Chinky Or Not Chinky: Are Asians Bad Drivers?

I know a number of Asian Americans who are quick to point out the inaccuracies of many of the stereotypes attributed our people (No, we’re not all model minorities. No, Asian guys don’t have small dicks), but there’s one stereotype they will reluctantly admit has some basis in truth…that Asians are bad drivers.

But how accurate is this stereotype and is there any solid evidence to support it? I asked our readers via our Twitter and Facebook pages to share their thoughts on the subject and I’ll get to some of those responses in a moment. But first, let’s take a look at some of the “evidence” for this stereotype to determine if this is indeed…chinky or not chinky?

First, let’s look to the homeland—Asia. According to this 2004 article from Time magazine, the rate of traffic-related deaths in Asia are indeed the highest in the world:

With just 16% of the world’s cars, trucks, buses and motorcycles, Asia accounts for more than half of the roughly 1.2 million traffic fatalities that the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates occur globally every year. More than 600,000 Asians are killed and another 9.4 million are severely injured in traffic accidents annually.

Those statistics make Asia’s highways the meanest streets in the world. In Thailand, for example, road accidents are now the third leading cause of death after aids and heart attacks, according to the country’s Ministry of Public Health. In China and India, where members of expanding middle classes are taking to the roads in record numbers, crash rates are growing out of control. Car ownership in China jumped 41% between 1999 and 2002, while over the same period accidents increased twice as fast, by more than 83%. P.K. Sikdar, director of the Central Road Research Institute, a New Delhi-based traffic consultancy, ranks the carnage in India right up there with his country’s natural disasters except that “earthquakes and cyclones don’t come every year. Road accidents come routinely,” he says. “Like clockwork, more than 80,000 people [a year] simply get wiped out on our roads.”

But is this proof that Asians are the planet’s worst drivers or could there be other factors behind this troubling statistic? The same article suggests that the unprecedented economic growth that many Asian countries have been experiencing in recent years has led to more vehicles on the road (also bringing with it more inexperienced drivers), but not necessarily better road conditions or traffic safety laws. In countries like China and India, the mode of transportation may now be first world, but traffic safety still remains third world:

Asia’s motorists are plagued by hazards faced by travelers everywhere: drunk drivers, bad weather, heavy traffic. But developing countries harbor a host of other factors that heighten the peril. With car and motorcycle sales rising fast, deficit-ridden governments are hard-pressed to build wider, safer highways to accommodate swarms of new commuters. In poorer nations, existing road systems are often badly maintained and lack basic infrastructure such as stop signs and traffic signals. Traffic in Asia is frequently a tumultuous and deadly mix of pedestrians, affordable (but highly vulnerable) motorcycles, cars, pickup trucks ferrying loads of passengers, and heavy trucks that feed the region’s voracious economic engine all vying for places in line along the same overburdened stretches of blacktop.

Of course, it also doesn’t help when you hear stories like how this Korean woman had to take her driver’s test 950 times before passing.

But how does this apply to Asian drivers outside of Asia? If you look at the statistics of deaths from auto accidents in the U.S., it does seem like Asians are on the higher end of the fatality rate, which could suggest we’re not the best drivers:

15.0 per 100,000 Hispanic/Latino people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

15.6 per 100,000 white people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

21.8 per 100,000 men died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

25.9 per 100,000 American Indian or Alaska Native people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

25.9 per 100,000 Asian/Pacific Islander people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

9.3 per 100,000 women died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)

And how do other factors come into play–such as the fact that the majority of Asians in the U.S. (60%) are immigrants? If the Time magazine piece is correct and Asia does have a culture of unsafe driving practices, are the worst Asian drivers here immigrants (as opposed to native-born Asians)?

But there is also evidence that this stereotype may just be that—a stereotype. According to this person, back in the days when race could be used to determine your insurance rates, there was actually a “good Asian” discount which would suggest that Asians must have been, well, good drivers. This is anecdotal, but I asked my father and he also swears his insurance rates were once lower due to his being Asian. And I find comments like this one to be hilarious: this person says that she lives in a community that is 90% Chinese and complains how all the bad drivers she sees are Asian. Well, duh, if you live in an area that’s almost all Asian, of course the bad drivers (as well as good drivers) are likely to be Asian.

Which brings me to the most compelling study I could find to shatter this stereotype. It comes out of Australia where the “Asians are bad drivers” stereotype is just as prevalent as it is in the U.S. and here’s what they found:

Sydney University researchers claim that young Australians born in Asia are significantly safer than Australian drivers born everywhere else. Their crash risk is half that of Australia-born drivers. The researchers used answers from 21,000 P-platers aged to 25 and crash reports provided by police to arrive at a startling result few people would be prepared to believe!

Sydney clinical psychologist Jeroen Decates offered this reason for why this stereotype might continue to exist if there was no basis in fact for it:

In a Sydney newspaper’s report of the research into the driving of different ethnic groups, Mr. Decates explains why a stereotype can be self-perpetuating. We are more likely, he says, to note that a poor driver is of an Asian background if this is evidence for the stereotype we hold. We are always, he says, looking for confirmation of our beliefs. I suppose, too, that drivers of Asian stock are more readily identified and grouped than, say, drivers of British stock. It may be meaningless to stereotype Caucasian people as bad drivers, and if that is the case it should be as meaningless, I suppose, to do the same for Asian people.

In other words, we are more likely to notice when a bad driver is Asian simply because we expect bad drivers to be Asian thus reinforcing the stereotype (I suppose this could also apply to women drivers who actually have the lowest rates of accidents as you can see from the stats I shared).

But now to our readers’ comments. Just want to share a sampling of the wide range of opinions we received on this subject and as far as I can tell, all of these responders are Asian:

Junko: I think it’s just a weird stereotype. I didn’t hear about it until the past 5 years… maybe until I got out to LA even. I just think it’s just plain weird.

Andrew: I believe it stems from truth. Asians are typically really good at concrete skills such as math and science, but not so good at abstract skills such as art. Driving is an abstract skill and requires a special awareness of one’s surroundings. Other races have bad drivers too, but all of my near accident encounters have been with Asian women. Ha! Maybe Asians just don’t bother to go to driving school?

Michael: Well, South Korea does tend to have the highest rate of traffic accidents in industrialized countries, but I would not say that Asian people as a whole are bad drivers. Native South Koreans on the other hand…Things have been improving there though. Their fatality rate due to motor vehicles was almost 35 times the US, but it has declined since.

Jonathan: Yes, I believe Asians are bad drivers. I live in Northern California and I see it (curse at them) all the time.

Yes, there are other groups too that are known for erratic behavior on the road, eg. young white girls, but the skills of many Asian drivers are indefensible.

Usually can be found doing wacky things like pressing on the brake for no reason and hesitating to fulfill simple maneuvers. TBH it seems that it’s mostly Asian immigrants, not American born Asians, who struggle with driving. Why this is, I do not know.

Mary: Asian immigrants come from a country where driving is not a skill, it’s a survival tactic. If any American tried driving around Seoul, they’d DIE. I do not even attempt it despite my international driver’s license.

On the other hand, being an Asian female, I do get insurmountably irritated with the stereotype as I’ve driven from both ends of the U.S. continent, down to Florida, down to Mexico, up to Canada, in SF downtown madness, Chicago downtown madness, LA madness (if you can call gridlock driving), and know the difference between defensive driving and offensive driving and switch-hit as circumstance necessitates. I’ve never dated a guy who knows the so cal freeway system better than I; and yes, I use north, south, west, east and not left, right, the really big white rock on the corner and Del Taco a block after the gas station.

Point being, yah, some people really suck at driving, but really, the bad (female) Asian driver thing is so immigrant (woman)-hating on, ludicrous and ignorant at best, malicious and stupid at worst. Please. Stop.

Tyrone: I do not think it is limited to “Asians”. I see PLENTY of other folks from all walks of life, ages, genders, and colors that sometimes make me wish they would just get creamed by a semi-truck just 1x so as to spare the rest of society further harm from them. Nobody STOPS at STOP signs or RIGHT TURN ON **RED** any more. People back out of parking spaces without even looking behind them at all. They BLOCK the fast/passing lane on the freeway/highway and REFUSE to move out of the way. They GO when they are NOT supposed to, and DON’T GO when they ARE SUPPOSED TO. They are CLUELESS and OBLIVIOUS, living/driving within their own little world. And now, almost everyone talks/texts on their mobile phone too while driving…..NOT paying attention to their driving behavior and lack of control of their vehicle. Driving safely is the MOST important thing to do while driving. Everything else can wait.

The only reason it may seem as if it is “Asians” or maybe “Hispanics” is because there are many of them here in SoCal and other large metro areas. Some of them also come from places where traffic laws/rules are practically non-existent, or they just have a different way of doing things. There is a different “pulse” or “rhythm” to driving in different parts of the world….even between different cities in the USA. It is also TOO EASY to get a driver’s license in the USA. Many people do not take driving seriously. They forget that it is a matter of LIFE or DEATH. It is SCARY how irresponsible and ignorant many “drivers” are these days.

Laren: Although they can often make for amusing jokes, I don’t care too much for stereotypes. Sure, there’s usually some factual basis for them, but the over-generalization leads to people sincerely believing in something as a given fact that is usually only true of about half the population in question- if that. The “Asian Drivers” stereotype is one of them.

The best drivers I’ve ever known were Asian.
The worst drivers I’ve ever known were also Asian.

So what do our other readers think? Is this a stereotype that has some truth to it or is it complete bullshit? Chinky or not chinky?

But one final thought I’d like to leave you with. If Asians are such bad drivers, how do you explain this:


Vezi mai multe video Auto-Moto

74 thoughts on “Chinky Or Not Chinky: Are Asians Bad Drivers?

  1. When people say that Asians are bad drivers, I respond. “Okay, name ONE famous bad Asian driver!”

    No one can answer that question.

    Then I go, “I can name SEVERAL bad white drivers! Let’s see, 1) James Dean…2)…”

  2. The difference between a “bad” Asian driver and a “bad” Caucasian driver is that when you honk at them to WARN them that they are doing (or did) something boneheaded or otherwise dangerous and threatening to YOUR life (as well as their own), the Asian is like a “deer in headlights” and clueless, while the Caucasian is giving you the 1-finger salute and/or trying to retaliate somehow.

    There are PLENTY of BAD drivers all around from all races.

    Drive Safely & Defensively.
    YMMV.
    Good Luck!! 8-D

  3. Wait….we don’t have small dicks??? Why didn’t I get that memo?????

  4. I say CHINKY!

    If you’re a recent immigrant, then driving in a new country is gonna be much harder with new rules, new signs, new speeds, new etiquette, new language, new everything…I bet in Asian countries they have the same stereotypes about how foreign drivers suck too.

  5. It depends on how you define “bad driving”. I see a lot of aggressive Asian drivers in Los Angeles… but the thing is they know what they are doing. The dodge and weave and come up with creative use of road space. That to me signifies great driving skills and spatial awareness not to mention lightening fast hand-eye coordination. But to those used to the rule of road in the US, these tactics make the driver appears to be clueless and “bad” at driving.

  6. hmm, I’ve been familiar with the “Asian as bad drivers” stereotypes for a long time and never though of relating it to statistics. I don’t remember when or by who, but I was informed Asians can’t drive because they’re always squinting (Please refer to image #3 in the article for an accurate visual diagram).
    Which, when you think about it, is weird because people usually squint to improve their visual focus… maybe that means we’re really good at driving in a straight line?

  7. “I was informed Asians can’t drive because they’re always squinting (Please refer to image #3 in the article for an accurate visual diagram).
    Which, when you think about it, is weird because people usually squint to improve their visual focus… maybe that means we’re really good at driving in a straight line?”

    I squint all the time when I drive because I forget my sunglasses. It definitely doesn’t make me focus on the road.

  8. I think all of the terrible drivers I see who happen to be Asian (yes, there are definitely horrible drivers of all races) are older/oldish, and from Asia. Not Asian-American. Not sure how I know that they’re Asian and not A-Am, but just hazarding a nice stereotypical guess.

  9. With a title like this:

    Chinky Or Not Chinky: Are Asians Bad Drivers?

    this post should be a lot funnier! What’s up with all the statistics and logic?

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  12. So what makes a “bad driver”?

    The Australian study is interesting, but I can tell you as an Australian myself that Asian drivers have a somewhat justified bad reputation. It comes back to the definition of a bad driver.

    Asian drivers, from my observation, are conservative and less likely to do reckless things. Score one for the Asians! BUT on the other hand, I find Asian drivers to lack some of the road sense and knowledge of certain road rules, when compared to the locally-born.

    But primarily I think it’s less an Asian thing and more of an immigrant thing. It’s just that Asians are far more noticeable than say, European immigrants, who I think are just as likely not to understand the best way to drive in their new country.

  13. I have to agree with the “…we are more likely to notice when a bad driver is Asian simply because we expect bad drivers to be Asian thus reinforcing the stereotype…” statement.

    I live in the suburbs of Chicago and while the “burb” I live in is majority white, the adjoining burbs are heavily populated with people of Mexican, Chinese, Korean and Indian descent. Believe me when I say, regardless of heavy saturation of ethnic groups in my area the one group of terrible drivers I run into all the time are the white “soccer” moms. Whether they’re trying to understand how to navigate a four-way stop, talking/texting on their cell phones while driving or trying to run you over with their outrageously large SUVs and minivans they’re a crazy hazard.

    I’ve also been commuting to and from my job, which is in downtown Chicago for over 10 years and have never noticed Asians in particular as being the “bad drivers.” The things I have noticed when driving on the highways are that blacks seems to be the most clueless and inexperienced with highway driving, white girls in Saturns are always in some kind of mad rush to get somewhere, and white guys in BMWs and pickups are the most obnoxious. I’ll always catch two white guys during my commute trying to race each other in the middle of bumper-to-bumper rush hour traffic. It’s absolutely hilarious to watch, but also incredibly dangerous…

  14. There’s good evidence that women are worse drivers on several criteria. It’s not enough to just look at vehicle death rates. Accidents without injury, accidents with injury, traffic violations *for every hundred thousand miles driven* are better indicators of driving ability (because some groups such as men spend more time driving than women so naturally, they’d have more accidents and probably deaths in crashes). When you control for miles driven or hours on the road, women have more road accidents both with and without injury and also, I believe, more likely to get traffic tickets as well (though I can’t find data on that at the moment, I have seen it b4). But men have more deaths from crashes even after adjustment for miles driven.

    http://freakonomics.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/03/10/who-drives-better-men-or-women/

    Ideally, you’d like to look at *at fault* accidents but such data is unavailable. I also don’t have nor have ever seen data for Asians when variables like miles driven are controlled for.

    I have seen data from 2000 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that suggests otherwise (that Asian-pacific Islanders have much lower age adjusted death rates in crashes). The data you presented from the NCHS probably are not age adjusted.

    See table 1.

    http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/alcohol/Archive/ethnicity/ethnicity.html

  15. Also, you have to keep in mind that Asians live in more densely populated areas (cities and the west and east coasts) on average than whites, so there much higher chances of getting into an accident. So you’d have to control for that too to get a clearer picture.

  16. I’m not a bad driver. The white people around me are just pussies.

  17. Success coach/Hypnotist Paul Mckenna says “You get more of what you focus on”. Asians probably appear to be the worst drivers to the people who focus on asians as bad drivers. Asians who hear this fact might think they are naturally bad drivers and have more accidents. Or maybe not. Such is life.

  18. Hello YOMYOMF, it’s been a while since I last commented.

    I got my driver’s license just 3 weeks ago. This was on my first try, with only 4 lessons.

    My sister on the other hand failed. I’m still waiting to hear when she’ll take her next road test.

  19. @SimonTsui, glad to see you’re still alive and with us. Congrats on the license.

  20. In asia everything about driving is opposite. So if a white boy or black or hispanic comes to asia they will be considered bad drivers in asia.

  21. The reason why there are so many highway fatalities in Asian countries as compared to Western countries, is very simple to explain.
    Asians are in control of vehicles before they are competent to drive as they can ‘buy’ a license by bribery and are often taught to drive by relatives to save the price of a driving school.
    There are no enforceable road laws so vehicles can drive as they please and in the Philippines it is an everyday occurence to see not only private vehicles, but public service vehicles driving on the wrong side of the highway and even cutting blind corners.
    Motorcyclists without helmets will overtake a car on the left when the car is taking a left turn, and any policeman watching will ignore it.

  22. I never knew that there was a stereotype about Asian drivers. However, I noticed that Asians (whether far-east or Indian) are the WORST drivers in the San Francisco Bay Area.

    My husband was the person who informed me that this was a stereotype. However, for me, it was an OBSERVATION. I don’t pretend to know the reasons behind it, but the Asian who drive in this area are terribly bad drivers.

    Communities like Milpitas, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, Fremont and Hayward are danger zones. Most Asian drivers speed (especially Indians), do not use blinkers, improperly weave into other lanes (nearly causing accidents), drive too slow (especially Oriental drivers), force long distances between cars, pull out in front of oncoming vehicles and even stop in the middle of the road.

    I suppose that widespread poor driving by Asians can be attributed to poor English skills in regard to understanding the driver’s handbook. However, it is undeniably a stereotype that is based upon EXPERIENCE.

    I am not from the United States, so I have no reason to stereotype Asians. However, between Oriental races and Indians, I observed this “stereotype” without knowing that it even existed.

    Now, I also realize that there is less respect for the law in Asian countries. Bribes are normal and driving laws are not as strictly enforced. Perhaps this is the basis for the poor driving by Asians who have immigrated here? After all, immigrant parents often teach their children how to drive. Poor driving skills might be passed down too.

    Still, I think that the state needs to encourage better driving — especially for Asians. A billboard campaign and commercials (e.g. “REMEMBER TO USE YOUR BLINKER,” “DON’T PULL OUT IN FRONT OF ONCOMING VEHICLES” and “DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT,” etc…) would greatly help Asians destroy the experiences that reinforce the stereotypes!

  23. As a long-time bicyclist in California, let me just say, all 3 people who have ever hit me while riding, have been an east Asian. Just a coincidence when I live in a mostly caucasian/latino area? Maybe, but probably not.

    I found this page after getting hit at an intersection by an Asian teen yesterday who was not obeying the rules of the road, speeding through a stop sign without a turn signal while reading his phone. I’m lucky to be alive, thanks to my helmet.

  24. I HOPE ALL F-CKING WHITE PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DIE A VERY HORRIBLE AND PAINFUL DEATH SOON!!!! I HAVE ALREADY PLACED A DEATH CURSE ON ALL OF THEM!!!! MAY THEY ALL FUCKING ROT AND BURN IN HELL FOR ALL ETERNITY!!!!

  25. Asians cannot drive anywhere in the world. but in Asian they all drive like that, it’s an unorganized flow of plying chicken. it work if everyone is together on it, but put asian in American city and bang. I have had my caddy and towncar hit 4 times while parked, in front of my house. But the Asian girls destroy American girls……………until they become one overnight at the mall.

  26. Oh god, I am from California. Here the worst drivers are inland whites and coastal Asians. In the bay area, the roads have lesser speed limit. But these Asians have trouble understanding road signs and seeing cars while taking turns. I was almost near death because of them. You really dont want to drive inland here. The whites cannot drive here at all. They cut in suddenly and even take rough turns.

  27. A 17 year old asian girl just whipped a uturn directly into oncoming traffic despite the huge “left turn yield to green” sign. she got smashed. then, after the accident, she drove down the block, put on her brakes at a green light, and continued straight.
    i rest my case.

  28. Let me fix those stats a little;

    15.0 per 100,000 Hispanic/Latino people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003). The accident was caused by some dumb@ss ASIAN not knowing how to drive!

    15.6 per 100,000 white people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003). The accident was caused by some dumb@ss ASIAN not knowing how to drive!

    21.8 per 100,000 men died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003). The accident was caused by some dumb@ss ASIAN not knowing how to drive!

    25.9 per 100,000 American Indian or Alaska Native people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003). The accident was caused by some dumb@ss ASIAN not knowing how to drive!

    25.9 per 100,000 Asian/Pacific Islander people died from motor vehicle injuries in USA 2001 (NCHS, 2003)…NUFF SAID!!!!

  29. Just wanted to say– I’m unsure of the truth of this statement but I’m an American currently living in Japan, and though I’ve heard that the exam to get your license is hellishly strident here, I still am afraid to get on my bike every day to cycle to work. I’ve been hit once already by an older woman in a truck who pulled out of a side street quickly when she was supposed to yield, and almost hit by another car when I was lying in the road, dazed after flipping over my bike. I often find that the drivers here don’t pay attention to pedestrians or cyclists (who both can use the sidewalk) at crosswalks– they’re too busy driving over the speed limit and pulling out into traffic at random. A few of my gaijin coworkers have also been hit by cars– one got sent to hospital– but we all had drivers who stopped and made sure we were okay. It was nothing like that horrific accident in China recently when that baby got hit by a truck, then run over by another vehicle and passed by several pedestrians before she got taken to hospital. The bottom line is that drivers have a responsibility to ensure that they don’t kill others or themselves when on the road– but I feel that a lot of drivers, regardless of race, feel invincible in a car and are too reckless.

  30. I can understand the who social psych explanations for why Asian drivers might be considered bad. Sure, people do like to confirm prejudices. BUT coming from Perth, Australia, where there is a very significant and growing Asian population (including a large amount of students from various South-East Asian countries), I can tell you that it is a common and often enforced stereotype. And yes, we’ve also got our fair share of young, reckless bogans contributing to poor driving.

    Ok, yes, we don’t notice the GOOD Asian drivers, because they’re like anyone else on the road. And ok, there may be a high amount of fatalities from young, white males in Australia, but I have to say there is a significant different in the TYPE of bad driving. Young white males are more likely to exhibit reckless, arrogant, dangerous behaviour, but it is quite evident this is intentional, and obviously stems from a screw-you or “hot chick, watch my sick driving!” attitude. The response to this kind of driving (and this often encompasses most Perth drivers, who especially HATE merging) often brings the response: you f****** (whatever else you want to put in there). But Asian drivers appear to be some completely different. For example, today my partner experienced a car doing 80 in a 100 zone. Ok, no biggy. But, as they passed, the car sped up to 140kmh and went off into the distance. Next thing, they’re catching it again, it’s back doing 80. And guess what? Asian driver. Completely irrational, and no justification for it. And no apparent awareness anything is being done wrong. The response to a mistake made by an Asian driver is often, “what!?!?! Who DOES that, why does that even make sense to do it? GET OFF THE DAMN ROAD! You can’t drive!”

    Furthermore, I have first hand experience of a friend from Singapore (a student) who had got their license over there. A 5 minute trip to the video store with them one day nearly killed me. Literally. They did not know to stay in the left lane if you’re going well under the speed limit. They drove straight through a give way sign without looking. Straight through a roundabout. When turning right, they didn’t continue to stay left on the road they were pulling into, but ended up driving down the right hand side of the road. They didn’t know to indicate. All of this, they were completely unaware of, and if someone had beeped or yelled at them, they would have been confused. They admitted to not knowing the rules of a roundabout, or some road signs. I’ve also been almost knocked off my (road)bike by an Asian driver who obviously didn’t understand the concept of right of way. Probably the most common thing I experience from Asian drivers on the roads in merging without looking. Not deliberately cutting off. Just not noticing at all.

    So I suppose I’d like to say, I know the stereotype of the Asian driver can be driven by some degree of racism/confirmation bias, but my experience indicates a large amount of poor driving does come from Asians, and I would say mostly those not raised in Australia. Perhaps this is to with the issue of international driver’s licenses and not checking knowledge of Australian road rules upon entry. It is undeniable that there is a certain “style” of driving which could be considered characteristically “Asian”, which is not the same as deliberate disregard for other road users which one normally experiences from other Perth drivers.

  31. My mom said all my life that Asians tend to be bad drivers. Then, one time, we were watching a sitcom, and the “bad Asian drivers” stereotype came up. And we just looked at each other like, “HOLY CRAP IT’S A STEREOTYPE!”

    My mom had never, in her life, heard that other people had observed this. I was a teenager before she knew it was a thing. To me, that makes her observation on the subject both impartial and valid.

    The thing is, Asians typically don’t seem to be “bad drivers” as in irresponsible. I rarely notice one speeding or breaking other laws. I don’t see a lot of selfish, me-first kinds of errors, either. So I doubt there’s a lot of self-awareness there.

    No, it’s the honest mistakes that stand out. I live in a very racially diverse large city, and probably 50-60% of the time somebody just makes a completely “What the hell do you think you’re doing?” boner, that person is Asian. It’s not a wide majority, but it’s noticeable in a city like this.

    It makes me feel like there’s a tendency to not be particularly observant. Once a guy tried to turn left from the third lane from the left (not a turn lane) and nearly hit both me and a light pole trying to decide what to do about it. The scariest drive I’ve ever taken was about a 3 mile round trip with a Filipino immigrant at the wheel.

    My observation of people I actually know is that there’s not a marked difference between Asian American drivers and any other American driver, so I too suspect that the problem is cultural and related to immigrants.

    I’ve known Asians who are truly good drivers, and people of other races who can’t drive for the life of them. But there’s definitely a disproportion, and I suspect that would be fully upheld if I actually kept track of the traffic errors I see.

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  33. Okay, whomever is reading my comment I want you to this…
    Take your fingers (one finger for each eye) and pull on the outer corners of each eye to give them that traditional Asian-eye shape to them.
    How well can you see?
    How is your perifferal vision?
    Is your vision limited in any way?

    I know it sounds racist, picking on Asians for their driving skills. I do it myself and the reason being in my multicultural neighborhood is because almost everytime I’ve had a close call, the driver is usually an Asian female spaced out daydreaming about only god knows what. It happened to me twice today and I had to honk at them to alert them to what they’re doing wrong. A clueless Asian lady thought her right of way was before my right of way. That lady came way after to the 4 way stop-sign after I was already sitting there waiting for my turn. In fact the car infront of her had right of way over me and I started my turn when she decided to dodge out. Her turn wasn’t even next after my turn, other cars had the right of way after me. I honked and she was completely clueless to what she was doing.

    Another incident, I’m turning left along with other cars ahead and behind me on an advanced left turn light. This lady ran a 10 second redlight and would’ve hit my vehicle on my drivers side. I honked because I caught her running the red out of the corner of my eye and she stopped just in time. Like a deer caught in headlights. Yeap, she was Asian go figure.

    Dropping my daughter off to and from work and there’s idiots everywhere! Drivers (all ages/races) thinking because they’re in an outlet mall they can just dive out of parking exits forcing drivers on the road to slam on their brakes. I was driving on a road and some idiot (not Asian) decided to do a left turn cutting across right infront of me, I had to slam on the brakes. A similar situation with some old Asian lady, I drive an Escalade, how do you do a left infront of me where I have to slam on the brakes so I don’t plow into your drivers seat killing you. When you honk, they’re completely oblivious to the point where you say to yourself, what stupid instructor passed them at the Ministry of Transportation? There’s shitty drivers from all races but I find it’s more frequent (personal experiences) that an Asian female, next male has no sense when it comes to driving. They’re always second guessing themselves. Worst was when a caucasion Portugese decent ran a solid redlight almost killing me and my unborn child, killed my sister-in-law, he did 2 years less a day.

  34. Im south east asian guy, so im an asian. I got my license through written and driving test and i passed. In canada encounter countless of bad drivers. I am legally right of way while a chinese prick is on merging lane he is supposed to go behin me…no he forced his way almost pushing me off road. I swear a lot of these chinese drivers in high end cars bribed the drivig instructor or had fake license.

  35. White people need to get over themselves. You are not the only self aware people on the planet. Despite white people being incredibly narccistic about their own driving skills, it is absolute rubbish that Asians lack “self awareness” of their surroundings. It is the biggest load of trash I’ve heard. They simply don’t care about you or your stupid aggressive driving and don’t feel the need to retaliate like an animal.

  36. To tell you the true, I kind of do think that SOME Asians people are bad drivers. I’ve been to China before and the drivers were really bad. But hey, think of this way. Not all Asian people are bad drivers. It’s just that some don’t really put an effort on driving, and some don’t actually care.

  37. I am a chinky, and I raced once in Macau GP, and currently getting my CRMA super-bike license.

    lol YOUR ARGUMENT IS INVALID!

    its the non-motor enthusiasts you should worry about. ESPECIALLY FOR NERDY ASIANS!!

    try drive in russia or mexico… damn these guys are either road-warriors or invincible.

    keep an eye on badly kept cars (regardless of driver’s race, could be a black person too)
    everytime you see a poorly running car, IE, dents, engine noises, LOUD pipes on a cheap honda. NOTE! STAY AWAY~!!!

    Then again, could be your family genes, my dad was a bike racer during the 80′s

  38. I don’t think it matters whether they are good or bad, that fact that there are more and more on the road means that we need to change the laws to something that they actually understand.

    1. the four way stop…..there is no way to explain the law to an asian, even native born (my best friend is chinese and I asked him what the rule for a four way stop was…he was confused), it seems arbitrary to them and the one down the street has actually caused a fatality even though all four parties stopped…don’t ask.

    2. No U-turns….this is an impossible feat and takes a light and a half.

    3. whatever the speed limit is…this is the max, it is best to go 10-20 under.

    4. Pause at all lights, they might turn red. But don’t always stop fully for the red ones…often its best to stop in the middle.

    5. Always use the brake to control your speed and according to my friend you should always keep one foot on the brake as you might need to stop quick…..

    6. Never pass a semi, it’s best to stay parallel with them.

    7. The herd mentality is best when driving…pick the slowest car and surround, not letting others pass.

    8.MOST IMPORTANT when you see a cop, STOP! No matter where you are or how fast you are going. As my friend informed me after I ignored his screams of STOP! COP! it is the polite thing to do.

    9. Almost forgot…the most important accessory you can have in your car is the towel covering the drivers side window, as vanity always trumps safety.

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  40. What gets me about the statistics shown is that they don’t show the steriotyped people correctly. Google Asian and see what contries pop up. It’s not just China and Japan, it includes as far north as Russia. Which will slough the Asian percentage. I still strongly agree that “Asians” or Chinese people are by far the worst drivers.

  41. There are certainly bad drivers of all races and colors. I do notice when going into the Korean neighborhood near my town, almost everyone pulls out w/o looking, slams on brakes for no reason and sometimes just stops and doesn’t do anything for several seconds; like they forgot how to drive at all. My Asian friends are mixed on this issue; some of them are fine drivers and laugh at the bad ones; some one them ARE the bad ones. I hate riding with them. They just don’t pay attention, like they are clueless. It’s very strange.

  42. @Nayeli oh so now “forcing long distances between cars” is considered “BAD DRIVING”? hmm… methinks you yourself are quite the ignorant and unsafe driver. Let’s hear you criticize “long distances between cars” when you get into your next 4-car chain accident hm?

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  44. Yea it is probably true that Asians are “safer” drivers if you want to define “safer” as less accidents. TRUE. However, like many people have said here before, so often do I find that when someone makes a completely unthoughtful/unaware move on the road, it is so often Asian/middle eastern/old people. The moves are often so annoying that you just want to yell at them for their stupid move… not for being an a-hole. The a-holes are probably the ones that get into accidents, but at least i can go the speed limit when i drive around them. I just wonder if a lot of it is cultural…I am sure as a white person driving elsewhere, the locals would notice idiosyncrasies that i do that are typical of my “type.” seriously nothing to be offended about and i dont know why people get fussy when there is a stereotype..yes white people are more angry and aggressive. its true. i am not offended. it is part of the culture that i was raised in :)

  45. I actually used to be fine with people joking about stereotypes, because where I lived before, people thought of them simply as jokes. But since i moved to an area that is predominantly white, and really started to feel the effects of being a minority, it has started to get on my nerves. Where I am now, people seldom seem to be culturally aware. Its cool to notice how people tend to act (I have “observed” that lots of white people tend to be unduly arrogant if we want to go there) but dont just assume that everyone from that certain group is like that and treat us all the same. If I did what a lot of the other commenters are doing, then I would have expected all white Americans as obese, arrogant, racist pigs, then I probably wouldn’t have ever made friends. (And there were some exceptionally racist comments made here to support the racist white people stereotype.) Still, don’t just use someone’s race to automatically predict their skills or personality. There is so much variety in every ethnicity, and there are so many more acceptions to these stereotypes than we could ever imagine. I don’t mind if you believe you are “observing” a tendency (although, there are probably many psychological biases interfearing with a true observation) but please don’t just write it off as though we are all the same according to our ethnicity.

  46. I actually used to be fine with people joking about stereotypes, because where I lived before, people thought of them simply as jokes. But since i moved to an area that is predominantly white, and really started to feel the effects of being a minority, it has started to get on my nerves. Where I am now, people seldom seem to be culturally aware. Its cool to notice how people tend to act (I have “observed” that lots of white people tend to be unduly arrogant if we want to go there) but dont just assume that everyone from that certain group is like that and treat us all the same. If I did what a lot of the other commenters are doing, then I would have expected all white Americans as obese, arrogant, racist pigs, then I probably wouldn’t have ever made friends. (And there were some exceptionally racist comments made here to support the racist white people stereotype.) Still, don’t just use someone’s race to automatically predict their skills or personality. There is so much variety in every ethnicity, and there are so many more acceptions to these stereotypes than we could ever imagine. I don’t mind if you believe you are “observing” a tendency (although, there are probably many psychological biases interfering with a true observation) but please don’t just write it off as though we are all the same according to our ethnicity.

  47. I can’t say this for all Asian people (my Korean friend drives fairly well) but Asian people tend to drive very aggressively and flip other cars off more often than others. Since the beginning of 2013 I’ve seen 43 serious car accidents involving someone of Asian descent, and during the past week I’ve been flipped off by two Asian drivers. Both times I was at a red light (no turn on red) and the car behind me began honking incessantly. both drivers drove super fast to get around me, just to slam on their brakes at a red light :) both drivers fit the “small penis, fast foreign car, single, short” stereotype, but then again, there’s tons of bull-headed drivers here in my area.
    Source: EMT 8 yrs.

  48. It’s just a difference in culture- in Asia, they drive like that. In other countries, they don’t drive like that. You can’t really suddenly adapt to a new road role as soon as you start living in a new country.
    And have people forgotten that Honda, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Suzuki- all those cars you see out there that aren’t flashy, expensive European cars are made in Japan, which is in Asia?

  49. Asian people are indeed the worst drivers ever! I was born and raised in Chinatown (Los Angeles), CA..I could attest that Asian people are the worst of the worst drivers! I think it stems to the fact that they (Asians) cannot respond in adequate time to traffic situations! Asian people are well known for “MEMORIZING” equations and formulas…i.e., Math and Science! However, when it comes down to think quickly and react intelligently, they fail miserably!

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  56. Yes they are terrible! They can’t even walk right, let alone drive! I see it all the time since I have the unfortunate advantage of living close to flushing, NY!

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  58. Are Asian drivers bad, YES.
    Are all Asian drivers bad. Mostly. I live in California, and yes, they don’t know how to drive a car. How could they? They don’t use their rear view mirrors, they wear these huge dishwasher elbow length gloves and have these face shields aka welding shields, and they drive down the street smashing into everything they (can’t see) which seems to be a lot. You can’t get them to drive the speed limit, but they can crash into you no problem. Here is a little test. Go to Apple in Cupertiono or some other high tech place in the bay area, look at all the newer Lexis’s, BMW’s, Audi’s and what-not and look at the back of the car and or passenger side of the car. All of the Asian owned cars have some kind of damage. I am talking cars less than 4 years old. Damage on most of them. Cupertino Ca is considered “Demolition derbyville” due to the high rate of Asian driver accidents, and the high Asian population in the city.

  59. I would say it is a matter of education. I spend a lot of time in Asia (which includes India) and there is no doubt that the roads there are mayhem, with most countries stating quite bluntly how deadly their streets are. I always have a driver for reasons of self-preservation.

    Maybe the skills improve a bit when Asians emigrate to the West but certainly in the US, the drivers’ education programs are so poor and easy to pass that they do not help much. In Europe, Asians are not identified as issue drivers, for example, probably because of the more stringent tests that need to be overcome (especially Germany).

    So, we only have ourselves to blame here in the US. We set the bar low and then folks from countries with even lower bars don’t have any reason to improve. Thankfully in California, Asians are easy to spot as they mostly like to lease Mercedes-Benz cars because they believe it confers status – great for the German economy!

  60. I would like to start by saying that I mean no disrespect to the Asian community but I do have a few observations that I have made over the my years of driving. Over my many years of driving I have had the misfortune of having three traffic accidents in my lifetime. The first, I was struck twice by he same driver in the parking lot of a shopping mall, my car was not moving. The other driver was leaving a parking space, reversing into lot. The second, I was struck by a cab on a New York City street, shortly after I had parallel parked my car and was about to exit. The third and most recent, I was stuck in heavy traffic only to have my car totaled by a range rover reversing at full speed into the front of my car in an attempt to drive around the disabled vehicle in front of him. At the time each of these accidents occurred, I was either parked or at a complete stop. Each of these motorists that I had encountered were in-fact of Korean descent. When I had told my friends shortly after the third accident, one of my closest friends, Korean herself, asked me if the other driver was Asian. I live in a multi-ethnic community and have always thought of it as a place that represents a wide cross-section of society. I am never one to judge people based on race or ethnicity, but the evidence presented in these observations is too compelling to ignore.

  61. Everyone of the comments above are full of crap. The statistics in the United States shows the worse drivers are, from worse to best, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, than Asians. All the stereotyping don’t mean squat. Facts are facts and the facts are that Asian per rate are the superior drivers in the U.S.

  62. Every one of the comments above are full of crap. The statistics in the United States shows the worse drivers are, from worse to best, Hispanics, Blacks, Whites, than Asians. All the stereotyping don’t mean squat. Facts are facts and the facts are that Asian per rate are the superior drivers in the U.S.

  63. Motor Vehicle Traffic Fatalities, by Race and Ethnicity, 2002-2006
    Of the 42,708 people killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2006, 58 percent were
    White as compared to 13 percent who were Hispanic and 11 percent who were
    African-American.
    The overwhelming majority of the 27,348 drivers killed in 2006 were White
    (17,220), followed by African-Americans and Hispanics (2,704 and 2,681,
    respectively).
    Table 1
    Fatalities, Population, and Fatality Rates, by Race and Ethnicity, 2006
    Race and Ethnicity Fatalities Population Fatality Rate per
    100,000 Population
    Hispanic 5,405 44,054,348 12.27
    White 24,816 198,588,666 12.50
    African-American 4,511 36,646,317 12.31
    American Indian 704 2,258,877 31.17
    Asian 508 12,712,370 4.00
    Native Hawaiian or
    Other Pacific Islander 57 410,101 13.90
    Total *42,708 298,754,819 14.30
    Population – U.S. Bureau of the Census
    *Includes 6,707 All Other Races and Unknowns
    Note: Since race and ethnicity were known for only 88 percent of the fatalities, fatality rates in each
    race and ethnicity category are underestimated.
    2002 2003 2004 2005 2006

  64. I am an American-born Japanese who lives in Rowland Heights, CA which has a large Chinese/Taiwanese immigrant population. When the light turns green with the pedestiran figure, I am about to step down from the curb into the street. This FOB Chinese man driving a minivan with his kid next to him, makes a right turn. It’s a good thing I didn’t dash out into the street when the light turned green. This happened again when my husband and I were about to step down from the curb and cross the street on a green light. This FOB Chinese woman driving a minivan was in a mad rush (I suppose) to make a right turn before we could cross. My husband slapped the minivan as it drove past. Why are FOB Asian drivers always in a mad rush?! This has happend to me several times, so I really have to watch it before crossing the street.
    In another instance, my husband and I drove to the local mall. There is a T intersection once you drive in. There was a car to the left of us which was first. After that car went straight, it should have been our turn turn to go left. Instead, this minivan was coming from our right and the driver didn’t bother to stop and kept going. It was an FOB Chinese woman. Another FOB driver in a mad rush.

  65. One time I was in the left turn only lane. The green left turn arrow appeared, and I was making my left turn. There was an FOB Chinese driver making a left turn along side me. There was only one left turn lane, and I was in it! He was in the lane that goes straight. He looked at me and grinned. Then he turned right into a supermarket parking lot. If he had gone straight one block, he could have entered the lot from another driveway since supermarkets have multiple entrances into the parking lot.

    I have an ABC friend who lives in Monterey Park, CA which is another Chinese immigrant town. He said Chinese drivers drive crazy in his town too. He said that at stop signs, it is his turn to go, but he has to be very careful. One time, it was his turn to move. He was planning to go straight. Suddenly, the other car facing him made a left turn without even signalling. He said it was an FOB Chinese.

  66. Here in the SF bay area there are lots of rotten, clueless, narcissistic cretins behind the wheels of their rolling deadly weapons. In the last few years it’s become a trend with certain drivers to drive with their headlights off in the dark, sun visors down at nighttime and when they do have their headlights on they drive with their f-ing high beams lit. And they never dim them when you flash your high beams at them multiple times. And don’t get me started on the mother f-ers that blow red lights! The dullards who don’t know that you’re supposed to gain speed while entering the freeway, not go 35 MPH while playing with their f-ing cell phones. I’m seriously perplexed as how some of these people can master achieving a bevy of college degrees but become neurotically absent when in the driver’s seat! I could go on and on, but what’s the point. I’ve been an accident free driver for 30 years, and I have witnessed the quality of driving here in the bay area curdle significantly within the last decade or so.

  67. This can’t be debated unless “bad driver” is defined. There are plenty of bad drivers that aren’t Asian, but the type of bad driver an Asian is is very distinct. They aren’t aggressive, or offensive, or just jerk’s who could care less if they cut someone off. Asians are slow, lost, confused, and often times completely oblivious of how their driving affects others.

    The statistics were interesting. Men and Asians get in the most wrecks; that is saying something…maybe to look out for Asian men driving.

    Wreck and injury statistics,however, may not be indicative of driving skills. A lot of us have probably encountered bad Asian drivers, but have we ever wrecked because of one? I find that bad Asian drivers are usually identifiable as such because of how slow they are going. Like 10 mph on the highway slow. They make sure to tick off everyone and make sure everyone knows that they suck at driving, but are going so slow that no wreck (and therefore no statistic) actually occurs.

    Asians exhibit behavior that is extremely noticeable and therefore get noticed (as bad drivers) more often. Noticeable behaviors include going 10 mph on a freeway, reversing in a traffic circle, coming to a complete stop in moving traffic for no apparent reason, driving in multiple lanes at once, merging without ever knowing they merged, waiting for an eternity for a large enough break in traffic to pull out, accelerating while braking, changing lanes at speeds well below that of moving traffic, and, of course, being oblivious to their surroundings.

    That is what people mean when they say that Asians are bad drivers and that is why they stand out amongst all other bad drivers.

  68. @JimBowman

    All statistics need to be normalized. If you were to look at the statistics in China you would find that mostly Chinese people get in wrecks. If you were to look at stats in Mexico you would find that mostly Mexicans get in wrecks. And, of course, in the U.S. where 72.4% of all people are white, the majority of wrecks are by whites.

    Normalize all the statistics and then post them again. I’d be curious to see them. I did a quick calculation using the numbers you posted and whites still come out worse than Asians so your conclusion may be correct, but how you arrived at that conclusion is flawed.

    I also offer this question:

    Are bad drivers those that die in traffic collisions? There are a lot of good drivers that die every year and in most cases the bad driver, or the person at fault, survives. I propose that traffic deaths would have zero correlation with driving skills.

    And this question:

    Are Asians causing others to get into wrecks, while not getting into a wreck themselves? Bad Asian drivers could be driving up (no pun intended) the number of traffic collisions for other ethnicities.

    The first thing we need to do is define what constitutes a bad driver. Then we can look for statistics that match that definition. Right now the arguments are as good as “Asians aren’t bad at driving because 65% of apples are green”. You can say that you are giving “the facts”, but unless there is a correlation the facts are useless.

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