Vietnam News

Crossing Vietnamese streets, pedestrians are at mercy of drivers

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The unwritten Vietnamese rule has become that pedestrians need to raise their hand to seek permission to cross the crowded streets, and then motorists can decide if they’ll allow it.

VnExpress readers shared their experiences with the danger of crossing the street in Vietnam.

“I was almost hit by a vehicle once, and many other times was stared at angrily by motorbike and car drivers as I crossed the street at a zebra crossing, even though I had raised my hand to notify them in advance. Cars and motorbikes blasting their horns at people crossing the street is also common. To them, the zebra-crossing lines mean nothing. It’s a sad reality about the traffic in Vietnam. Authorities need to adopt measures to raise awareness and enforce penalties to improve this.”
Le Thanh

“When I visited Laos many years ago, I felt embarrassed about the traffic awareness of my Vietnamese fellows. I saw how people in Laos are much more polite in giving the right of way to pedestrians. With Laos as an example, we cannot blame our poor awareness on our country being a poor or developing one. I have stopped at red lights in Vietnam where many people just wanted to jump it. I am grateful for all the people who just wait at red lights, for a more civil Vietnam.”

“Traffic violations in Vietnam happen because people don’t know the rules, or they disregard the rules because of lax enforcement. I have never seen traffic police fine a driver for failing to stop before the pedestrian zebra-crossing. The police only need to fine enough people to make an example for other drivers to raise their awareness.”
Tien Thinh

“One time I drove my motorbike past a school. I saw around five students crossing the street on the zebra line, so I stopped. But many people behind me immediately honked and stared at me like they were about to beat me up, before driving ahead through the walking students. They just wanted to reach their destination as soon as possible, regardless of the rules. Vietnamese roads have been upgraded much better than in the past, but the traffic experience is still bad because people’s awareness has not improved. Maybe it’s even gotten worse.”
MyloveisWinter – March 8, 2024

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