The biggest fear so many people have, me included, when first coming to Vietnam is the traffic and nonsensical driving regulations. It’s both wildly exciting and utterly terrifying. At first glance, the driving seems more confusing than the US tax code, but when you boil it down, it’s not so bad.
The mentality is basically: I’m sure we can put this on a motorbike.If you haven’t yet seen pictures of the crazy things people do here: here are just some of the things that I have seen riding down the street. (A quick google image search is recommended as well). The best I have seen while driving are:
- both parents as well as 3 children on a bike (yes, 5 in total)
- various animals sitting in front
- a refrigerator
- rebar carried on a shoulder
- another motorbike on the motorbike
Over the past 9 months, I have just accepted how the traffic is one gigantic mess. But one day, after thinking about how driving works logistically, it all comes down to one simple change. Oncoming traffic yields. #mindblown
In America, aka normal traffic, incoming traffic yields. When turning left, turning right, or merging into traffic, the person turning yields to oncoming traffic. However, in Vietnam, the person who is driving in oncoming traffic yields to those who are merging. Its a small change that drastically affects driving here. And then of course all the lawbreaking that also happens on top of that. In essence, the Vietnamese are driving on the wrong side of the road, side walks, on the walls, in between cars, running reds, phasing through traffic, bouncing on cars, sleeping, talking on the phone, and all while honking like there’s no tomorrow.
Even I joined in on the fun of carrying obnoxious furniture. I bought a shelf and drove it on the back in true Vietnamese fashion.
More on Vietnam life soon,