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Dear Korean Drivers

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John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Dear Korean Drivers
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Dear Korean drivers, I have been driving for 5 years now is Korea, and finally, I have gone mad. That  said, I would like to share with you some driving tips before I go GTA on you.

1) When merging it is okay to approach the speed limit and blend in with the traffic. There is no need to stop, wait, and then proceed to bother everyone. You can do this by simply speeding up on the on-ramp and merging like it is supposed to be done. If you are on the road, please take the lane furthest away from the on-ramp and allow other drivers to do the same as above. I know you all love traffic jams but you surely will be in a car accident a few minutes later and will have all the time in the word to  relax so merge with some speed please.

2) Regarding accidents, perhaps since Korea is one of the worst driving countries in all of the developed world, and more children die in car accidents than any other way, you should learn to use baby seats or just seatbelts even. I know you love your kid but letting them hang out their windows while driving a 4 wheeled guillotine around is probably not the best way to show you care. So show them you care and make safety a priority.

3) And as for your own safety, I know all you adults love watching gag shows that are as funny as a dead baby on your GPS/TV's but, again, considering the driving record here in Korea, perhaps it is best not to watch TV while driving. I know you were watching TV at work and you don't want to miss anything, but your home is just 5km away-or 90 minutes-so please just wait until you get to the pork restaurant to start watching again. Also, please stop talking on your phone while driving. I love doing 30 in a 60, I really do, but some others behind me may not so show a little consideration for others and at least approach doing the speed limit.

4) Parallel Parking. How many first generation Korean drivers does it take to parallel park? None, they learn this the second generation. So do not even try to do this. Just pull in head first and leave your butt hanging out so people can't get by. I love that. Why inconvenience yourself when you can just not care about others. Brilliant. Every great country is founded by this very principle. I also reccomend double parking as paying a dollar at the parking lot that is surely just 10 seconds away is a waste and forget parking around  the corner. You can't miss anything that is on TV. So park wherever and not care. This shows great confidence. I wish I could do this. Point for Korea.

5) When turning off a street, try actually turning from the right lane if turning right and not from two lanes. Just a suggestion. Again, I love the narcissism here and not caring that you are blocking a lot of people behind you, but by slowing down in the left lane just a little and then turning so you dont have to slow down more is kind of harmful to the 3483973973957 other cars trying to get wherever. So please, get into the right lane, slow down and turn. Dont slow down just a little and turn from the left lane. I know, you were told by your parents that you were special and could do whatever you wanted without thinking about other people but I am just asking you try this.

6) When driving on the highway and even on city streets, the left lane is for people who want to drive the speed limit. It is not a lane for first class customers who want to leisurely get from A to B. That said, if you are approaching a light and there is a lane free, you do not need to pull into that lane if after the light turns green you are going to drive 20km under the speed limit. Guess what, others will just pass you and go into that lane anyway. Stay in your lane and follow 50 feet back from the car in front of you as you do. Thanks.

7) Ajjumas-what can I really say here?

8) Lastly, you guys break every other law so if the light is green and you are wanting to turn and see no cars coming, turn for the love of God. I admire the patience but some of these lights here in Korea take forever and are set up at turtle crossings in the middle of nowhere so just go.

 

So that is it for now. If you have any other tips for drivers here feel free to share them. It is never to late to learn how to drive-as we have seen here. Good luck.

BusanGuy
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Joined: 08/16/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

A good thought, however could have been said with far less words. Cute satire but a bit redunRant.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Always a critic. This was just for fun. I love that there are rules that people don't follow. Gets me to work in 15 minutes instead of 25. Try driving like I do here back home. I would be without a license in a week. Drive fast, have fun, but be smart!. Happy travelling.

Calicoe
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Joined: 01/21/2012
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Hahahaha - love your list.   We should add:  speeding through a crosswalk while pedestrians are still crossing the road.   It would definitely be helpful, if they could find the time, not to do that, lol.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

You are right. I totally missed that one. A sign turning reen for a pedestrian means wait 10 more seconds for  all the cars running the red light to pass. Nice one Calicoe.

Travis Kemp
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Joined: 12/21/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

i agree fully, driving in korea was a chore. but driving in KL now thats a catastrophy

dude777
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Joined: 04/08/2012
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

I do tend to believe a Korean friend of mine who reminds me cars and ownership of cars is a recent thing - and yes, I am pretty sure Americans and Europeans were rubbish in the early days. (And let's be fair, you can still meet some truly awful and dangerous drivers in these countries).
 

Think with Korea the thing that gets me is the almost 100% tunnel vision approach to driving. Look, there is my side road to turn into - I will just turn and not even consider the oncoming car or pedestrians halfway across the junction.

You see this everywhere. Watch how people crowd the bottom floor elevator entrance, then look genuinely shocked when they barge into those people who (rightly) expect them to be standing aside so they can leave. It happens every time and I even see the same workers do this day after day. 

Another great one is the belief putting the hazard lights on means you can park anywhere. Although again, to be fair, many drivers feel this way in European cities too - especially mothers dropping off their kids at school.

So maybe it just needs time. Although the tunnel vision approach is unique and as dangerous as it can get. 

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

The hazards one made me laugh. A friend of mine and I joke about this all the time. We do the mock sorry hand raise like Seinfeld did when joking about this. That said, that is another one as well. The people who cut in front of you and put on the harzards like they are sorry or saying thank you. Sure, you really care. You dont even have the courtesy to ask to cut me off-you just do it but are thankful for that?

And you are absolutely right about the drivers. This is a first generation group of drivers. Most of us on here watched our parents drive our whole lives before we got behind the wheel. Here, they learn how to "drive" at a school.

The other problem with drivers here of course is simply the mentality of Korea. It is a very individualistic country. You do what you want. Make noise in your apartment. Let your kids run around restaurants. Do whatever you want in your car. This is Korea. Part of the charm actually. I love people dont bother you here, but I do wish there was a little more mindfullness regarding the people around you. But other Koreans dont care about that so all good. It is their country. Happy motoring.

Droid
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Joined: 06/15/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

I've been driving here for 8 years. Have you seen the one where they pull up to an intersection and are turning right but put their left turn signal on? You missed one of the more dangerous one's as well... driving at night with no lights on and many cars seems to have nonfunctioning brake lights. The one you mentioned about turning right from 2-3 lanes over to the left... I especially like it when buses do that. 2 things you may not have known about. In regards to TV watching. They had actually passed a law that stated taxi drivers were not allowed to watch tv while driving. The drivers got together and challenged that law... successfully! Welcome to ass backwards world! The second thing, if you can believe the balls on these people, the taxi drivers had petitioned the government to allow them to drink a certain amount of soju WHILE ON DUTY because they worked long  hours and didn't have enough time to get drunk afer work. Amazingly, they lost that one. To me, something the drivers surely could not fathom, the government should have used that list to revoke every taxi licence from every person on the list.

robertpusan64
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Joined: 03/28/2011
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

well drivers in korea  basiclly just look ahead they do not look behind them if you are behind them they think you should stop      they do not use the mirrors of the cars   they do not  keep the space distance that will allow cars to stop so you can see many rear end jobs traffoc laws are more or less enforces by cameras not police cars driving in traffic  however one good things is police stop all cars to see if someone is drunk driving this is a great thing   However taxis stop suddenly and people walk in street randomly   so i take advange of koreas  great public transportation system    also finding parking in pusan is very hard and expensive    i heard this excuse in many countries people drivie selfishly and recklessly due to no car culture  i mean   20 years ago korea did not have many private cars only the very rich had one  its just an excuse  and a bad one    if someone thinks like that they neeed to put on a daiper until they grow up and be mature  a car in the wrong hands is a deadly weapon   driving is a  privilege not a right   all this being said if a driver hits a person walking in korea the law is very strict must more then in on usa       when i was a high school student  i took a drivers Ed class we watched the movie red asphalt     the teacher even took it one more step   he took us to a morgue where the bodies of people killed in car crashes go .  showed us to shock us we were shoocked   but u know    a few months later one class mate got a sportscar for his 16 the birthday and a few months later hit and a power pole ater drinking and died .   people need to remember that driving is a privilege not a right and drive as if people walking on the street or in the other cars are their family members or friends  . Then  driving would be nice  

mattsid
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Joined: 09/15/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Driving here is fun. It's like a real life video game with no lives.

shiner
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Joined: 08/04/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

http://koreajoongangdaily.joinsmsn.com/news/article/article.aspx?aid=2952309

This happened on Tuesday. A 25-ton truck plowed through a group of cyclists training for an upcoming event, instantly killing 3 women and severely injuring 4 others. They had a safety van following them but the truck hit the van so hard that it rammed it 100 meters into the cyclists. Why? The truck driver was watching TV (DMB) on his dashboard. 

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Brutal! It is amazing that the government does not crack down on people who are watching TV, using phones, or have kids moving around the car when driving. I like driving here because there are no police to worry about but when you are leading the pack in car accidents, you would think car accidents and all the deaths attributed to them would be a priority of the government. 

mattsid
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Joined: 09/15/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

"Drivers whose BAC is between 0.1 and 0.2 percent get from six months to a year in prison or are subjected to a fine ranging from 3 million won ($2,661) to 5 million won. "

Wow. With fines that big nobody ever again will touch a drop of alcohol and drive.

robertpusan64
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Joined: 03/28/2011
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

I have a California Drivers License . I had an international Licence it has expired . You can not make an international lilicese by mail  While taking the Driving test in Korea is it possbile to take the written part of the test in English . In Calif Koreans may take the written part of the test in Korean . California offers the written part of the test in any language you may want to take it in . Korea is trying to promote itslef as being an international country and foriegn friendly country so i wonder if it is now possible to take the written part of the test in English ? thanks for information     Talking about Calif police when i was Univ student I was speeding  and the police stopped me I said Good afternoon sir .   He put his nightstick to my head and told me next time I see you speeding I will beat the shit out of you    I said thanks you sir .  He walked back to his car . He did not give me a ticket . In USa policemen are very powerful alwasy deal with them in yes sir no sir  yes maam  no maam yes officer they like power if you give them politeless they may not ticket you .   

sinparam
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Joined: 03/08/2011
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

I have a California Drivers License . I had an international Licence it has expired . You can not make an international lilicese by mail  While taking the Driving test in Korea is it possbile to take the written part of the test in English . In Calif Koreans may take the written part of the test in Korean . California offers the written part of the test in any language you may want to take it in . Korea is trying to promote itslef as being an international country and foriegn friendly country so i wonder if it is now possible to take the written part of the test in English ? thanks for information     Talking about Calif police when i was Univ student I was speeding  and the police stopped me I said Good afternoon sir .   He put his nightstick to my head and told me next time I see you speeding I will beat the shit out of you    I said thanks you sir .  He walked back to his car . He did not give me a ticket . In USa policemen are very powerful alwasy deal with them in yes sir no sir  yes maam  no maam yes officer they like power if you give them politeless they may not ticket you

Man what's up with your periods (or lack thereof) and spacing between sentences? Can't you use punctuation the least bit properly?

Alright, I'll give you free grade one English lessons. After a sentence has ended, you put a period (.). And then you press the "space" key so that there is a space between the period which ended your last sentence and the new sentence you just began.

Droid
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Joined: 06/15/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

" I like driving here because there are no police to worry about" You do understand that is the number one reason why driving here is so bad? Th police don't do there job. It's the reason for many shitty things that go on here. When people back home go on about driving laws being too strict, I tell them to  come to Korea. You'll get a good example of what happens when the police don't enforce driving laws.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Yes Droid. I do understand the lack of police doing there jobs is a problem. But having witnessed my parents drive from a young age and now personally driving for over 20 years I do not need police to make me a safe driver. So I like the lack of police handing out tickets.

There are many issues here. One problem here is this country are all first time drivers-new if you will. They learn from a lame school hell-bent on making money and that is it. I talk to my wife about certain things like the left lane for faster cars and  so on and she never learnt this. Also, phones and people watching TV are big problems. On top of this, the attitude people here can do whatever they want and not care about their neighbors puts things over the top. Mind's here are so one dimensional but with driving you must be keenly aware of what is happening around you. Many Korean drivers lack this skill. They see what is in front only. Depth perception is a skill developed when young but most dont realize a space does not mean it is empty when a car covering a certian amount of space per second will be there soon. They just move. So I think there are many problems here with regards to driving well. It is not just the police that is for sure.

 

robertpusan64
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Joined: 03/28/2011
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Tks   but  eye know dat .   Problem is that my computer is old and jams and if i press caps button too much its goes to korean mode              Another thing is I use phone to write sometimes .  And another thing is that when writting part of my screen is  covereed by some spam so i can not see what i wrote to I can not correct it .  All that being said writting is an art  not using pereouds   can be seen seen as some kind of a style making the writing wacky wonderful winning  bright brilliant brave boyish   writiting is an art like a painting   not all should be the same     anyone with a high school education can write a nice blog or essay or poem but its more then dat to make the stars shimmering sparkling stunning  supersunny  sonic   

crudler
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Joined: 04/03/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Korea is trying to promote itslef as being an international country and foriegn friendly country so i wonder if it is now possible to take the written part of the test in English ? thanks for information

 

It is possible to take the test in Konglish.  If you're familiar with Konglish, you can probably figure out enough of the questions/answers to get a passing score, though there are a few questions that are incomprehensible.

teachkorea21
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Joined: 05/24/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

I took the Driving test in English, but the questions did not all make sense...

 

Today driving to work, was cut off by a woman driving a huge "minivan"

She cut off the guy in front of me by turning left into traffic without a light, just turning in front of a car coming strait down the road, and when I went into the right lane she eased over as if she was going to take them both and drive straddling the center line down the road. I eased over and pulled up beside her and guess what...

SHE WAS ON THE FREAKING PHONE!!!!!

I hate driving in California because so many laws are no longer enforced and it has become pretty freakin embarrassing, but Korea is just bumper cars...

Did you see the news were the woman in the big black car ran down a schoolgirl in the school yard... and accelerated when she hit her cause she was freaking out...

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

One of the most fascinating things about drivng here is people just expect others to get out of their way.Driving, walking-whatever. I am coming and I am so special so out of my way. I wish I could drive like I walk here and just run into people who are too special to look where they are going. Sad about the school girl. The number one way children die in Korea is being hit by cars or being in a car accident. Pretty sad! This stat was from a couple years ago, though. Not sure if it is still true but hard to believe this would change with more cars than ever on the roads here.

Droid
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Joined: 06/15/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

"Not sure if it is still true but hard to believe this would change with more cars than ever on the roads here." Nope not true at all. It's actually sadder. Number one cause of death for Koreans between the age of 10 and 39 is suicide. However, according to statistics, you are 3 times more likely to die by car than in the US.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

Interesting stat. I think Korea leads all OECD member countries in suicide. Personally, though, I was referring to children-car accidents is the number one way children die in South Korea. I think I said that. Maybe not. But suicide is another social ill that needs to be adressed here. It is definately a huge problem.

robertpusan64
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Joined: 03/28/2011
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

the cold hard facts  is that most people in korea dont care about the traffic driving issues . If they idid they would follow the traffic laws but do they ?  if they cared they would pressure the goverment to have the police inforce the laws .They would pressu pressure the government to raise taxes to hire more police . Korea has one of the lowest police ratio to populationion   When Koreans want to do something they can do it fast . Koreans are bright  fastworking hardworking and clever . I solves the IMP  problem very fast . A few weeks ago some cow in usa was shown to have mad cow within hours  usa beef was no longer beieg sold in korea . What people have mentioned about the traffic may be true but to most people in korea its simply not that important otherwise they would follow the traffic laws and solve this issue    

dude777
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Joined: 04/08/2012
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

The problem is Robert, that 'not caring' shows lack of manners and common sense. You have to care when moving around in a heavy metal box or on a motorcycle which oh, so easily can kill. What does it say about a person if they don't care?

There can be no reason at all for driving at breakneck speed on sidewalks on motorcyles, as I have witnessed many times. One clown must have missed me by inches - and he came at me from behind, meaning I was totally unprepared. One move by me.....I shudder to think what would have happened.
 

Doing things fast invariably gives quality issues - and there were buildings collapsing in Seoul due to this, with many casaulties. At our apartment complex the wallpaper was not stripped or cleaned off, the new paper just placed over the old paper. Proud workers stand having done 50 apartments in less than a week....they are now back 6 months later due to peeling paper and serious issues with fungus, grime and mould. It is not impressive and is a huge waste of money. 

Maybe all we need to get through is that person you are about to mow down or drive off the road could indeed turn out to be a friend or relative?

In fact, with all the points you raise, maybe we should all just slow down a bit!!

 

 

 



 

 

 

Travis Kemp
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Joined: 12/21/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

saw this article in the star newspaper down in kuala lumpur.  the case of the taxi drivers winning the right to watch tv in their cars came to mind.

its inexcusable. there is no reason. as with the video i saw of dogs being dragged behind cars in seoul and busan. the punishment for stupidity should fit the crime. if he doesn't take himself out of the gene pool someone else should do it.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

"Koreans are bright  fastworking hardworking and clever" according to Robert. Some, perhaps, but most run around the track like a horse with blinders on with no clue that what they are doing has an impact on others. This is the opposite of being bright and clever in my books. If people stopped at a red light instead of trying to "make it" and then getting stuck in the middle of the intersection, thus, blocking everyone going the other direction, traffic would flow. This saves time. But during rush hour, intersections are  always blocked with cars. This is total nonsense. You make one light but then at the next 2 lanes has turned into one because some car was trying to make the light. So now you are behind in time. Being not only aware of what is going on around you but also courteous to other drivers is something worth caring about. Saying they just dont care is not true. I think they dont do just that, think. Clueless drivers does not mean they do not care. Ignorace and arrogance play a bigger role here.

Sweatcold
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Joined: 08/22/2010
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

There's a reason I won't ever drive in Korea--I'm far too observant and the stress would age me by a year every month. 

Surprised the original poster forgot to mention the "Warning; approaching photo radar zone" signs, thereby rendering the concept of photo radar completely useless.  They really should just install speed bumps every 15 metres in Korea.  That's the only way to reduce traffic accidents.

John Venerikson
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Joined: 08/13/2009
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

LOL Ya, and then people slow down to 40 in a 60 zone. And as for speed bumps-I dont think there could be anymore of them already. Up Dalmaji Hill, from the MacDonalds to Starface, there are 17 of them. Drive around the country and in the middle of nowhere there is a speedbump-and a traffic light for cows I surmise. But there are no cows. Very strange! People always say, throw logic out the window when questioning things here and just accept it. Pretty much true.

Panamajoe
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Joined: 05/08/2012
Re: Dear Korean Drivers

My first post here.

I was warned that driving here would be very scary and dangerous.  I find it a bit challenging but not particularly scary or dangerous.

I lived in Panama City, Panama  (Central America) and learned what scary and dangerous really is. They had an amazingly high death rate due to traffic accidents that was 50% PEDESTRIANS!

My head is on a swival, I drive for everyone around me, and have been able to deal with crappy skills, agressive drivers mindless drivers for the last 18 months.  This is great practice for good drivers to "watch out for the other guy".  It isn't fun but is much easier to deal with than the Panamanian "super agressive" style.

Thanks for the forum!

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