Foreigners in China express their opinions about local drivers
Statistics from the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization show that accumulated open road tests for intelligent connected vehicles in Shanghai, which started March 1, lasted 130 hours and covered 3,000 kilometers without a single traffic violation or accident occurring, thepaper.cn reported on April 17. This shows a step forward in China’s development of an unmanned vehicle industry.
But for foreigners from countries where the automobile industry is already highly developed, what are their attitudes toward unmanned automobiles and how do they feel about Chinese drivers in general? The Global Times investigates.
Pierre Maruzzi from France drives an automatic transmission sedan in his home country. He looks forwardd to one day having a pilotless automobile. “I want to watch movies while I go somewhere,” Maruzzi said.
Steve Walker from the UK drives an automatic transmission SUV. He also looks forward to unmanned automobiles because he hopes he can get work done while he is commuting.
However, John Smith and Maggie Smith from Australia, who drive a manual-transmission sedan, do not look forward to unmanned cars. “Because I am worried it wouldn’t work well enough to be safe,” Maggie Smith said. John Smith added that there are a lot of issues that have to be addressed before unmanned cars are put into practical use.
Referring to driving safety issues in Shanghai, several foreigners mentioned reckless taxi drivers. “They think that because they have a license they are experienced, so that they can do as they like rather than think,” John Smith said. But the couple, who have only been in Shanghai for three days, have yet to see an accident.
Respecting the rules
Pierre Maruzzi thinks Chinese drivers do not follow the rules, and Bernard Maruzzi thinks Chinese drivers don’t care about pedestrian safety, using a motorcycle accident they witnessed in Beijing as an example.
Walker thinks Chinese drivers are “crazy,” but he has yet to see or experience any terrible accidents since arriving in Shanghai just four days ago.
Alexandra Jolly from Belgium thinks Chinese drivers don’t respect the rules as much as people in Europe do. But she thinks it seems to work out for Chinese people, as she did not see any accidents here.
“The wayy Chinese people use the car horn is very different from us,” said Jolly’s friend Olivia Bally, who is also from Belgium. “In Europe we only use the horn when we are upset. In China, horns are used for warning pedestrians that a car is coming. That’s something I found very interesting,” Bally told the Global Times.
Tracie Monk from the US told the Global Times that she and her mother had a very bad incident in Shanghai in March. As her 90-yearold mother stepped out of their taxi, the driver suddenly drove off, dragging the elderly woman on the ground.
“She injured herself badly, and had to spend a day in bed because she was bleeding. It was very bad,” Monk said, adding that with the exception of Chinese taxis, the average driver in Shanghai seems to be safe.
Alex from the Ukraine actually thinks that Chinese drivers are too slow. “There are a lot of cars in Shanghai because the population is really big. They are driving carefully here. I saw one accident which was not with a car but a bicycle,” said Alex, who has beeen in Shanghai for two years. “In my country, they try to save timme, so they drive very fast.” Most of our foreign intervieewees received formal driver traaining in their own countries. Maaggie Smith learned in Londoon and John Smith in Brisbanne, Australia. Monk learned to drive on a ranch in Texas by praacticing with a tractor. Pierre Maruzzi, who learned to ddrive in Canada, thinks a driiver who has just graduatedated from a driving school feels “afraid and insecure on the streets.” Both Jolly and Bally, who learned driving in Brussels, used “dangerous” to describe those who recently graduated from driving school. Walker called them “careless.” Alex from the Ukraine said his father taught him how to drive. “But Shanghai is a really big city. It’s really hard to drive here.”
Repairs and maintenance
So how do foreign drivers maintain their vehicles?
John Smith said that he can repair his own car to a degree, and change a tire or the oil by himself. He said that as most Chinese used to ride bicycles, which they had to repair themselves, and he is sure the average Chinese driver can also fix their own car, explaining that the basic principles of repairing a car and a bicycle are very similar.
Alex said he can only change tires and oil. Walker knows a little about repairing his car, but he thinks Chinese drivers must know more than him. “I’m sure they can do everything.”
Although Monk does not know how to fix her car, she said her husband does. She can change tires by herself, but not oil. “You can’t change it yourself because you have to take it to a facility to get recycled,”” Monk said.
Monk thinks Chinese people probably are not able to fix or repair their own cars. “Most of the cars that we’ve seen here are very modern, which have complex computer systems. So it’s very difficult. Much better to take the car to a mechanic who puts it into a computer. You can work on old cars, but not new cars,” Monk said.
Bernard Maruzzi, who works for a car company, doesn’t think most Chinese can repair cars, only bicycles and sc no idea if Chinese peopl cars, Bally thinks it is the where young girls her age are not able to repair cars.
At the end of interview, the foreigners shared their views about what are the best skills a driver should have. John and Maggie Smith think awareness, consideration and courtesy for other drivers and pedestrians are important. Monk thinks a driver should be observant and not distracted. “Don’t use your phone while driving,” she emphasized. Pierre Maruzzi and Bernard Maruzzi think the best skill a driver should have is attentiveness.
Jolly and Bally said awareness and patience are important; Alex agrees. “And be very careful. Never drive too fast. Just at the right speed,” Alex said.