What the heck?
Or should I say, what the WRECK?? This was the first thing I saw as I exited our apartment complex, and made my way to work, this morning. I could hardly believe my eyes. This truck – or should I say bakkie, for all my South African peeps! – was completely flipped, and no one seemed to be bothered. Yup, you heard me. The road was not closed off, and people were simply driving around the wreckage! In fact, I took this close up shot – no zoom at all – from the window of the bus I was sitting on. Besides a few locals standing around to look at what was happening (which they always do), no one seemed to fazed that this truck was upside down.
The drivers here are crazy!
I am not saying that only Chinese drivers are like this though, we certainly noticed some pretty insane driving tactics in South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Cambodia. HOWEVER, in China… we are amazed at the chances that people take!! They cut into lanes without slowing down, speed up to overtake others and then STOP in front of them suddenly, and they barely ever use their indicators. In fact, drivers seem to use their horn instead of their indicatiors.
“Beep beep, I might hit you, so move over before I do!!”
Korean drivers seemed to move in an organised chaos, but the cars and taxis were always clean, unmarked, and in mint condition. Life in China is completely different, and driving in a cab sometimes feels similar to hitching a ride in the backseat of a crazy old man’s car, while he puffs on a cigarette, and listens to a talk radio station at a deafening volume!
I have been in a couple of minor accidents, one of which resulted in my hand being crushed. Thankfully the damage was not too bad, but my hand still hurts when the weather is very cold. I doubt that we would ever buy a car here, but if we did, I am sure that I would never want to drive! I had a scooter for years in South Africa, but honestly I wouldn’t even consider something like that here despite the convenience that it would provide. I think we’ll just stick to buses, cabs, and walking.
For those interested in the facts and figures, have a look at these numbers.
The rate of traffic-related deaths in Asia are the highest in the world: With just 60% of the world’s cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles, Asia accounts for more than half of the 1.2 million traffic fatalities that the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates occur globally every year.
More than 600,000 Asians are killed and another 9.4 million are severely injured in traffic accidents annually. Those statistics make Asia’s highways the meanest streets in the world. In Thailand – road accidents are now the third leading cause of death after aids and heart attacks. In China and India, car crash rates are growing out of control as members of the expending middle classes ate taking to the roads in record numbers. Car ownership in China jumped 41% between 1999 and 2002, while over the same period accidents increased twice as fast, by more than 83%.
Drive Carefully Everyone!!