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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. While I have only spent a week in Seoul, I found it much better in relation to driving and drivers than many countries in the Middle East, where I have spent a lot of time living and working (I’m originally from Australia). Don’t get me wrong, there are sooo many things I love about Arab countries (the people of course, the yummy food, beautiful language and so many other things). In fact, the only people I have found to be more hospitable and welcoming than so many of the Arab people I have met in different Arab countries are actually the Korean people.

    In relation to driving, by far my craziest experience has been in Lebanon, especially in Beirut where the traffic is really heavy. While drivers tend to stop at stop lights, they completely ignore road lane markings. So for example, if you have a 3 lane highway, you will basically end up with 5 lanes of traffic. Drivers will make up their own lanes and also weave in and out of these made up lanes and the real lanes – often at high speeds. The same thing happens on smaller city streets, drivers attempt to form multiple lanes where there really is only room for one lane. Getting picked up or dropped off in a taxi is also a bit crazy, as the traffic is so heavy if the car stops for more than 10 seconds, you have dozens of cars blowing horns – so its often dangerous getting in and out of taxis as they want to move off as fast as they can. There are also loads and loads of scooters and no-one wears helmets and similar to South Korea, they weave in and out of the traffic and will try and find short cuts often not looking to the safety of the riders, other drivers or pedestrians. I also witnessed one time, motor cycle riders (not scooters) doing wheelies on the highways where drivers create their own lanes while driving at high speed as mentioned above. I was travelling on a bus and it was terrifying to watch (actually most of the time, I couldn’t watch as I was sure someone was going to die).

    Amman in Jordan and Cairo are also really heavy with traffic and while drivers tend to drive fast, they do at least stick to the laneways that are marked. Although in quite a few Arabic countries I have visited, car drivers and taxi drivers will think you are quite strange if you put the seatbelt on, even if they are driving at vert high speeds (in Australia its complusory to wear seatbelts, so its just second nature to Australians to put them on).

    7 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….

    7 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.

    7 years ago
  4. Wow! Canada has a lot of rules for driving! I mean in the US we still have to take a written test, and do a driving test on a close coarse, but some states have a test on the road in real life situations.

    Oh and in Korea do people drive on the sidewalks to make right hand turns in their cars and vans? They do in Philadelphia.

    Plus I am pretty sure I would get hit by a car in Korea. I have such a pushy attitude about crossing streets from living in Philadelphia. But then again, some of the things you have mentioned I have seen in NJ or Philadelphia. Probably not nearly as common as you experience. I have almost been in a head on collision because someone tried to turn down a one way road (in the wrong direction) I’ve seen people ignore turn lanes, motorcyclists weaving through highway traffic (or highway traffic jams), cards driving on bike lanes, double parking, people driving on the shoulder to drive past traffic, etc. I think there at two differences in your crazy driving and US/NJ crazy driving

    1) New Jersey/New York/Philadelphia drivers are afraid of being sued, so they are a little more considerate for pedestrians. Also there are fatter people in the US, so the target it a little easier to see. Yes, I am saying that Simon and Martina are not nearly fat enough, and people can’t see them.

    2) There aren’t that many cities in the US. Which means less scooters, less congestion, and which means less to hit. Most accidents in the US are cars hitting cars, not cars hitting people. Not to say I haven’t almost had a car hit me (taxis mostly) And when you are in a very congested area, it is easy to see who is from the suburbs (nice a docile) and who is from the city (they’ll creep up next pedestrians to make that right on red that they aren’t suppose to make)

    Don’t get me wrong. I am sure Korea is bad driving, and is worse than the US.

    Which leaves me wondering: How is insurance in Korea? In the US you must have car insurance, is that the same with Korea? Dramas tend to have plots where a family goes into debt to pay off medical bills, do most jobs not offer health insurance?

    7 years ago
  5. Where do typical Koreans live? Do all of them live in apartments same as yours or in houses such as in dramas?

    7 years ago
  6. I remember seeing an accident (horribly tragic) while riding in a taxi, when my mum and I were visiting family (decades ago – I was in elementary school). It involved one of those flat-nosed vans where the driver and front passenger sit high and the windshield was huge, both of the people were hanging out. Bus rides were an adventure, just because they would start moving before letting you get to a rail or seat. Crossing intersections/streets were scary cause the traffic was relentless, wouldn’t yield to a pedestrian.

    7 years ago
  7. Oh yea, Chinese driving. My first day in Beijing, my friends and I were walking to the supermarket outside of campus for water and breakfast foods. On the way back, with a case of water on my shoulder we stopped in a narrow, horizontally single filed line, in the middle of the intersection, with buses passing continuously to our front and back. All the meanwhile it was most certainly 10 seconds past the pedestrian green walk sign. +_+

    7 years ago
  8. im taking the subway. always :)

    7 years ago
  9. Oh!, here in Mexico I got my driving license when I was 17, and I just took a driving course of a week, here is not that troublesome to get a driving license. But in my city almost all the people drive while calling someone in the cellphone, is really crazy; so sometimes I get really scared

    7 years ago
  10. I took the official Korean driver’s license test last year. We do have actual driving test. It’s a 3 step test: the traffic law test on computer, the basic driving skill test +the actual driving test on the street. The problem is that the whole process is too easy and quick. You can get your licence at least in a week if you wish to. From this month, street test becomes more complex than before since the authority insisted that we do have lots of problems. LOL Basically your source was quiet right. In Korea, driving test exists in a simple way, but not quiet successful in terms of safety. Hugh~

    7 years ago
    • Ahh I see. Thanks for the info! I’m happy the tests are changing, but after posting this video I see that we should appreciate Korean driving because apparently India and China are much much crazier! :o

      7 years ago
  11. Ahem. *cough*

    So. I was hesitant to comment on this page, because I have something to confess.

    I am one of those crazy Asian drivers m(_ _)m

    I’ve driven in Thailand, including Bangkok, and yes, I’d say it’s the ‘worst’ I’ve ever seen in the world. I’ve attached a picture of how I do U-turns – by holding up all the traffic on a 4-lane highway. lulz :p

    And yes, all that crap about doing the wrong way down one way roads, sneaking around corners for red lights, hitting the accelerator when the light goes yellow, parking anywhere I like, reversing on the main road when I miss a turn, cutting 5 lanes at once, and butting into lanes shamelessly. Speed limit? Pfft. I think the only time I stuck to the speed limit was during my driving test. Not to mention I didn’t even have an international license when I was in Thailand, so….it was technically illegal for me to drive at all ^^;;

    I’ve also driven in Japan, and I would agree that they stick to the law a lot more over there. However, the roads are sooo incredibly narrow, the corners are all sharp, blind corners that need mirrors, and the cars are of all shapes and sizes, so it requires a lot of skill just to go down the street without scraping your car on someone’s fence. I was driving in the snow too, which made it even more fun. Hee hee. But when it comes to breaking the speed limit – they’ll go as fast as they possibly can. On those narrow roads. 200km/hr? No biggie~ Also, they’ll reverse a few hundred metres at full speed if there’s noone behind them. I saw an old lady do it. Good on her :p Actually, it was in Japan that I first got scolded for stopping at a red light. They were all like ‘you could have totally made that~ D:’ And I got my parking skills in Japan. Have you seen their parking lots? There’s like 2 inches of space on each side of the car, so that they have to fold in the side mirrors every time. And reverse. ALWAYS reverse.

    Indonesia….oh them were good times. Driving up on the sidewalk or the grass strip, turning at red lights + uturn + turn again to continue past the lights, and of course anyone can get a license. I few of my friends were driving cars to school in Year 7 (those that could afford cars). I think scooters are often driven by kids since they’re 8 or something. Over 5 of my friends have died in scooter/motorbike accidents, and counting.

    So….where was I. Ah yes. I went through all that rigourous driving training. Did 120 hours of driving practice with my dad next to me, over two years, in Australia. Passed my test with flying colours. Have never had an accident to date. And while I’m here, I obey the law – at least when there are no police around :p

    Once I go do a different country, I just ‘do as the Romans do’. If I stubbornly stuck to my Australian driving methods, I’d never get to my destinations. Ever.

    Lastly, funny story. In Indonesia they actually have zebra crossings, although noone cares about them. My dad saw some people trying to cross, so he stopped. The people were so shocked, that they just stared without moving an inch, wondering what the hell was wrong with this guy. lol. In the end, only after my dad moved on, they finally crossed the road behind us. xD

    7 years ago
  12. Wow I didn’t know that the Canadian system of getting
    your license is pretty much the same as in Hungary. I thought that it’s more
    similar to the American system. Anyway here in Hungary is also hard to
    get your license and pretty expensive too! However I kind of feel safe crossing
    the street LOL! I mean the chance of a car crossing a red light is less than
    5%. I think it has to do with the huge fines though as opposed to driving
    education.

    7 years ago
  13. I wonder how many people get injured in traffic situations :(

    7 years ago
  14. My favorite are the motorcycles that drive ON THE SIDEWALK and then honk at pedestrians to get out of the way.

    7 years ago
    • lolol… i actually like it though. How else do you think Korea has the most awesome food delivery culture in the world bar none. Price well paid I say. Never seen or heard anyone getting hit by one of those motorbikes too.

      7 years ago
  15. It’s funny (in a dark, twisted way) that the thing that would make me most scared to go outside late at night (or any time) in South Korea would not be muggings but getting run over. Someone once started turning left while I was STILL legally in the crosswalk. Actually hit me, but more like a tap, thank goodness. This is why I hate cars or, really, what happens when you put people behind the wheel.

    7 years ago
  16. In Malaysia, you only need 10 hours of practical to sit for the exam and just a lecture… that shocks a lot of my foreign friends. I hear that other countries go up to 100 hours. I’ve lived in China for 5 years and the traffic there is horrendous, but I never really noticed bad driving. Maybe because I was young?

    7 years ago
  17. I totally agree, about the scary buses. I was on a bus from Pusan to the city where my bf lives, and the bus driver suddenly stops the bus and crosses over six lanes to make a u turn. I should mention that this was on a busy highway too. I was just like well at least I’m with one person I wanna be with if I gotta go out >.<

    7 years ago
  18. I have a question for Simon and Martina,

    Regarding the use of ‘Noona’,’Hyung’, ‘Unni’ and ‘Oppa’, how do you feel about using these terms to call someone by, or be called by?

    7 years ago
  19. Idk if all of California does this but in my city we call it a California Roll (not the sushi) when the driver does not stop at a stop sign,but drives right through at the same time looking both ways.

    7 years ago
    • We call that the “California stop” here in Texas, but it’s basically the same thing. The driver doesn’t stop, but they slow down a little and look both ways. Although, some lady almost ran me over because she didn’t look, didn’t stop, and didn’t even slow down. I almost died. D’:

      7 years ago
  20. when you lay it out like that, it really does sound hard! Just got my G license! YAY and i never failed any of the tests :D

    7 years ago
  21. I saw this video the other day and thought about you guys, and tada it is the topic of today’s TL:DR

    http://youtu.be/sYT829yhSrg

    7 years ago
  22. Hey Simon and Martina. :D
    That’s crazy insane that they just have to take a paper test and then receive their licenses!! Here in California, we have to take drivers education. Once we’ve completed drivers education, then we can take the written test for our permit. Once we have our permit, we have to take at least 3 drivers training classes, drive a a minimum amount of hours, and then we can take our driving test. However, if you’re 18: you don’t have to worry about drivers ed or training…you can just take your permit test, and then if you pass you can start practicing how to drive before you take your driving test. And if you want to drive a scooter, a motorcycle, or a semi-truck: there are other classes you have to go to and take tests for. As a pedestrian: I feel mostly safe. As a driver: people need to get off their phones and pay attention!! We even have a “hands-free” law where we aren’t allowed to be on our phones, and yet people still do it anyways.
    Sorry for talking so much. Thanks for listening. Keep up the amazing work!! :D

    7 years ago
  23. I can imagine how it is, sounds like my parents country, Pakistan. There is like no concept of indicators, and separate car lanes! Like there’s a road, and as many cars that can fit in there trying to squeeze in, and then there motorcyclists (which usually have a frickin’ five people on them) trying to squeeze in., it looks like a puzzle. I also thought that when I heard about Nichkhun and Daesung’s car accidents, cause I know how motorcyclists are around that area.

    7 years ago
  24. I love Martina’s shirt :D <3

    7 years ago
  25. Just a paper test??! Here in Australia you have to drive 120 hours (and that’s only day time hours) before you can go sit a test to get your actual license. There’s rumours that it might even increase to 240 hours TT

    If those crazy drivers drove in Australia, they would be completely bankrupt from all the fines..

    7 years ago
    • I’m on my L’s right now and really it’s just money for petrol giants OTL. I feel that drivers suddenly get bad when they become P-platers and just hate everyone haha.

      Australian fining is just too easy to get away with though! Where there are speed cameras, THERE ARE SIGNS SAYING THEY’RE THERE. I just thing it defeats the purpose of having speed cameras and everyone slowing down just at them and speeding before/after them. :/ How I love this upside down country dearly.

      7 years ago
      • Haha, quite true actually x)
        I’m also on my Ls and I get heaps of hate from others when I drive the speed limit == (hence why I have to admit that I do speed at times)

        Though I think that the fact that jaywalking is somewhat safe (in that the probability of surviving is significantly higher than in Korea) to do here kinda shows that our roads, and I guess our speeding, aren’t that bad :)

        7 years ago
  26. About the thingy majigger that said that China is worse at driving than Korea- 100% true! I went to Korea this summer and I just thought it was bad. We actually accidentally hit a girl (not hard. We were going like 5 miles an hour. Enough to shock her a bit). Then I went to China thinking it would be the same. Goodness… While we were there, we repeating went to this food stand chain thing. Not because the food was good or that the prices were reasonable, but because there was no way cars could drive between our hotel and the food! (It was blocked off) lots of people had the same idea, because that place was crowded!! I had to shield my mother, who despite being Vietnamese and living in an Asian country for many years, walked the streets of China without a care it the world. And she tells me I walk to carelessly >.>

    Thoughts? Haha

    7 years ago
  27. I remember traffic in China, whenever we crossed the street, we went over these land bridges that crossed to the other side of the street, seemed much safer than traffic lights. Seat belts seemed to be a nuisance to people too.
    I also remember not being able to find a seat on a bus, and having to hold on super tight to the bars, not that I really went anywhere on the bus since it was so packed.
    Ahhh, fun times.

    7 years ago
  28. I live in Ohio. Here, if you’re under 18, you have to take a written test to get your learners permit (you can do this at 15). Once you have your learner’s permit you have to take a driver’s ed course with instructor driving time. Once you have the paperwork from that and have been driving for a certain amount of time, you can take the driving portion. Here the driving portion consists of a maneuverability test http://www.publicsafety.ohio.gov/img/bmv_maneuv_diagram.jpg and then the street portion. Where I am that meant driving around the block, but the DMV is on the corner of two of busiest streets for us, so it isn’t super easy, no traffic driving. For those over 18, you aren’t required to have any drivers education. You only have to have had your learners permit for a certain amount of time before you take the driving test. I had to take drivers ed anyway… because I needed the instructor time in order to pass the freaking maneuverability test…

    as for the learners permit and who could be in the car with you, the passenger just has to be a licensed driver 18 years or older.

    7 years ago
  29. I remember you saying how bad driving is in Korea so I was prepared for havoc when I went this summer. Maybe it was because I had gone into Korea from China but I was wondering what you guys were saying since I felt like Korean driving wasn’t bad at all x3 The only thing was that there’s traffic like ALL THE TIME. O____O (But yea, here’s a fun story of driving in China. When I was there this summer we hadn’t reserved a place to stay since we know our way around china, but there are like these people who stand around in the airport advertising their hotels and stuff [which isn’t all that safe… following strangers when you think about it, but ehh] and then we basically fit like 14 people into a minivan without seats and the driver also going insanely fast weaving through the lanes, sometimes going on the opposite lane, and also going into the sidewalk when there was traffic both ways >.>) So if you guys have such a problem with the driving in Korea… I don’t think you guys would be able to enjoy china if you ever decided to visit.

    7 years ago
  30. I’ve lived in Korea for two years and trust me, this video was too nice. The kind of driving that goes on in Korea is incredibly dangerous and I have had way too many near-death experiences; especially when we consider that I don’t own a car in Korea. So this means I’ve been either a passenger or a pedestrian in every case!

    Last weekend I saw a pretty terrible scooter accident. Luckily, the guy was wearing a helmet and I really hope he was okay but I wasn’t wrong in assuming that it was his. He pulled on to the street going the wrong direction, without lights on, at night. WTFFFF?! I just want to scream and pull my hair out.

    I agree with what Martina said; it’s like nothing is sacred. I’ve seen elderly people as well as obviously pregnant women (sometimes with toddlers in tow) go flying down the bus aisles because the driver (who saw them get on!) guns it as soon as the door is shut.

    It just shouldn’t be happening. There are laws in Korea… in fact, they’re very similar to laws in North America, but the difference is nobody seems to care and there is nobody enforcing them. A scooter blew past my elementary school doing no less than 80 mph, I looked around and sure enough there is a police officer, on a motorcycle, still chilling at the light. I will never understand. Sorry about the rant but I just couldn’t agree more. I love Korea, I love my Korean friends and co-workers but this is the #1 worst thing about living here.

    7 years ago
  31. in the Philippines, we have the same problem (I think its worse)

    7 years ago
    • Oh yea, our buses would also weave through traffic (like scooters) and if they hit someone or something, the bus driver would escape. Its common knowledge that buses who’ve hit people would make sure that their dead as its cheaper to pay the small compensation to the bereaved family than pay the hospital bills if the victim survives. Buses here are also notorious in gunning it (I have personally experienced body slamming the front panel of the bus when it suddenly hit the breaks…and apparently, it was my fault) T_T. Light signals, pedestrian lanes and foot bridges are merely suggestions, just cross when you feel like it (Fear Factor!). Commuters would hail and alight anywhere, buses and taxis would let you off in the middle of the road, motorbikes/scooters would also weave through stop lights. We have a high mortality rate due to bus and/or scooter accidents. We also have bikes and motorbikes with a side car (they are used for commuting in the alleyways/side streets); they are notorious in going the opposite direction in a 1 way street and they will run you over for sure (and it will be the pedestrian’s fault).

      I really hate to think that this is a cultural thing…but…arrrrgh! T_T

      7 years ago
  32. The US’s steps to getting a driver’s lisence are pretty much the same as in Canada. We also needed 50 hours of driving experience with an experienced driver in the passenger seat. You could opt out of driver’s ed, but then you needed 100 hours of driving experience before they would let you anywhere near the actual test. Then there’s a written test and finally the actual driving test.

    But oh man, I know what you mean about those bus drivers and scooter drivers! One of my friends told me that the other day, she saw a bus hit a scooter driver and then drive off! He didn’t even slow down like “Oh God, I just hit a human being!” So the guy was laying in the middle of the road, injured and unable to move and behind the bus was a taxi driver, who sat there honking at the guy for not moving. I cannot believe the lack of respect for human life in Korea, when it comes to driving! D:

    7 years ago
  33. I was in a Korean taxi once…never again I shall take one…

    7 years ago
  34. Hi Simon & Martina! I have a question regarding this TL;DR
    Since bus drivers are going so fast, do they actually stick to their schedule? Or you have to get to the bus stop in advance to make sure not to miss it?

    7 years ago
  35. I am in Vietnam right now and basically all those things are happening all the time. Never has crossing a street successfully been cause for celebration and life-affirming high fives… Yikes.

    7 years ago
  36. So do they really make illegal u-turns and park in random non-parking spots in front of hospitals and restaurants like you see in kdramas?! I always thought that was just something done in “tv land”…damn, no wonder they keep having people get into car accidents on their shows. It’s something everyone can relate to, eh?

    7 years ago
  37. OMG its true driving in Thailand is really really bad…its pretty safe here in Australia..even if you cross when the light is green the cars stop.. :) but i really want to know if the accident rates are high in Korea?

    7 years ago
  38. Your experience with scooter drivers sounds a lot like bike messengers here in New York City. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been nearly run over by a delivery biker or a bike messenger as I attempt to cross the street for which *I* have the right of way. When I ride my bike it makes me more cautious to be sure that I don’t do that. Yet here in NYC it goes both ways–I can’t tell you how many pedestrians just walk right out into the bike lane and stand there, or who use the bike lane as another sidewalk. I’ve taken to yelling at people as I speed toward them to get the frick out of the bike lane.

    7 years ago
  39. i remember going to korea with my mom and the super scary taxi incident. we were in myong dong and it was night time so we decided to grab a taxi to grandma’s house. the taxi driver’s driving was jerky and really fast. i was so scared that i grabbed the handle at the roof of the taxi. the reason why he was drivng so bad was because it was friday and those were his family days. i arrived safely tho.

    7 years ago
  40. It sounds worse than Belgian drivers in the 1980s. You couldn’t drive until 18, but you just went to the post office and paid the fee and got your license back then – no real test. Crossing the street was like playing Frogger. I witnessed kids being hit, old ladies, pets – driving on the sidewalk – I stuck to the underground metro – it was safer!

    Get better soon, you guise! I feel so bad for you and your misery…

    7 years ago