Friday, August 27, 2010

The Three Car Rule

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

I was on Okinawa almost a month before I started driving.  A lot of the delay was due to raw fear.  The traffic is slow, about 35 m.p.h. is the top speed for most of the island, but traffic is heavy, and many of the side streets are very narrow - and the little cars are everywhere!

Then there was that whole driving-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-road thing, but that is just a question of practice and remembering where your hiney is supposed to be.

When I was going to orientation classes we were warned about the motorcycles.  Okinawan cyclists routinely drive between rows of traffic, so if there is a long double line waiting at a stoplight, multiple motorcycles will race up between the stopped cars and head to the front of the line.  They even zip between cars while traffic is moving!

And car drivers who are at the front of the line at the stoplight have more to worry about than just cyclists cutting in front of them.  There is apparently an unwritten "three-car rule," that says after the light turns green, a driver at the front of the waiting line can expect three Okinawan vehicles to run the light in front of him!

Driving may be slow here, but there is still plenty to worry about while puttering around this small island!

No comments:

Post a Comment