Sunday, April 29, 2007

Driving the Rules out the Window

When I get into the back of a taxi, I have to pray I'll make it alive at my destination.

Beijing drivers are some of the craziest ones around. They are constantly jockeying for position, even if it means straddling lanes, driving on the shoulder or weaving in and out of lanes.

In the last few days I thought I'd have a heart attack -- more than once in one trip! The taxi driver wiggled his Jetta within inches of cars around him. And when he successfully got out of a tight spot, he'd turn around and look at me with a smirk of satisfaction on his face.

And I was trying to look calm and collected but inside thinking, "I didn't come half way around the world to die in a car accident!"

It's not just taxi drivers who do these crazy maneuvers -- everyone behind the wheel of a car does it. And if they want you to get out of the way, they honk you until you move. And some do a left hand turn into on-coming traffic without waiting for the cars to go by first. Such is the driving culture here.

People have asked me if I have a driver's license. I tell them I do, but I'd never drive here! I think I'd get into an accident the first day. No -- make that the first 10 minutes.

I'll just leave the driving to the experts... I think.

1 comment:

ks said...

october 06 on our way from xin gang to beijing we saw a very serious accident on the highway. blood was spread on the road side. on my way back from downtown beijing to the airport , i saw another one , a less serious one. china needs education for the masses. as the 08 olympics nears this appears more urgent.