Thursday, August 19, 2010

Driving in Korea

I got my Korean drivers license a couple of weeks ago but have yet to drive anywhere except to post and back which is just a few blocks away. If we go anywhere off post, Peter drives. I'm fine driving around on post. It's just like driving in the States, maybe even better since there are M.P's all over the place, most people actually seem to drive very safely and don't go over the speed limit. Oh, the speed limit... I'll tell you about that later....
So, the written test I had to take to get my license is not that much different from the one in the U.S. Most of the rules of the road are the same, though there are a few different signs and things you need to know. There's a problem though....NONE of the Korean drivers know the rules of the road...or they just don't care! I wonder if some of the people on the road really have their licenses or if they just decided one day to jump behind the wheel! It...is...TERRIFYING!! And I got pictures to prove it.... :) While I was buckled up safely in the passenger seat of course, I didn't try and take these while I was driving, LOL!

In Korea, the red lights are just a 'suggestion'...or so they seem to be. The test I took on the rules of the said no such thing, but you wouldn't know it from watching the drivers all around you. Here we sit at a red light and watch not one, but two different vehicles run the red light. Here is the first one....
And here is the second one, who almost wasn't as lucky!...
There was almost an accident right in front of our eyes! This is just a couple of blocks from our house, we were not even in a busy part of the city. See?! It truly is terrifying to drive here!

After our car arrived in country, we promptly went out and bought a new GPS so we could figure out our way around this new city of ours. Unfortunately it seemed impossible to find Korean maps for the GPS we already had in the U.S. and there was only one to choose from over here that was in English. It's pretty fancy and has come in quite handy. It has cool features that our U.S. GPS doesn't have...but guess what? This one won't work in the U.S., only over here. This is kind of ridiculous. I wonder what our collection of GPS's will look like after 20 years moving around in the Army! LOL!
So anyway, here's our new toy....
She (the voice of the GPS), sounds quite friendly and introduced us to many new things on the road. The first day we used the GPS we were in Seoul picking up our car. On our way through the city, we'd been driving only about 5 minutes and she shouts..."WARNING! You are about to enter....THE DANGER ZONE!" We quickly realized that she meant...the dreaded BUS LANE. You see, once you cross the blue lines, (which you sometimes have to do to turn right), you are then in their territory...Remember I told you about the '20 Bus'? They OWN the road, move out of the way or they WILL run you over! So the GPS was right in calling it, "The Danger Zone".  :)
The speed limits here have taken some getting use to. And did you notice our traffic lights are sideways...
The "80" doesn't mean 80 miles per hour, it's 80 kilometers. It's kind of frustrating because that's only about 50 miles per hour and to those of us coming from the States, that is REALLY slow for the freeway. But I guess that is a good thing since everyone here drives rather crazy!
All this to say, that I do have my license now, but I won't be willingly driving out and about exploring Korea by myself anytime soon. That's okay though, because it's much more fun when all of us go anyway!

1 comment:

  1. Well, at least they drive on the right side of the road there! Can you imagine putting up with all that AND having to drive on the left side? Yikes!! Congrats on the Korean drivers license. Now, just don't run over any Ninja turtles!! ha! ha! Love, Dad

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