Driving in Korea vs. America
There are definite differences in the Tao of Driving between the USA and Korea. In America, the rules of the road dictate our behavior. Drivers follow most of the rules most of the time. In the USA I’m always irritated when a car changes lanes or turns without signaling first, because it doesn’t happen relatively often. I can effectively predict the driving behavior of most of the drivers around me, most of the time, and this gives me a sense of understanding and control over my environment: the car in front of me is in the outside lane, and is slowing with his signal on, so I know he’s about to turn off onto a side street.
In contrast, Koreans do not feel compelled to follow the traffic rules (according to the law, pedestrians have the right of way at a crosswalk, but have you ever seen a driver respect that?), for a number of reasons. Their driving behavior is less predictable. Because they don’t know what the other drivers are going to do, I think Korean drivers have a greater awareness of their environment. American drivers have rules and expect the rules to protect them (nobody turns left from the right-hand lane on a multiple-lane road, right?). Korean drivers don’t rely on (or follow) rules, just what they can see (i.e. anyone may do anything at any time, so a driver must be vigilant).
I’m not saying one way is better (and I certainly was trained in the American way), just that they are different. And I’m a little afraid to drive in Korea because I think my American training may be inadequate to drive here.