Saw this yesterday while on our way home. Seeing a scene like this again made me realise the danger of driving here. Vehicular accidents like this are very common in Cambodia. In fact, traffic accidents are a leading cause of deaths in Cambodia.

While browsing online, I chanced upon a blog named Life in Cambodia, owned by an American missionary. In one of his posts he cited an article entitled, Driving Tips for Cambodian Streets, by James Cottle, as being an accurate description of how driving is like here. In the article, Cottle drew comparisons between a Western driver and a Cambodian driver:

  1. Westerners say, “A road is a place of order where people follow and lead in an effort to get to where they want to go.” In Cambodia the attitude follows a thought more like, “The road is an area (dirt, paved or grassy area) that I can use however I see fit in order to be first in getting to where I want to go.
  2. Westerners say, “This is my side of the road, that is your side.” In Cambodia the lanes are places to be used no matter if there is a yellow divider line or not. Motos will frequently drive along the side of the road going the wrong way looking for an opening to cross to the correct side.
  3. Westerners say, “I have my highway rights.” In Cambodia you have the right to move over as three vehicles come your way “in your lane.” Hanging on to your highway rights just to defy the new culture of Cambodia is a sure way to get into an accident because the other quickly-approaching car is thinking you are going to get out of his way.
  4. Westerners say, “Just obey the signs, signal lights, and speed limits.” In Cambodia most of this traffic paraphernalia is suggestive only. You will not want to depend on others to place the same value on these things as you do.
  5. Westerners say, “This doesn’t make any sense at all.” In Cambodia many of the driving methods are ludicrous but some of them make perfect sense once you begin to understand the system. Unfortunately it will take time (maybe a few years) before you really begin to comprehend the reason behind the madness.
  6. Westerners say, “Thanks for letting me pull out in front of you; I’ll hurry and get out of your way.” In Cambodia take your time even when someone has shown a kind gesture, don’t worry about holding them up. They understand the cost of quickly crossing lanes.
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  1. It's sad, but not surprising given your other photos, to see an accident picture. You show us the text – but it would be interesting to know your thoughts on its elements.Luc

  2. Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment. There was a time I was the world's most nervous passenger, my husband called me that. I would rather walk than ride a motorbike because I was really terrified. I had written my thoughts about the traffic in Cambodia in my other blog long ago. But I will do so again in this blog in the coming days. Watch out for it.

  3. Drive safe and be safe!We have similar scenes here too.

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