Ten Tips to Survive Vietnam's Traffic

DON’T spend hours waiting to cross the street on foot: that constant tide of traffic won’t
stop until late at night, so

DO as the Vietnamese do: take the plunge and inch slowly across. Observe the Miracle of
the Red Sea, as the traffic parts like magic, flowing smoothly in front of you or behind,
meeting up again on the other side.

DON’T make any sudden or unpredictable movements: freeze if you have to, but never
lunge forward or backward towards the safety of the sidewalk. In fact, you can do just
about anything, but do it with conviction!

DON’T forget, if you’re riding or driving, to look where you’re going – all the time: if
you hit anything in front of you, then it’s your fault.

DO give way to any vehicle bigger and noisier than yours. Trucks and buses are
particularly dangerous: often old, sometimes unsafe and usually all over the road.

DO watch out for unfamiliar obstacles: water buffaloes, rocks of various sizes, brokendown
trucks…, people sitting in the road, missing bridges, girls in ao dai cycling five
abreast, slow-moving mountains of farm produce, dog fights, impromptu football
matches, piles of building materials – and almost no light on anything at night..

DON’T hesitate to take evasive action – even if this sometimes means leaving the tarmac
or coming to a dead stop.

DO try to avoid getting involved in one of the all-too-frequent minor accidents that
plague Vietnam’s roads (and the major ones as well, of course), but if you are unlucky,

DON’T lose your cool, in spite of the interference of the large and vocal crowd that may
gather: try to settle things amicably and swiftly. Sometimes, paying a reasonable amount
of money will save you a lot of hassle.

DO remember that the only rule is: you’re not allowed to bump into anybody…
irrespective of what they did or should have done, or of what the road signs or traffic
lights were telling them to do. Some people still seem to think that anything red means
forward, comrade

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