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Why do Korean crosswalks even exist?
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fustiancorduroy



Joined: 12 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm curious how many people who've posted on this thread actually drive here in Korea. I do, and I can say that Korean drivers can be fairly aggressive, but I rarely see people running red lights at crosswalks when there are people crossing, save the overly aggressive, non-개인 taxi drivers. There are just too many traffic cameras for you to drive however you please in regard to speeding, parking on side walks, using bus lanes, and, yes, running red lights. In my first four months of driving here I received five tickets. Undoubtedly, Korean drivers who break driving laws can expect to be ticketed just as often. That doesn't mean Korean drivers are even as remotely courteous as drivers in the West, but they are hardly the chaotic barbarians that some here seem to suggest. There is a driving culture here that is different from the ones in our home countries, but it works for Korea and continues to become more "developed" all the time.
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crescent



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: yes.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the talk about manners and driving etiquette on this subject is meaningless. The issue is public safety, and civic responsibility, and of course following the rules and laws of the road. In this way, Korean driving culture mirrors the culture at large.
Things I've noticed about Korean driving habits:

1. Drivers rarely, if ever, check their blind spots. Koreans rely solely on mirrors to keep track of the traffic around them. No surprise I see lane change collisions on a regular basis.
2. Speeding through marked intersections (crosswalks) to turn right on a red light without even slowing down, or using signals. Anyone who has scarcely missed being been hit by a car in this situation more than once, raise your hand.
3. Speeding through blind intersections without slowing down or looking for oncoming traffic, cyclists, or pedestrians. Complete idiocy.
4. Not using signals to indicate turns. Isn't there a law for this?
5. Letting children jump around the car and stick their heads out the window while moving.

These things exhibit an extreme lack of reasonable care and safety for others. There is no argument for a lack of attention to safe driving habits.
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Smithington



Joined: 14 Dec 2011

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fustiancorduroy wrote:
I can say that Korean drivers can be fairly aggressive, but I rarely see people running red lights at crosswalks when there are people crossing,


Surely you jest. I see it all the time - frequently even when I'm using the crosswalk. I even see it when my young students are crossing he road in front of their elementary school.
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Savant



Joined: 25 May 2007

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The crosswalks without signals (Zebra Crossings to use Brits) are the worst to cross because it becomes a game of dares/chance to cross it.

A lot of driving problems in Korea are based on not adjusting speed to the situation on the road and unawareness of surroundings.

At Chungang University there are a lot of non-signaled crosswalks where the cars will pass you when you are actually crossing or when you are crossing you need to stop to let the car by without being knocked over.
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fustiancorduroy



Joined: 12 Jan 2007

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smithington wrote:
fustiancorduroy wrote:
I can say that Korean drivers can be fairly aggressive, but I rarely see people running red lights at crosswalks when there are people crossing,


Surely you jest. I see it all the time - frequently even when I'm using the crosswalk. I even see it when my young students are crossing he road in front of their elementary school.


Maybe it's because I work and spend a lot of time in Daechi-dong, where most of the people are more educated and have their own children, but, yes, I rarely, if ever, see people running red lights on crosswalks, even when there is nobody crossing. I must also add that in my more than six years of living here, I have not even come close to being hit by a car when I'm using a crosswalk. Granted, this is my anecdotal experience, and perhaps I'm just not very aware of these things, but I am genuinely surprised to hear about running through crosswalks being a problem. Maybe I live in a different Korea.
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sendittheemail



Joined: 15 Oct 2008

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This anti-Korean nonsense has got to stop. All of those statistics you read from Yonhap, the WHO, etc.. about Korea leading the world in traffic fatalities are all fabrications, or are based on flawed data. Crossing the streets here is perfectly safe at all times. Anyone hit by a car is obviously not following road safety rules and common sense. Those foreigners who have been hit by cars, have obviously brought that situation upon themselves, as Koreans posses a highly evolved driving ability, along with an almost endless supply of patience and humility on the roads.

Please don't try to paint Korea as a dangerous place to drive, without first acknowledging that somewhere in the world, there are more dangerous roads. For example; Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Nigeria etc. Furthermore, you have to consider that most other developed nations have been driving for a century or so, while Korea has had less than half that amount of time to develop a driving culture. It's unfair to compare Korea with places like the USA or Japan, who were already driving cars back when Koreans still farmed and lived in mud huts. Please be fair with your comparisons, and look at other countries who have only been driving for a short time.

I won't say there isn't a need to improve driving conditions, but a lot of the conventions you guys are trying to apply to Koreans (like using turn signs, or occupying one lane at a time) are basically Western conventions of politeness. You are in Korea now. Why try to force these concepts of Western politeness onto Koreans? Do Koreans come to your country, and try to tell you how to drive?
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: The joy's in the ride.

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I read some of these defenses of Korea, I'm often reminded of the phrase the soft bigotry of low expectations. Basically, aren't you saying, that we shouldn't expect such a high standard from Koreans as we would from ourselves, because they are incapable of achieving it?
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Seoulman69



Joined: 14 Dec 2009

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
This anti-Korean nonsense has got to stop...... Do Koreans come to your country, and try to tell you how to drive?


Classic post. I see what you did there sendittheemail. Wink
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2012 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fustiancorduroy wrote:
Maybe it's because I work and spend a lot of time in Daechi-dong...[m]aybe I live in a different Korea.


lol

crescent wrote:
1. Drivers rarely, if ever, check their blind spots. Koreans rely solely on mirrors to keep track of the traffic around them. No surprise I see lane change collisions on a regular basis.
2. Speeding through marked intersections (crosswalks) to turn right on a red light without even slowing down, or using signals. Anyone who has scarcely missed being been hit by a car in this situation more than once, raise your hand.
3. Speeding through blind intersections without slowing down or looking for oncoming traffic, cyclists, or pedestrians. Complete idiocy.
4. Not using signals to indicate turns. Isn't there a law for this?


Agreed and I'd add in a #5 that coasting (up to a light, down a road that isn't busy) just doesn't seem to exist as a concept here. I am big on coasting up to lights and things and it goes completely against the driving culture here. People will whip around from behind and rush ahead, honk, etc.

Blind spots is another big issue for me as a driver. As is speeding up to a blind turn. I've said before, with buildings right up to the street, it can be hard to gauge what will happen when a car flies right up to the turn on you.

I will stop short of calling Koreans uniformly bad drivers but I do feel that a lot of unnecessary risks are taken by drivers here, and very little patience is exhibited in even the most mundane situations on the road (like making a right turn onto a major road).
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crescent



Joined: 15 Jan 2003
Location: yes.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sendittheemail wrote:
All of those statistics you read from Yonhap, the WHO, etc.. about Korea leading the world in traffic fatalities are all fabrications, or are based on flawed data.

Proof?
sendittheemail wrote:
but a lot of the conventions you guys are trying to apply to Koreans (like using turn signs, or occupying one lane at a time) are basically Western conventions of politeness. You are in Korea now. Why try to force these concepts of Western politeness onto Koreans?

Politeness? Oh really? So laws such as requiring the use of turn signals and lanes are actually just suggestions of etiquette? I guess the the laws requiring headlights and license plates are just conventions promoting us accessorize our cars?

Also, the idea that Koreans have not had enough time to develop good driving habits is naive. The lack of civic responsibility in the driving culture here stems from the culture itself.

Apply this to other areas: Korea has had far less time to develop nuclear power than other nations, yet it is a world leader in plant safety and accident prevention. Koreans have also had less time to perfect plastic surgery than other nations, yet are world leaders in this industry. Then there's shipbuilding. Korea is THE world leader despite centuries of lagging far behind nations such as England and Netherlands. How about applying this concept to farming? Korea being agrarian for most of it's history still hasn't developed a competitive farming industry.
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Zyzyfer



Joined: 29 Jan 2003
Location: who, what, where, when, why, how?

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 12:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crescent wrote:
Proof?


............

Proof? We don't need no stinking proof!
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PatrickGHBusan



Joined: 24 Jun 2008
Location: Busan (1997-2008) Canada 2008 -

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They exist to annoy YOU. Yes, that's right, YOU personally and on a basic level.

All jokes aside, I found that those crosswalks were a good training ground for being aware of crazy drivers and prepared you quite well as a pedestrian in other countries with even crazier drivers!
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

crescent wrote:
sendittheemail wrote:
All of those statistics you read from Yonhap, the WHO, etc.. about Korea leading the world in traffic fatalities are all fabrications, or are based on flawed data.

Proof?
sendittheemail wrote:
but a lot of the conventions you guys are trying to apply to Koreans (like using turn signs, or occupying one lane at a time) are basically Western conventions of politeness. You are in Korea now. Why try to force these concepts of Western politeness onto Koreans?

Politeness? Oh really? So laws such as requiring the use of turn signals and lanes are actually just suggestions of etiquette? I guess the the laws requiring headlights and license plates are just conventions promoting us accessorize our cars?

Also, the idea that Koreans have not had enough time to develop good driving habits is naive. The lack of civic responsibility in the driving culture here stems from the culture itself.

Apply this to other areas: Korea has had far less time to develop nuclear power than other nations, yet it is a world leader in plant safety and accident prevention. Koreans have also had less time to perfect plastic surgery than other nations, yet are world leaders in this industry. Then there's shipbuilding. Korea is THE world leader despite centuries of lagging far behind nations such as England and Netherlands. How about applying this concept to farming? Korea being agrarian for most of it's history still hasn't developed a competitive farming industry.


Dude, I think the guy was being a bit tongue-in-cheek.

Quote:
For example; Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Tunisia, Nigeria etc.


I had to chuckle at this. I can't help but imagine some Bongo fruit truck getting IED'd by some Korean manhole cover and blasting Jeju oranges everywhere.

I can imagine it all Swordfish style, sowing panic, and yet one of the oranges manages to spray over some girl in a white t-shirt and then the slow-mo cut of her suggestively licking the juice off her lips in the finest traditions of Hollywood cheese.
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Taylormade



Joined: 31 Oct 2012
Location: Incheon

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What I don't get is parents teaching their kids unsafe road crossing habits. They will jaywalk with their kid across a busy street ten feet from a crosswalk. Wouldn't it be better to teach their children to use the crosswalk, and lobby politicians and the police to enforce traffic laws (at least in school zones). Teaching safety habits is one of the core responsibilities of a parent, and I'm sometimes flabbergasted at what I see here.
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Captain Corea



Joined: 28 Feb 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2012 6:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smithington wrote:
fustiancorduroy wrote:
I can say that Korean drivers can be fairly aggressive, but I rarely see people running red lights at crosswalks when there are people crossing,


Surely you jest. I see it all the time - frequently even when I'm using the crosswalk. I even see it when my young students are crossing he road in front of their elementary school.


Yeah, I'm with Smithington on this - I see cars blow through red lights all the time. They'll often wait until they think all of the pedestrians have passed... but that's not always the case.

And that's not even talking about the scooters/motorcycles. They often seem to want to get through before the pedestrians... or between them... or along side of them..


Last edited by Captain Corea on Thu Nov 22, 2012 10:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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