Study proves Asian drivers are safer…srsly

This post is possibly more of an overgrown comment, but given my recent word-count-challenged postings, it is probably more original content than you’ve seen for a while!

Eurasian Sensation posted “Asian Drivers Are Safer. Seriously?” recently, and I’d studiously written an essay-length comment, only to be thwarted by e-gremlins when putting it up.

So, here it is, remixed. Sorta.

I’m a bit like Chris and believe in the stereotype to some extent, too. I know Asian drivers (who’ve been in Oz for decades) who have driven down the wrong side of main roads and the wrong way down one-way streets. One of them prides himself on never having been to ‘blame’ in an accident, but we know how he drives and it’s with a very, very hesitant manner. So, technically, he may not have run into anyone, but the number of times he’s been run into because he’s always second-guessing a merge or turn…well…  When I think about this, though, it’s probably that I happen to have more Asians in my family/friend networks, but the percentage of crappy drivers among them may well be a standard one.

Seeing the results of that study surprised me initially, then I realised that the ‘Asians drive more safely’ thing could also be the source of knee-jerk ‘bad Asian driver’ comments because others consider them too slow or cautious.

I had an excruciating experience with ‘bad Asian driving’ a couple of years ago: I was on my way into Sydney’s CBD in a crowded mini-bus from the airport with a bunch of strangers, and someone cut in front of us. The driver made a light-hearted (!), disparaging comment about ‘Asian drivers’ and how all of them were hopeless, and a murmur of assent swept through the bus, with a few people chiming in with their own anecdotes. A couple of people glanced at me, but not with any sheepishness. Being the only person of colour on that bus was so awkward. What to do? Have a tanty about their stereotyping (when I do it myself, on occasion)? Mount a half-hearted defence of Asian drivers? Tell the driver he was pretty damn rubbish, too (and risk being turfed out on Botany Road)? In the end, I did nothing. Maybe they assumed I didn’t understand English…

Anyway, I’m the last person who should talk about stereotyping drivers. My road-worthy discriminations? Let me show you them!

My auto-abuse is often directed at:

  • Middle manager types in fleet Commodores and Falcons. I was going to qualify this dot-point with “aggressive” but decided that that would be tautologous.
  • Anyone in a later model Volvo. I usually have no issue with older models and their drivers.
  • Young guys with baseball caps turned backwards. More demerits if it’s a P-plated car. Even more demerits if it’s a hotted up compact car.
  • Anyone who does a U-turn on Glen Huntly Road, Elsternwick.
  • Cars on steroids (yes, Toorak Tractors, I mean you; I also automatically assume that anyone driving a Hummer is an idiot who is over-compensating).
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3 thoughts on “Study proves Asian drivers are safer…srsly

  1. e 17/08/2010 / 1:48 am

    >I worked with this typical cashed up bogan "aussie" chick once who had Asian friends but used to make jokes about Asian drivers all the time. I am safe driver now that I'm older, but in my youth before the frontal lobe was properly formed I wasn't always so safe.I always remember a story from the 80s when a guy we used to know got locked up in jail because some racists heckled him, he got out of his car and knifed them. hey i think i put that in my story. actually i taught a kuwaiti guy who did the same thing.gosh the world out there is so different from the safe world of the oncology ward. god I have to get off line I'mr eally getting ah headache. till next time xoxoxoxox

  2. oanh 27/03/2012 / 1:24 pm

    I developed an entire hierarchy of car/driver stereotypes while biking 🙂

    I am most distrustful of
    – 4WDs with babyseats, not because they drivers are bad drivers per se, but because they’re a whole lot more distracted than other drivers (with good reason) and I am (on a bike) a distraction they may not be keeping an eye out for
    – any and every sports car or pimped up car <- tend to see bikes as a threat to their masculinity for some strange reason
    – buses and trucks <- they're big and they can't see me

    And I guess I do roll my eyes if I'm cut up by a woman or Asian driver, and say something like, "typical!" but mostly I am being ironic. Srsly 🙂

    Also, in every country we visited, we were always told that the next country had the worst, and most dangerous, drivers. This was not borne out.

    Hang on – when did you post this? E's comment is 17/08/2010 and at the end of the post it says 09/07/2010 but this just popped up in my reader today? How bizarre!

    • Tseen Khoo 27/03/2012 / 2:36 pm

      I posted this years ago! It was transferred over when I moved from blogger to wordpress, but as to why it popped into your reader just recently…I dunno! Vagaries of the interwebs.

      Am definitely not a fan of the pimped up car. There’s some obvious overcompensation going on, right there.

      I see stupid driving from everyone, but I hafta say that I see the stupidest + most dangerous driving from young guys who floor the accelerator to get through red traffic lights. That’s stupid in its purest form.

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