4 years ago
    • I am a driver in NYC (only in Brooklyn), and omg! it’s like you need to learn how to drive all over again (considering I used to live in Mexico where I thought it was bad) … Everyone (including pedestrians) are MANICS!!!! You always have to anticipate THE WORST … even Jaywalking is a NY hobbie!!! on a side-note: I hope my fellow East Coasters are hanging in there like myself :)

      4 years ago
      • I think EVERYONE says that. I hate driving in cities (philadelphia or new york) I know a lot of people say “Just look forward, don’t worry about what is happening behind you, because that is what everyone is doing”

        Yeah, I admit, I feel like I ALWAYS have the right away as a pedestrian. XD Granted I won’t expect you to stop if I am trying to cross in the middle of road.

        4 years ago
    • Americans are sue-happy people and extremely so. O_O

      4 years ago
      • not true. that’s like saying all Asians wear kimono’s.. yes.. there are plenty of sue happy American people.. but its a stereotype to think we all are. trust me.. someone owes me over 60,000 USD and I still haven’t tried to take them to court. 99% of the Americans i know, have never sued anyone.

        4 years ago
        • You must belong to the non-sue-happy 1% of the population :D My uncle owes my parents almost the same amount and we havent done nothing, he is family after all. Kudos to you for not being greedy :D

          4 years ago
  25. i understand how you guys feel about this… I’m also living in a society which driving and riding scooter(motorbike) are insanely dangerous and reckless !! Watch out everytime you’re on the street. I even feel unsafe when i WALK on the sidewalk =”= crazy driver can bump into me anytime

    4 years ago
  26. Oh my goodness, I swear, before I watched Korean broadcasts on how people got their license, or even knew about how the driving was in Korea, I thought Taiwan’s traffic was sooo scary (I’m from Ontario too!) I’m sorry I thought Taiwan was scary lol ;A;

    And your description of how getting a license here made me sad only because I failed my G2 test several times before I finally got it… On a brighter note, I think I’m a safer driver because I took the test several times LOL -sadface-

    4 years ago
  27. i gathered this whole bad crazy driving in Korea thing before from watching drama’s mv’s, shows and you guys!! haha!!! it’s nice to know!!! i’m fully informed for when i go to Korea one day!!!

    haha that mini questionnaire was hilarious!!!….and i was right for all of them!! woo!
    this is probably weird of me but whenever i cross the road now and a car suddenly comes from somewhere i ALWAYS think of how bad it could’ve been if i was in Korea!

    4 years ago
  28. 100% absolutely true! Drivers (majority of them) here are crazy & scary!

    Red lights to them are mere suggestions! Pedestrians DO NOT have the right of way or any way! I was already halfway through a crosswalk, then this a**hole in a car comes barreling down, less than a foot away from me to make a turn without stopping…argh!

    4 years ago
  29. I’m surprised you’re still alive :°D

    4 years ago
  30. After returning home from Korea to the Chicagoland area, I was suddenly thankful for the drivers here. xD;; Walking around in Chicago or any big city – we all know that it feels like “cross the street at your own risk.” Then we walked around the markets in Korea and suddenly missed Chicago drivers. LoL. I still think that the cab drivers in Chicago are worse in freaking out riders, and coming in close second was the taxi ride we had in Nassau trying to get back to our cruise ship (he sped through the town because he knew we needed to get back, so… thanks guy? xD;;). The taxi we took in Busan didn’t seem bad at all, though.

    4 years ago
  31. Yeah, in Brazil (the capital, at least, where I live), we first have a 30 day safety class too, after which, there’s a test to see how much you’ve learned. Not getting 70% equals failure and you need to retake the whole 30-day classes again. Then, the practical driving classes, of a minimum of 20h, and then the driving test. After, you get a probationary 1 year where you can’t have more than one light/medium violation ticket. You get a heavy violation one, and your probationary license is revoked. I hear in some other cities, it’s a bit easier, and in others, like São Paulo, it’s actually harder.

    And here I thought getting a license in Korea was harder. At least after watching a few programs where idols were trying (and some failing) to get theirs.

    Side note, all the disclaimers had me giggling here ^^

    4 years ago
  32. When I visited Korea in the summer I remember you guys warning us about drivers in a previous TL:DR. I kind of ignored it and was like IT CAN’T BE THAT BAD at least thats what my boyfriend told me. I was wrong… and I didn’t know the buses are standard not automatic >.< I almost died! lol. Plus my boyfriends mom hit another car while parking and didn't tell the person O_O

    4 years ago
  33. Loved the illustrations! xD

    4 years ago
  34. America is pretty strict on their driving laws too. In Ohio you can get your license at 16 but you have to take Driver’s Ed for 10 weeks and 4 practical practice sessions (driving with an instructor) over a period of 6 months. 10 hours of those practicals have to be night driving. That’s not including the written test to get your learner’s permit to even drive with an instructor or driver over 21 years old. While having a permit you’re only allowed to drive with the licensed driver, and for the first year after getting your license you’re only supposed to have 1 passenger with you. After you turn 18 you aren’t required to take the driver’s ed course but you still have to take the written and practical exam. The written exam is the same as the one for the learner’s permit (you don’t have to take it again if you’ve already gotten this) but the practical is a manueverability test and a road test where they test your turning, obeying obscure traffic laws etc. I failed my first practical exam when I was 17, and passed it a week later.

    4 years ago
    • We were supposed to do 10 hours night driving with an instructor? I didn’t do any night driving with them…
      As for the one passenger thing I was told when I got my license that it was one non-family member. You could have multiple family member in your car, but I think the assumption is that at least one of those passengers would be a parent.

      4 years ago
  35. What does traffic enforcement look like in Korea? I mean is Parking Patrol non-existent, and how often do you see a policeman writing a ticket? I’m assuming where you live traffic is pretty congested so that there isn’t a need for a radar cop?

    4 years ago
  36. Have either of you ever driven in Korea? What was that like? I know you had a scooter (maybe one for each of you?) a while back, but I don’t remember what your comments on driving the scooter were or ever hearing about you driving a car. This isn’t a TL;DR question, I’m just a bit curious, hope you see this, and write back :).

    4 years ago
    • We still drive our scooter, but you have to be very aggressive and constantly alert because people drift into your lane and try to run you over. I’ve had to kick someone’s door to be like, HAAAAIIIIIIIIIIII STOP MERGING INTO ME!!! The pink fluffly dress, leggings, sneakers, and helmet confused them. Hahahaha!

      This is Martina. Hahahaha!!

      4 years ago
      • I love how you had to clarify that it was Martina even after the fluffy pink dress. classy!

        4 years ago
      • Ha. I’m glad you clarified, because I thought it was Simon with the clothing description. THANK YOU FOR THE REPLY!!! You just made me day epic.

        4 years ago
  37. Thankfully I live in Australia, our road rules are as strict as they can get!

    4 years ago
    • yeah, I’ve lived in Australia for 1.5 years and I already collected many tickets. LOL

      4 years ago
  38. I think China is the worst when it comes to driving, though Malaysia is pretty bad too. When I was in Japan it was HEAVEN!!!! Such good drivers!

    4 years ago
    • Everyone thinks they own the road in China lol.

      4 years ago
    • The two times we went to Japan we were blown away at how good the driving was there. We were thinking that it might just be a fluke, but you mentioned it here as well. Odd! I wonder what’s different about Japan that makes them drive differently…

      4 years ago
      • What I’ve heard about Japan is that the maniacs are people on bicycles. apparently they zig zag their way through, with their suitcase strapped to the back and groceries on the bicycle basket and [foreigner?] drivers have half heart attacks trying to avoid them. XD I dont think I’ve heard bad things about Japanese drivers per se thou. :)

        4 years ago
      • I think that’s because the japanese strictly believe in “Do others no wrong, Do me no wrong”. They are very polite, which is nice, but I think that’s founded on individuality.

        4 years ago
    • Philippines is bad

      4 years ago
    • China is bad. The lines on the road there are just suggestions along with the traffic signals. Or at least it was that way in 2000

      4 years ago
    • you must be never been to Indonesia. those country you mention are hell a lot better than in here

      4 years ago
      • That’s why I don’t drive anymore. You basically have to be a daredevil if you want to drive in Indonesia. Those motorcycles are crazy people. And transportation vehicles are just maniacs. Oh and don’t get me started on traffic.

        4 years ago
      • that’s very true – every so often i go to indo to see the fam, i am uttely astounded that driving is like that- they only just started putting up traffic lights in some areas, and drivers take them as mere suggestions as to when to stop. two-way streets can also turn into one-way streets (or vice versa) randomly because the police have made it so.
        my dad even got fined for just trying to back out of my gran’s driveway (as she lives on a main street- the traffic is truly horrendous) and it blocked everyone’s way! 10 years ago traffic wasn’t even half that bad.

        4 years ago
    • That’s what my dad said. He said that you never see car accident.

      4 years ago
  39. Pictures in the description are SO funny xD !

    4 years ago
  40. Agree… I’ve heard that people can just practice for a few days straight and get the license. They show it on broadcast too… That’s why I sometimes wonder how legit is it even to drive a car in Korea. They probably could only drive in there and not anywhere outside with that kind of driving.

    Similar in SG, we also have to go through a series of test, parallel parking, S-course, uphill, downhill, merging etc. We just don’t go on the highway because the speed would be too far for many learner drivers.

    4 years ago
    • I live in LA and trust me, driving around Asian areas is pretty dangerous :P

      4 years ago
      • Yeeaahhh… While perhaps S&M should have emphasized “driving culture in Korea” instead of saying ‘Korean People’ (sorry guys..) what you are saying is a huge generalisation that is offensive.

        The group you refer to as “Asian” are made up of numerous cultures, countries and regions, and encompass millions of people across a HUGE continent (as well as abroad). You are attributing bad driving based on their being a part of this massive group. It is racist to say that.

        That being said, I dont think YOU are racist, but rather your comment.

        I guess, maybe, watch out for that in future comments/conversations?

        4 years ago
        • I cant believe so many ppl downvoted your comment. What you say is accurate and you even took the unneeded courtesy to explain that their ACTION is whats racist not that ~they’re~ racist.
          It is true. Assuming that all asian drivers are bad drivers IS racist and IS a hurtful stereotype. Did no one watch Crash during high school here?

          4 years ago
        • Hey! Thanks for the support! :)

          4 years ago
        • This is not being Racist, as I didn’t make a condescending remark. I have a lot of Asian friends who even agree with me on this and always make jokes about it too. This is true though, if you drive around Asian areas you have got to be more careful. Just like in the are where I am living now, the city has a very high Armenian population, they always drive 70 mph+ in 45 mph areas and weave in and out of traffic like its nothing, ive been told by many friends that this is how they drive in their country. See, im stating a fact, not discriminating on anyone :)

          4 years ago
        • I don’t live in LA but i live in another city that has a high Asian Population. And it can be dangerous to drive around. It’s not that they are Asian (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese, etc.) it’s the driving cultures that they come from. If you are new to a country; I have found once you get here you will go for your license and follow the rules. it’s like that with anyone i work with international students and people. i find they go back to the way the where comfortable driving. it’s because thats what you are comforable with. it’s like perfering to speak your first language rather then you second language. You want to be comfortable and if your not comfortable then you don’t want to do it the uncomfortable way. It’s what many of my Chinese and Korean friends did. They got a perfect score on his driving test, after that they went back to speeding down streets and cutting traffic off. (mind you i am not saying that all Chinese and Korean people do that.) Either way we do whats comfortable for us and if you where born in a culture that has terrible driving your going to continue you to be like that unless you yourself change.

          However on to this personally everything we say and do is racist in away even if we don’t mean it be. There are direct racist comments and indirect racist comments. If i say i don’t like the way your treating me then people can think of it as oh you don’t like me because of what race i am or culture i come from. Everything we say and do can be seen in a racist way. You think this comment is a little racist. personally i think your being racist because they have there own opinion. But if you are from Canada or the USA we live in a free country with freedom of speech. I am not sure what Korea’s laws are on it but we all know that Simon and Martina aren’t being racist (i know you realize they aren’t racist either) however even if there comment might have seemed it’s there opinion on driving. We are aloud to have opinion you have your’s, I have mine and they have there’s. It’s what makes people different and who they are.

          4 years ago
        • Or perhaps they were just speaking to the fact that, as mentioned in the video above, a majority of the countries on that HUGE continent share a rather unpleasant “driving culture”, and the areas in LA which feature large populations of people who immigrated from those unpleasant “driving cultures” are scary behind the wheel. I think people get massively bogged down in semantics in regards to racism :/

          4 years ago