台灣嚇人的交通Taiwan’s scary traffic

在台灣已住上半年。我很喜歡在這裡生活,但交通卻是一大例外。我一直堅信台灣人非常友好和有禮貌,但當他們坐上司機座位時,就立刻判若兩人。

There are very very few things that I dislike about Taiwan, and traffic happens to be one of them.  I’ve always insisted the Taiwanese are very friendly and courteous, but once they step into the driver’s seat they suddenly become Jekyll and Hyde.

102516_1417_Taiwans1.jpg

原來在台灣學習駕駛汽車及路考都是在汽車考場裡,而不是在道路上進行。換句話說,在考到駕駛執照後,大多數人完全沒有路上駕駛經驗可言。之後他們就像被扔進大海裡學游泳一樣在路上開車。他們可能不太懂得駕駛者的禮儀,更沒有處理道路上駕駛的實際經驗,當遇上真正的行人和其他道路使用者時,就會有些不知所措。

Vehicle drivers in Taiwan learn to drive and take their test within a training centre.  By the time they pass their driving test they have no road experience at all.  They are thrown into the deep end when they get on the road.  They probably have little driving etiquette, and can’t handle road situations very well when there are real pedestrians and other road users around.

以我的經驗,這裡大部份司機都會遵守交通燈指示,紅燈時會停車。但總有一小撮司機認為交通燈轉紅色後,繼續衝刺是理所當然的。

斑馬線上行人優先的情況更差。我現在習慣當行人指示燈轉綠色時,不要馬上過馬路。因為每㳄必定有汽車,或一大群機車像飛箭般衝前來然後右轉,橫過原本我有優先權的斑馬線。他們大多數完全忽視正過馬路的行人,好像是車輛而不是行人有斑馬線上的優先使用權。如果我在斑馬線上停步讓路給每一輛汽車或機車時都可收取一英鎊,我相信我每月至少可以收取£100!

更討厭的情況是當公車已顯示右邊指揮燈停站,機車還要在公車右邊那狹窄間隙向前衝。可能他們閱讀太多漫畫英雄故事,覺得自己身懷鐵甲,有不死之軀。

可惜世事難料,就如以下片段,幸運之神不會永遠在他們身邊。溫馨提示,片段或會令人不安。

In my experience here, most drivers abide by the traffic lights, ie stop when the lights turn red as you should.  However, a small number seems to think it is perfectly acceptable to make a final dash immediately after the lights have turned red.

Pedestrian priority on zebra crossing is even worse.   I’ve learnt that when the pedestrian light turns green, don’t immediately cross the zebra crossing.There are always are bound to be the odd vehicle or a bunch of scooters who shoots out like an arrow to turn right ie cross your path.  Most totally ignore any pedestrians that may be crossing the road as if they have a right over the pedestrians.

If I were given a £ for every car or scooter that I stopped for on the zebra crossing, I guess I could make at least £100 every month!

My other pet hate is when the bus has signalled right to stop at the bus stop, but scooters still zoom ahead and squeeze pass between the bus and the kerb. Perhaps the scooter drivers have been reading too many comic hero stories, and think they are invincible.

Sadly, as the video clip below shows, that’s not always the case.  A word of warning, the video has some disturbing images.

其實台灣的交通事故數據真頗為嚇人。

根據警政署資料,2015年有超過30萬宗事故,造成近1700人死亡,超過41萬多人受傷。而在死亡人數中,有846位是因為機車事故。當局提供的人口死亡率統計數據更驚人 : 2012年每10萬人口就有14人死於交通意外。與其他國家相比實在太高了。

Taiwan’s traffic accident statistics are notorious.

According to the National Police Agency, in 2015 there were over 305,000 accidents, which caused nearly 1700 deaths and over 410,000 injuries.  Out of the deaths, 846 were on scooters. The death rate is even more astonishing when compared to other countries : 14 deaths per 100,000 population in 2012!

Taiwan is on the left in the graph below followed by  USA, Japan, UK , France, Germany, Italy, Canada and South Korea.

102516_1417_Taiwans2.png

我從未試過在道路上左駕靠右邊駛,所以到目前為止還未打算在台駕車。如果將來有此決定,我相信我開車靠右邊駕駛一定沒問題。唯一我沒把握的是其他人的魯莽駕駛行為。在此之前,我希望台灣人的駕駛習慣會不斷改善,無論在車內車外都同樣友善及禮讓。

這期望不算太過份吧?。

So far I have resisted the urge to buy a car here, mainly because I’ve never driven on the right before. If I do in future, I’m sure I can get used to it, but what I can’t be so sure of is avoiding the reckless driving habits of others. Till then, I hope the driving habits will improve and the drivers become kind and courteous both inside and outside of their vehicles.

Surely, that isn’t too much too ask?

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