Make Vietnam traffic great again: ‘8 little things’ to stop

It would be safer to travel on the road in Vietnam if people were able to give up eight small, yet irksome behaviors

Two improper actions at a time: ignoring the 'No Entry' sign and driving on the sidewalk.

It would be safer than to travel on the road in Vietnam if people were able to give up eight small, yet irksome behaviors, a Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reader has argued.

In a piece sent as part of the ongoing open forum on how to build up a ‘traffic culture’ in Vietnamese people, Khanh Hung speaks from his own experience on how dangerous and annoying traffic in the country is, and offers some suggestions to resolve the chronic issue.

Read his argument below and please comment below or write to to join in the forum.

A brief look of how traffic is like in Vietnam

Eight little things that need to stop

Several inappropriate behaviors of Vietnamese people on the street, such as driving in the wrong direction or on the pavement, running red lights and crossing lanes are obvious traffic violations.

However, there are other things that we witness every day, yet are not covered in the traffic rules and therefore subject to no penalty or fine.

Whenever this type of behavior is not sanctioned by the law, we can only hope that everyone will change behavior of their own accord.

Here is a list of eight behaviors anyone of us will witness at least once a day on the street in Vietnam:

1- Smoking while driving (motorbikes and cars)

2- Spitting while driving (ignorant of those behind them who suffer)

3- Abruptly changing direction without signaling

4- Repeatedly honking when there is still three seconds left on the red light

5- Speeding over flooded areas, splashing dirty water onto other drivers

6- Using mobile phones while driving

7- Driving two across on narrow streets

8- Giving the ‘I’m always right’ attitude in the case of an accident

There are often days that I fell victim to at least two to three of the things above.

For instance, I was driving on Pham Van Dong Avenue the other day when I had to make a sharp turn to avoid saliva from the man driving ahead of me.

Then, upon reaching a flooded area, while I was trying to drive as slowly as possible, one man sped past me causing water to splatter all over my clothes.

In addition there are countless times that I have witnessed people crash into each other due to abrupt changes of direction, or people abusing their horns while the traffic light is still red.

There have also been cases when the driver at fault argues loudly and threatens to assault the victim.

These eight behaviors are ubiquitous in Vietnam, and even we foreigners are sometimes, accidentally or intentionally, the ‘culprits.’

People are aware of the obvious violations like running red lights or driving wrong way, and may be deterred by fines as stipulated by the law, but the eight misbehaviors above do not seem to be acknowledged.

Traffic culture should be built from the smallest things.

People shouldn’t wait for these eight behaviors to be dealt with by the law, but should start adjusting their behavior immediately and stop doing these ‘8 little things’ whenever they are on the road.

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