≡ Menu

Out on Seoul’s roads with a Canadian driver

To compare Korea’s driving culture with those of other developed nations, reporters with the Dong-A Ilbo strapped in for drive-arounds in Tokyo, Paris and Seoul.

For the Seoul drive, the Dong-A accompanied a Canadian dude who administers an English program at a major Korean company. Among the highlights:

- Nobody lets him change lanes;
- Tailgating is so common he hardly notices it anymore;
- In fact, when a 3m gap appeared between his car and the next as they waited at a light for a left turn, everyone got on their horns;
- Illegally parked cars taking up lane space;
- Driving on Jayu-ro at night was like driving on the Autobahn

About the author: Just the administrator of this humble blog.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    I understand that on any given drive around that a driver isn’t going to get the full Korean driivng experience, but they didn’t see driving through crosswalks with pedestrians crossing, blowing through stop signs and red lights, totally ignoring speed limits, ajusshi hazard light parking in a traffic lane so he can run in and get a pack of smokes and a bottle of soju, driving down the wrong way of one-way streets, driving on sidewalks, sloppy turns (rather than the square-out route) that cross into the oncoming traffic lanes, aggressive driving in parking lots around pedestrians and children that would result in a monumental and epic ass kicking in the civilized world (no, I’m not being facetious), buses that totally ignore anyone and anything around them and any safety or other law that keeps them from maintaining I don’t know what imaginary timetable they’re on, trucks or cars  coming into traffic with a single oncoming car (mine) in sight that requires driver (me) to break and get trapped behind truck because he can’t wait 10 seconds upon making his decision to get on road.**  I have more.  We all do.

    The only thing that I don’t see much of here is drivers taking a left turn on a green light with no oncoming or cross traffic.  Koreans dutifully wait for that green arrow.

    //////////////////////////////////////
    **I’ve found that upon passing them busting out the finger causes them to drop way back.  Truly inexplicable how many times I’ve experienced this on empty roads except for my car and their trucks.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Ever experience people slamming their brakes on in front of you in order to make you slam into their rears? I have. Pulling up behind the guy at the next red light, opening his door and spitting in his face was a sane thing to do on my part. And man, I worked on that loogey for a good minute or two..it was full of phlegm. The bitch didnt even get out of his car, and Im sure the woman in the next seat lost some respect for him as a man.

    Koreans are HORRIBLE drivers, horrible.

  • Yu Bum Suk

    Every time I go home to Canada I must say I’m amazed by how polite the drivers are. I had no idea until I came to Korea, and I don’t even drive here. 

  • http://www.gofundme.com/1k98a8 Jakgani

     If I had wrote that I did that – I would have all the cranky “tough” guys who read this each day – telling me that if they had been the driver of that car and had been spit on – they would have beaten me to a pulp and knocked out all my teeth etc etc

    so….

    Salaryman – hahahaha – but really spitting?  In my country – if you spit on someone you go to jail.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Yes, really….I wanted to punch the guy but its not worth the hassle with the law and the blod money garbage here. So I spat in his face.

  • Jang

    The Dong-A elaborates in English on Seoul driving habits or at the Shinseol-dong intersection going from Dongdaemun to Cheongnyangni
    http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2013010249818
    “As he approached the five-way crossroad linking the Jongno
    and Dongdaemun districts, his hands on the steering wheel started
    sweating. The road was in chaos. Cars were tailing each another to avoid
    missing the traffic signal, a motorcycle suddenly cut in, and a
    pedestrian was almost run over by a van making an illegal U-turn.  7 a.m. = bad conscience
    / Noon = no blinkers!
    / 7 p.m. = risk of quick start
    / Midnight = wait-and-see driving.”

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    There is no reason to be afraid. The people who are afraid here are the ones who get into the accidents. In Seoul you have to be assertive not sweating at the thought of driving into an intersection. People here don’t let you change lanes, so you have to make them let you. First rule: no tur indicaors, as these allow the asshole behind you to anticipate that you will be getting into the lane in front of him. Its a fine balance between being stupidly aggressive and being assertive and still driving within reason.

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Spitting on a guy is still battery. You would have gotten 100% of the effect you were going for, without being a complete asshole, by simply opening the door and shouting at him.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Well forgive me for losing a bit of self-control when the guy tried to cause an accident ON PURPOSE.

  • RElgin

    . . . in Chinese

  • Django

    “The people who are afraid here are the ones who get into the accidents. In Seoul you have to be assertive not sweating at the thought of driving into an intersection.”

    If only the world over could drive like the “assertive” Korean drivers who “aren’t afraid.”

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Stuff like the sloppy turns instead of the proper straight into the intersection, then turn turns…They saw it, it just didn’t register that’s not normal since that’s how they drive.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Were you tailgating him?  That’s how Koreans respond to tailgaters.

  • SeoulFinn

    Interesting. Whenever I go for a drive in Seoul with my new Bentley the other drivers are very courteous towards me. It’s like they give me all the space I need and then some. For example, when I park between two cars and go to do some shopping, the parking slots next my car are almost always empty when I return. This happens even when the parking lot is almost full and there are cars waiting for free slots. Oh, and no one had cut in front of me either. In my opinion, Korean drivers are very polite.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Yes, I’ve heard that Koreans make way depending on the size and status of the car and that the drivers of those cars think that their size and status give them the right of way.

    I’ve also heard that by Korean law whenever bigger is in an accident with smaller that bigger is always deemed as at fault.  

    The last I’ve heard is that whenever there is an accident both participants are deemed equally at fault so they total the damages and then each pays half.

    I write that “I’ve heard that…” because I have had friends involved in each situation and that regardless of who would be at fault in sanity land, the above rules applied in each of their cases.

  • will.i.aint

    If you think it’s bad now – just know this: driving has improved improved dramatically over the last 20-25 years.  I think a big factor is that up until the late ’80s, there were almost no female drivers.  The inclusion of all the females into the mix has considerably lowered the testosterone level out on the street.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    The inclusion of all the females into the mix has considerably lowered the testosterone level out on the street.

    It’s not testosterone.  It’s the bubble of anonimity that nose pickers and car dancers think they enjoy in the west Korean style.  Koreans have no outlet for all their pent up frustratioins from being trapped in whatever Confucian strata happenstance of birth locked them into in their families, work, social network, society….   Their cars are their invisible bubbles (with windows, but anyone who has car danced or sung understands) that allow them to take out all that frustration and bottled up aggression.
    Come on, who hasn’t thought that if this country had guns “going postal” would be known as “going Korean”?  I hate that I think that but has anyone tried to enforce their legal or contractual claims against someone higher in the Confucian order.  I write “legal” or “contractual” and not “human” or “societal” because the latter two rights are determined within the framework of their unique and special culture.  

    I will not miss it here when I leave.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Yeah, I once noticed when I first came here that 4 out of 5 cars has clearly been in fender benders.  A reporter asked the Korean embassy in Washington why there were so many traffic accidents in Korea (then it was ranked number one in the world).  The face-saving answer?  The roads weren’t good.  I kid you not.

  • Robert Neff

    I think the Taiwanese are some of the most inconsiderate and selfish drivers that I have ever seen.  Pedestrians crossing a street almost seem like targets for the Death Race wanna-bes.

    As for Korea – you get the good and the bad but I do find a lot of selfish drivers.  Just the other day I was stuck in a cab going no where because some idiot decided to park his car in the middle of the street so he could run in to the supermarket and grab something.  Kind of doubt it was soju but you never know.

    I can still remember in the 1980s when the road between Wonju and Seoul was relatively free from cars at all hours of the day – those were the days.

  • hoju_saram

    Wow, you’re a fucking dirtbag, congratulations.

  • dlbarch

    I, for one, have always enjoyed driving in Seoul, and in Korea more broadly. Of course, this was in 1998-2000, and I lived in Bundang at the time.

    Still, there is nothing quite like sporting around the Korean countryside in a woefully underpowered Hyundai Sonata III Super Ultra Gold 4 cyl. 2.4L DOHC P.O.S.

    TOTAL chick magnet, baby!

    DLB

  • hoju_saram

    Yep, I enjoyed driving around the ROK as well – I rode a motorbike to most corners of the country during my years there, a rusting 125 magma, not exactly a head-turner, except when I had rust holes in the muffler ;) There are bad drivers about, no doubt, but if you’re aware of what’s going on and never trust your fellow commuters you’re pretty safe. Also, I can hardly complain about other people’s infractions – I probably ran about 30% of the traffic lights I came to, and was liberal with my use of road and footpath, so long as there weren’t pedestrians about :)

    As for Salaryman’s boasting about spitting in someone’s face, there’s a special place in hell reserved for face-spitters, in my books – it must be one of the lowest, dirtiest acts a person can do. And when you’re a foreigner spitting in a local’s face, that sliding scale of douche-tardery sinks even lower.

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    When I moved from Beijing to Seoul a decade ago, a Korean co-worker asked me how I ever survived the awful driving culture of China.

  • YangachiBastardo

    LOl man i would never suspect you had a pok chu jok past !!! 

  • YangachiBastardo

     Koreans have no outlet for all their pent up frustratioins

    Really ? Somebody must have forgotten to tell the pair of 20 something hipsters who routinely took over the hallway in my hotel room floor yelling  on top of their lungs for no apparent reason before playing some kind of grappling game with each other, somehow it felt cool to bump into the Korean version of Beavis&Butthead though 

     I will not miss it here when I leave

    I repeat that to myself in my homeland at least 20 times a day, it’s my personal manthra to  sail through the day 

  • bumfromkorea

    It blows my mind that someone can spit on a complete stranger’s face, and proceed to think that it is a kind of behavior that can be flaunted around like a badge of honor. I’m still trying to figure out if he’s just an incredible douche, or if he’s just one of those people who think he’s the king of whatever foreign country he’s stuck in.

    Of course, the two are not mutually exclusive.

  • Cm

     If you look carefully, you’ll see cars with lots of dents and scratches.  I think that has more to do with trying to squeeze into tight parking lots, or trying to squeeze into tiny spaces, rather than the accidents. 

  • hoju_saram

    Haha, hardly a gangster, although my bike did look pretty nasty – it was a real low-rider that seemed to get vandalised every few months but never died. I used to love riding around the countryside on weekends, and there’s no faster way to rip around a congested city than on a 125 with no plates ;) People complain about the cops, but on the odd occasions I got pulled over I would apologise and they would grunt and wave me on. You had to be pretty careful of Korean drivers though, there seems to be a fairly brutal pecking order on the road: if you’re a bike-rider, you give way or get run over. I have a really vivid memory of a scottish fire-brand friend riding with me and getting rail-roaded out of his lane. True to form he tried to kick the taxi driver’s quarter panel in as they were flying down the road, but got his boot stuck in the guy’s windscreen wiper. He ended up crashing his bike but managed to get a hand inside the driver window to keep clinging on and save himself, even while the driver was hitting him. I don’t think I’ve laughed as much since.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Really ? Somebody must have forgotten to tell the pair of 20 something hipsters who routinely took over the hallway in my hotel room floor yelling  on top of their lungs

    I’m happy that you found two in a country of 50 million.  

    I suppose that I should have written the “broad, applied to the overwhelming, usual, general case” alert.  Even the heavy drinking, getting drunk, and telling your boss what you think of him in soju veritas tell off is not what I’m really talking about.

    I’m talking about the do something meaningful, stand up for yourself and family and rights, get in someone’s face, I’m not going to take this anymore kind of action.  I mean “dad, you can put your suggestion on the back of the rent check” fuck off or “dad, if I wanted your opinion on this matter I’d beat it out of you.”  Someone saying to their mid-level manager who is one rung above them, “OK, then fire me.  And you best not short me my paycheck.”    Or “who are you and why do you think you have the right to tell me what to do or even  offer me your opinion in this matter?”  

    I don’t know how Koreans do it without clutching their chests all the time.  We all grew up with the “not under my roof” until we weren’t under their roofs. Who among us hasn’t told our boss to f@ck off, gone out to lunch with him, and continued the argument back at the office?  I mean, I questioned more in the military than I see Koreans do in everyday life.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Lol guys after all these fab stories i think it’s time to re-run this absolute masterpiece (one of my top 5 movies of all time):

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkmKEMQAWFw

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    The duo at Eat Your Kimchi did a better piece than Dong-a on Korean Driving late in 2012. To move away from anecdotes and impressionistic views, check the comparative OECD stats on traffic safety.    

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KFMIOLXZTCWEEJ3GF3YIAZIJ4 mightymouse

    They probably don’t have a driving culture.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6KFMIOLXZTCWEEJ3GF3YIAZIJ4 mightymouse

    I think Korea used to be #1 is traffic fatalities. Where are they now? I remember taking a cab in Jeonju. The guy drove like a maniac and nearly got into a fight on a red light when he cut off a guy motorcycle making a turn. Being a maniac and a hot head was the norm back then. 

  • ig5959292ee

     so true..

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Im not Korean, I dont tailgate. A

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Isn’t criticising that cesspool of a “philosophy” (I use the term looely) called Confucianism a no-no on MH?

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Im a dirtbag because some fucker was slamming his brakes right in front of me so that I would crash into his car? I am the dirtbag? He got off easy.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     No, not dents and scratches but messed up fenders.  There used to be guys at busy intersections in Seoul who’d do a quick repair job for 10-20 thousand won to fenders and caved in doors.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Spitting in his face was as far as I would go in this country. Id punch the dick in the face but he would probably get some crooked Korean doctor to claim that he had much worse injuries than he really did and some crooked Korean judge would buy it, since I am not Korean. I spat in his face well prepared for him to get out and assert his manhood. I did not spit and run, I waited for him to get out. He closed the door and drove off after muttering something under his nose.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    It was not a complete stranger. I was almost too intimately acquainted with his posterior.
    So no one sees anything wrong with slamming on the brakes in front of another car in order to cause an accident? Thats OK, because, I gather, the guy was Korean. Ever have someone do that to you? Repeatedly slam on the brakes so that you would crash into him?

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I drove a Tico back then.  The driver’s seat felt like a shoehorn between my shoulder blades.  I also couldn’t drive sitting straight, I had to lean to the right because my left shoulder would hit the front-left door. But, damn, that car has saved me from getting in so many traffic accidents.  I was always able to squeeze to the right when the idiot in front of me would rear-end the car ahead or when he’d fishtail on the 1/4 of an inch of snow on the road.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Based on my own observations, Beijing drivers are cautious and polite in comparison to Seoul drivers.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    People didn’t think much of bikes back then.  My buddy had an expensive Honda.  Some guy backed into it, then tried to get away but the security guard caught him. He tried to pay him off with 100 000 won, as if to insinuate that his bike was a piece of junk. One of the busted gauges was worth more than that.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Middle of the road now (pardon the pun).  More developing countries are keeping stats, a greater number of South Koreans were seat belts, and South Koreans are better (or at least more cautious) drivers than they used to be (experience or people who drive 30 000$ cars tend to be more careful than if they were driving an old beater?).  The rates are now comparable to that of the US and about 30% higher than that of Canada. 

  • bumfromkorea

    Hey, dumbass.  Find the part in this thread where I said there was nothing wrong with what that Korean guy did.  Find it, please, and I will personally take the next flight to South Korea and hand you $25,000 in cash.  Otherwise, you should probably not jump the gun and paint me as the Taeguk Flag Guard… kinda makes you look like even more of a douche, if that’s even possible at this point.

    Just what did those Koreans did to you for you to have such a chip on your shoulder?  I’m seriously concerned for the Koreans who live around you, because if you think it’s perfectly acceptable for you to spit on a stranger’s face because of the asshole brake move, then you clearly have issues that should be resolved in a therapeutic environment before all that anger manifests into something more sinister than, you know, spitting on a stranger’s face in a fit of rage.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Why would you think I have a chip on my shoulder about Koreans, specifically? I have a chip on my shoulder about humanity, in general. I just happen to live among some of the worst drivers in the world so the people who do dumb things will be Koreans. This could very well have been in the US or Europe, though Ive never seen that sort of driving there. Here, Ive had this happen to me on several times on expressways, city streets. Ive had people in rage cut in front of me simply to play this brake slamming game. Only in Korea.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Ever tried to drive in Rome or Paris ? If you want the real hard-core Serbia, Turkey and Romania are great too, especially on what they dare to call “highways” when it’s full of trucks 

    Korea look orderly in comparison 

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0b8afIyyTE0

    This is a pretty good visual of what happeend to me. The guy got off easy. But hey, look, a KOREAN gopt out to confront the guy, though this moron drove off. Maybe that Korean who went to confront him was also trying to act like a king in this country.

    Remove race and nationality from this. Driver A tried to inflict serious damage on Driver B’s property, and perhaps even physical injury, for whatever reason. Driver B gave him back a little of what he had coming. Much too little.

  • dlbarch

    SGIK,

    Duuuuude, I don’t know what’s more impressive…that you drove a Tico, or that you admitted to it!

    I can remember when people joked about the Daewoo Tico being the poor man’s Hyundai Pride (and another joke about how only a person with no pride could drive a Pride).

    On the other hand, if memory serves me correctly, the TIco paved the way for the Matiz, which was arguably Korea’s first truly “cool” car…in a city car meets rally car wannabe sort of way (and based on a design that had been rejected by Fiat no less. Ouch!).

    “큰차비켜,” baby!

    DLB

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Sure, Ive driven in Eastern Europe on 2 lane “highways” where you would have A (in some domestic crap) being overtaken  by B (in some American import, maybe a Ford) while B was simultaneously being overtaken by C (in some higher end European car like a Benz)..all while a big ass Volvo semi was bearing down on them. Korea is still worse. Here, its the incompetence and the obliviousness and the aggression that reign supreme, in Europe that sort of thing I described was done by drivers who were not in rage but who had the skill to pull it off.

  • YangachiBastardo

    Matiz and cool used in the same sentence (with a passing reference to Fiat in the process too)…now i believe in parallel universes :) 

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    I’m with Salaryman on this. Eastern Europe doesn’t compare. 

  • dlbarch

    YB,

    Aw, now don’t tell me you’re not a fan of the Cinquecento. Uffa!

    BTW, remember when everyone on MH was poo-pooing Fiat’s purchase of Chrysler a few years back, and yours truly was almost alone in holding out hope that the Fiat/Chrysler might just be a turnaround candidate?

    Yeah, me too!

    Ciao, brutto!
    DLB

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I’ve driven in France many, many times. It’s much worse in Korea. 

  • SomeguyinKorea

    I have reason to brag about it. Back then, I worked for a hagwon. I was getting paid 1.2 million won per month and I bought that car within the first few months of being here.  Nowadays, hagwon gigs pay twice as much, and you’ve got guys who don’t have a dime saved after a year here, having blown it all on booze and pizza.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    ” Nowadays, hagwon gigs pay twice as much, and you’ve got guys who don’t have a dime saved after a year here, having blown it all on booze and pizza”

    Or rather, they have nothing to show for it.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    They may pay twice as much but eeverything is so much more expensive. It ends up being a wash. Its true though that most transients here do not save much.

  • will.i.aint

    There used to be guys at busy intersections in Seoul who’d do a quick
    repair job for 10-20 thousand won to fenders and caved in doors.

    These days they like to set up on bridges – typically at a place where there is a wide shoulder.  I see them all the time on the 한강대교 in the area where you can park to visit 노들섬, on the north end of the 동작대교, as well as along the ramp leading from the southbound lane of 동부간선도로 as it mergers onto 강변북로.

    They do a surprisingly good job of matching paint colors when fixing banged up bumpers.

  • bumfromkorea

    Why would you think I have a chip on my shoulder about Koreans, specifically?

    Oh, you know, because of this:

    It was not a complete stranger. I was almost too intimately acquainted with his posterior.
    So no one sees anything wrong with slamming on the brakes in front of another car in order to cause an accident? Thats OK, because, I gather, the guy was Korean.

    How exactly did you ‘gather’ that?  

    I have a chip on my shoulder about humanity, in general.

    Oh god, the self-labeling misanthrope again?  I haven’t heard something like that since the goths in my old high school.  

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The whole furor seems to revolve around ethnic identities. Ive provided the vusual for what the whole episode was like. Watch the video and tell me I was over the line. He was aggressively trying to cause serious damage, I lashed out in a way that caused none but to his pride, yet I get accussed of not only being a jerk, fine, but being some kind of colonizer who wants to be king of this place which, as has been pointed out to me, is not my country: i.e. “foreigner, shut up, take it, this is Korea, you’re just a guest. If some Korean wants to smash your car, well, he’s Koreana dn this is Korea, so take it” 

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Yes, because Korean cars are basically 3 colors: White, black, silver. Whats so hard about matching colors?

  • will.i.aint

    Whats so hard about matching colors?

    If you are asking this question – that means you have never done any spot repairs on a vehicle that required matching paint.

    Suffice it say, it requires a lot of experience and skill to do it properly.

  • bumfromkorea

    You. Were. Over. The. Line.  

    Seriously, what kind of a person *SPITS* in a stranger’s face?  Even as a retaliatory act, at best that makes you an asshole just like the guy who did the asshole brake move.  Would you consider doing that at where you grew up without expecting a serious, legal ramification?  No?  

    There’s your answer, your majesty.

  • bumfromkorea

    And please, find the place in this thread where I said anything similar to “foreigner, shut up, take it, this is Korea, you’re just a guest. If some Korean wants to smash your car, well, he’s Koreana dn this is Korea, so take it”, oh Strawman King of the Koreanaland.  The $25,000 in person offer still stands.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    3 colors…match white to white, black to black, silver to silver.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    The world doesnt revolve around you (because it revolves around me). I wasn’t talking about you specifically, but about all the people voicing objections to what I did.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Where I grew up I would have gone much farther than just spitting.

  • bumfromkorea

    Oh okay.  So you grew up in Somalia.  Gotcha.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    No, try again. I grew up in a place where you were held accountable for your actions and did not hide behind age, status in the hive order, or a crooked judge, and where if you pulled dangerous crap you had crap come back to you.

  • bumfromkorea

    Visit where you grew up, and try spitting in the face of someone who pissed you off.  See what the nearest police officer does to you, you imbecile.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    You know, I’ve written back home to friends several times about Koreans’ driving habits and car culture.  Years ago I concluded that what is really needed here is some road rage.  I don’t mean the hissy fits that I’ve heard talked about but some good ol’ fashioned whoop ass.

    I’ve often said that the reason the cars drive like this on the roads, against pedestrians, and around children is that the law does noting and no one here gets out and beats someone’s ass.  In the U.S. we have both.

    In explaining to Koreans the dangers of driving recklessly with to Koreans in the U.S., I’ve told them that if you approach American pedestrians or especially American children in your vehicles of mass destruction, an American father, who by simple qualifier of being American connotes that he is twice your size, will kick your ass.  If you do make a brain cramp mistake, send a quick signal that you made a mistake.  

    I know that I’ve heard that bigger is always at fault against smaller here, but the settlements seem hardly compensatory let alone deterring.  I know some like the Korean system, but I don’t see Korean law providing adequate protection for my children while they walk in parking lots.  

    I often explain that I like to think that Americans care about the human suffering that they might cause, but the fact of the matter might be so simple as that they don’t want to lose their houses and incomes for the rest of their lives.  Unless you can show that a pedestrian dropped out of the sky in front of your car and you had no way to stop, if you hit a pedestrian you’re wrong, and you will lose your house.

    We, and especially I, have my problems with Salman, but if the situation is as he says it was, who hasn’t had enough of this?  

  • ecw73

    According to the measures here, Eastern Europe tends to have higher traffic-related death rates than South Korea:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_traffic-related_death_rate

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    We? LOL. Thats the thing. There is NO personal responsibility here. You do something dumb, your shielded from the consequences. People drive like idiots because why shouldnt they? What is anyone going to do about it? Endagering people ON PURPOSE should be an invitation to receiving a beatdown. I know, I know, thats so stone age, but it works. It has always worked to keep people in check, until we started to remove the very idea of personal responsibility from our cultures. Supposedly this is more civilized, but I doubt that. And if it is, I say this civilization has taken a wrong turn.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    you’re not your.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Um…there are many countries in EE….did you take an average?

  • http://profiles.google.com/dcmusicfreak DC Musicfreak

    Some tallies have Poland and the Czech Republic with worse stats than Korea. Per capita deaths make Korea look better; deaths per miles driven puts Korea near the bottom. 

  • ecw73

     In all three of the measures on that page, Eastern Europe tends to have higher traffic-related death rates. The deaths per distance driven measure ranks fewer countries than the other measures, presumably because this is harder to measure. It ranks about 40 countries – basically Western Europe, North America, a few Middle Eastern countries, Brazil, and South Korea. South Korea has the 10th highest death rate per distance driven according to this measure. Most of the Eastern European countries that were measured have a higher death rate per distance driven.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    EE Europe also lacks the sort of infrastructure Korea has. Look, its pretty hard to have accidents on the sort of expressways Korea has. EE, unfortunately, makes do with 2 lane roads masquerading as highways. It really says very little about the drivers simply to compare these statistics.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Inflation doesn’t account for everything.  2.4 million comes to 80 000 won everyday of the month. Someone who has no family to support should be able to save nearly 50% of that.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     I hadn’t noticed any of those guys in years.  I’m surprised they are still around since most people take relatively good care of their cars nowadays and so are likely to get the car insurance involved. 

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    I agree. But its one of the things. Have wages kept pace with inflation in EFL? The biggest problem is probably the people who just dont bother saving anything.

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Did you grow up in a place where people still drive cars with a standard transmission because what could have happened is that the guy stalled his car.  I see it all the time.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Dude, the rate of traffic fatalities by 100 000 is now nearly identical in the US and South Korea (between 12 and 13 per 100 000).

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Yes, but I think population density plays a role.  Case in point, in Canada we have nearly 6 months of winter and two-lane highways are the norm, and yet the fatality rate per 100 000 is 2/3 of that of South Korea and the US. 

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Yeah, he stalled the car several times in about 10 second span. And do brake lights come on when you stall a car? SUUUUUUURE

  • ecw73

    Traffic fatalities per capita are similar in the US and South Korea, but this measure is only useful if the driving rate is similar. Is the percentage of South Koreans that drive similar to the American percentage?

  • will.i.aint

    If you don’t pay close attention . . . you can easily get them mixed up with the guys selling 성인용품 out of their vans.  They tend to set up shop in the same places. :-)

  • http://www.bcarr.com/ Brendon Carr

    Where I grew up, people don’t needlessly escalate conflict, because one or both parties may be armed.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    That’s another good reason to stay in check, the MAD (mutually assured destruction) policy.

    I really don’t know, but I have this idea that the wild west wasn’t quite so wild as people think.  I think that people might have even been more polite.  In a world wear everyone is packing heat, when two guys bumped into each other, there was probably a lot of “excuse me”, “no, excuse me” going on.

    I first got this idea a few years back when I went for a weekend to Atlanta with my girlfriend.  My gf and another guy’s gf got into some heated argument over I have no idea what.  I remember looking at the guy, who was my size and seemed to share a similar fondness for the gym, and pointed at him, “are you cool?”  He put up his hands palms out, “I’m cool.”  I did the same thing, “I’m cool too.”  I remember thinking that the best case scenario would be that my hand would really hurt, and it was all down hill from there.

    I was not too pleased with her and explained to her that you two might get in some kitten fight, but I’d be the one who would have to roll around with that guy.  It dawned on me how peace was maintained in the wild west, how an uneasy balance was struck between the U.S. and U.S.S.R., and now how they keep it quiet in Mizzou.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Is that common or what? Women starting things and expecting their man to finish them?
    The Wild West was not so wild, but you actually sound like you may be accepting the idea that there may be a way other than under a State.

  • SalarymaninSeoul

    Half right, you mean people dont needlessly START conflicts because the escalation may prove fatal.

  • Hardy and Tiny

    I get along just fine driving in Seoul, I like the way Koreans drive. The one things that bothers me is when I’m walking cars always cut me off but when I’m driving walkers always cut me off – I haven’t completely figured out the protocol yet. In general if you just go with the flow everything is fine.  I’m happy to see there aren’t as many fights as there used to be. It’s stupid to get excited about some asshole who wants to drive fast and cut off other cars or whatever, just let them go, it’s their problem.

  • Hardy and Tiny

    “blowing through stop signs and red lights, totally ignoring speed limits, ajusshi hazard light parking in a traffic lane so he can run in and get a pack of smokes and a bottle of soju, driving down the wrong way of one-way streets, driving on sidewalks”I love the fact that you can do these type of things in Korea and not get a ticket. I don’t drive like a lunatic but I often go down a street the wrong way when I can see it’s not going to cause a problem. I also like being able to creep through red lights when there’s no one around, ya know? It’s 11:00 PM and there’s no one in sight, why wait at the light? Sometimes it’s very convenient to park on a sidewalk and I’ll do that as long as it isn’t harming anyone else. Maybe the guy needed a cigarette and a drink, take it easy, just go around.

  • Hardy and Tiny

    Years ago back in the states I jammed on my brakes a few times to some asshole who had cut me off or something. Why did the guy do that? For no reason?  In any case I stay away as much as possible from getting physical with Koreans in Korea, ya can’t win, better to just blow that type of shit off.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Well, then…But spitting on him? Come on.

  • SomeguyinKorea

     Besides, was he acting like that out of the blue?  What happened before he started acting like a dick?

  • SomeguyinKorea

    Well, it depends on the situation. What’s a couple of million won in fines and blood money when that person threatened your family? Consider it an investment. 

  • Anonymous_Joe

    Sometimes it’s very convenient to park on a sidewalk and I’ll do that as long as it isn’t harming anyone else. Maybe the guy needed a cigarette and a drink, take it easy, just go around.

    Was that you?

  • will.i.aint

     Like I said ~ you obviously have never done it before.  Enough said.

  • Django

    Seoul intersection illustrates Korea`s poor driving culture http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2013010249818
    Constant blaring of horns honking, Roads in chaos, Line of cars tailing each other(to avoid missing traffic signal), Taxi’s honking and cutting in front of lined-up cars, Motorcycles suddenly cutting in, Pedestrians almost getting ran over, Illegal U-turns, Poor driving habitsIgnoring traffic police, No blinkers, Meter-long skid marks, Drivers rolling down their windows yelling at each other, Motorcycles waiting in crosswalks with pedestrians, Motorcycle tipping over to avoid a bus turning left, Load on the motorcycle falling on road temporarily paralyzing traffic, Motorcycles going on red lights to get head-start, Car drivers not going on green in fear of hitting motorcycles, Cars ignoring or running red lights, Cars speeding late at night, Sudden slamming on brakes on yellow lights, Sudden braking to avoid accidents, Tailgating and violation of stop lines.

  • Wedge1

    Driving here can be a lot of fun if you accept the mystery. I used to challenge myself on how quickly I could get home every day from work. It was way better than playing some wimpy video game. It only sucked when I went back to the States and had to tone down my new habits after getting honked at and flipped off a couple of times. I mean, who said that three car lengths in front of your car is yours?

  • Joeseoulman

    There is definitely a hierarchy in car status. I saw it when I bought a new Audi after driving a Daewoo. The bubble around the car is bigger, and fewer people honk at you when you are the first car in a right lane (and the car behind you wants to turn right).  The fact that I’d noticed such behavior was the main reason I decided to buy a German car in the first place. 

    However, the bigger car in an accident is not always deemed at fault. That is just ridiculous to even insinuate that it would be Korean Law.  In an accident both parties are not deemed equally at fault. Often both drivers are generally found to be partially responsible for simply being on the road. However, 80/20 or 90/10% fault split is common. I was rear-ended and it was found to be 100% the fault of the car that hit me, and pushed me into the car in front, and that car into the car in front of her. Since we were all stopped and he didn’t, it was all his fault. 

  • Joeseoulman

    I think tinted windows are a factor in this. If people could actually be seen when acting like an asshole, perhaps they would act a little less poopy.

  • Anonymous_Joe

    However, the bigger car in an accident is not always deemed at fault. That is just ridiculous to even insinuate that it would be Korean Law. 

    I read the bigger vs. smaller somewhere.  I think the U.S. Embassy’s website.  It also seems consistent with the Korean principal that whoever causes the most damage in a fight, regardless of self-defense or who started it, is at fault.

    In an accident both parties are not deemed equally at fault. Often both drivers are generally found to be partially responsible for simply being on the road. However, 80/20 or 90/10% fault split is common. I was rear-ended and it was found to be 100% the fault of the car that hit me,

    True story:  I worked with a waegukin who legally parked his car in a marked spot in his apartment’s parking lot.  A driver in another vehicle hit his legally parked car while my waegukin friend was outside of his legally parked, locked vehicle.  There was minor damage, and they filed a report.  The insurance covered it.  Months later, he got a rate hitk, and when he asked why, the insurance company said that they had found him 50% at fault.