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Driving Me Crazy

Rented a motorcycle to get around Danang, with the full understanding that the “normal” rules of driving do not apply in Vietnam. You know, quaint little Western ideas like “right of way, my lane, or one-way street.”

Things regarded as “common sense” in the West, are not only absent here, but dangerous. For example, regard for what is behind is of no consequence. The ideas of shoulder-checking, using the mirrors, or turnsignals, are completely foreign, unnecessary, and even dangerous. 100% focus on what is ahead is required.

The whole process is organic, more like ants or bloodcells, there is neither judgment nor anger in it. But for a Westerner like me, there is considerable stress and anxiety. My instincts are all wrong. I am too cautious, and caution is dangerous here. It sounds like a contradiction but its true. In an organic system, hesitation is counterproductive. You never see ants or bloodcells have a head on collision do you? No, they just go where they’re going.

For example: at a four-way intersection without stop lights, there is no yielding to whoever was there first. No one even stops, everyone goes all at once, weaving whichever way needed to get through to the other side. By the end of the day, I’m doing it too.

I don’t believe I could ever adjust all the way to this being normal, but even in the attempt, it does shed light on the behavior of, umm, a certain group of drivers in America who always seem to change lanes without looking, then look perplexed when someone gets angry about it…

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