Motorcyclists drive on wild instinct, ignore rules

By An Thai   June 21, 2023 | 03:33 pm PT
Motorcyclists drive on wild instinct, ignore rules
Motorcycle drivers in HCMC, May 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Thanh Tung
Almost everyone in Vietnam can drive a motorbike these days. But whether or not they can use them in line with traffic laws is a totally different matter.

To be honest, many Vietnamese exhibit poor awareness of traffic regulations.

Take such a simple thing as the rear-view mirror: seven out of 10 motorbikes in Hanoi do not have proper mirrors. Drivers make various excuses from it being cumbersome to it looking unfashionable.

But the mirror is only cumbersome if you want to jostle with other vehicles, rather than sharing the road. And being safe matters more than looking good.

Many people change lanes on instinct, instead of checking their mirrors. Some turn their heads to check before crossing lanes, while speeding, which can easily cause them to lose control or crash into someone or something in front of them.

There's a similar problem with drivers licenses. If I were a cop and I stepped out there to stop people and randomly check drivers’ licenses, I’m certain only four out of 10 people would be able to produce legit ones.

Without studying to take the test, many Vietnamese drivers become a threat on the road. They break the speed limit without knowing it, they cut off other vehicles, they comfortably run red lights, turn left when it’s not allowed, and they drive on the wrong side of the street.

I saw many motorbike drivers who do not slow down one bit when they plunge onto the main road from an alley. Many don’t even slow down when making a sharp turn, as if they are alone on the street.

Then when an accident occurs, they blame the "bad Vietnamese traffic."

Many parents also let children under 18 drive a motorbike. These kids certainly do not know all the rules.

We need heavier punishments for traffic violations, and better education of traffic rules for the public. Every person needs to restrain themselves from violating traffic laws, and teach their children to do so as well.

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