Death on the roads!

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One of the re-occuring issues we faced in China was dealing with absolutely terrible drivers. Taxi drivers were the usual culprits, but the occasional bus driver would drive like a maniac as well. For the Chinese, there is no comprehension of ‘waiting in line.’ Most people thinks this just applies to Chinese people queing – but not so! When in a vehicle, if the vehicle draws up close to another vehicle it does not attempt to just match its speed and follow, it must try and go around.

A sign in China used to try and discourage vehicle horns.

A sign in China used to try and discourage vehicle horns.

The Chinese use their vehicle horns like a warning beacon rather than to tell someone off. They use them almost constantly, so much so that it is common for areas to put up signs to try and discourage it. Of course in true Chinese style these are completely ignored.

To their credit, most of the drivers seem to have the reflexes of a computer gamer on steroids. They duck and weave in and out of traffic expertly, having their poor customers holding on for dear life in the backseat. Of course if you go to put your seat belt on – unless you’re in the front seat, you’re out of luck as most of the time they are hidden by a cloth seat cover and completely unusable. If you are in the front seat and put it on, you’re guaranteed to get an offended look from the driver, you’re basically saying to him, “Correct! I do question your driving ability!”

While in the back seat of a particularly bad taxi, I would always be thinking of the stats. To my knowledge, around 50 people a day were reportedly killed(reportedly – ie what the government deems alright to make public) in car accidents. Then today I read this!

Beijing – The number of deaths in road traffic accidents fell to just over 200 per day in China in 2008, down 10 per cent from the previous year, the government said Sunday. Police nationwide recorded 265,204 accidents that resulted in 73,484 deaths and 304,919 injuries last year, the Ministry of Public Security said a report posted on its website.

The number of road deaths was down 10 per cent from 2007, falling to just over 201 per day after peaking at nearly 300 per day about five years ago.     source

Over 200! And that’s just deaths! Imagine how many people are actually being injured on a daily basis. We saw many people lying by the wayside, a huge group of people spectacting around them, obviously the victim of some kind of vehicle accident.

China has over 1.3 billion people – climbing by the day. With cars absolutely booming, sharing the road with a gazillion trucks, bicycles, scooters and pedestrians – all of which move completely randomly and independent of any lane markers or signage – good luck out there!

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One Response to “Death on the roads!”

  1. shishir Says:

    we too have that problem in India with a lot of cases happening with blueline of New Delhi but that has to be tackled and it always come with progress and development.

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