to Xiamen & Fujian
for "Darwin Awards!"
of those who have 'improved our gene pool by removing themselves from
it in a sublimely idiotic fashion.' --AudioFile Magazine"
Six Rules of Darwinian Driving
First has right of way—whether
driver or pedestrian. This is why buses, cement trucks and
18-wheelers careen blindly out of side streets without slowing down--right
into the path of oncoming traffic. If they are hit by another vehicle,
they are innocent because they were there first (obviously—or they
would not have been hit). Of course, if they hesitate, the oncoming traffic
with the so-called ‘right of way’ will speed up to cut them
off. This is logical. Even as we must take every opportunity to cut in
front of others, it is imperative we also prevent them from doing the
same to us. It is a matter of the Golden Rule: do unto others, but do
it first. For
example, if your car breaks down, be sure to stop in an intersection,
preferably diagonally so you can block as much traffic as possible.
After all, you’re not going anywhere, so neither should the competition.
And when making left turns, do it from the far right lane—but do
it fast, because of rule #2.
Of course, sorting out who is first can get sticky, especially when five cars abreast try to enter a two lane road. If none hesitate, all may usually merge nicely using the Zipper Tactic, though at times this formation does come unzipped. To insure the zipper moves smoothly, it is crucial to avoid hesitation, as well as that peculiar Western weakness known as ‘defensive driving.’
3. Offensive, not defensive driving. General Patton said, “A good offense is always the best defensive.” It gives you a psychological edge. I learned this the hard way. When I edged to the right to let large trucks pass me on mountain roads, they interpreted it as weakness and ran me off the road. Now I hog the middle till the bitter end. (Chinese call this ‘hero car;’ Americans call it ‘playing chicken’—though here, no one is playing).
Don’t pander to pedestrians (lest
you get them killed)
Pedestrians have no qualms in stepping right in front of a car without
looking. Indeed, they will deliberately not look, or even look the other
way. This is because they know that 1) First has right of way, 2) Only
one object can occupy a space at a time, and 2b) If they occupy that space
first and you run them down, they will retire on the lawsuit. If they
are killed, their entire extended family will retire on the lawsuit, and
worship their ashes forever on the ancestral shelf. This explains why
pedestrians ignore wide sidewalks and walk down the middle of busy streets.
They seek retirement. Hence rule 5…
Avoid so-called Courtesy or Caution—especially
with pedestrians, lest we get them killed. In my formative years, I often
stopped for old ladies and women with babies. They invariably hesitated,
suspicious of my motives. The few who did get the nerve to cross were
nearly run down by the vehicles that raced around me from behind. So give
no quarter . But in all you do, avoid looking the opponent in the eye.
Lesson? Relax, enjoy, and don’t take it personally. Once the rules of the road are understood, driving in China is as easy as in America—and lots more fun. With cars, who needs Nintendo or Gameboy? ... Dr. Bill, Xiamen University
years of history? I was told China had 5,000 years of history--but that
was 18 years ago.]
[*5018 years of history? I was told China had 5,000 years of history--but that was 18 years ago.]
Back to Top AmoyMagic Guide to Xiamen and Fujian
Last Updated: May 2007 Back to Top