Issue: A whole new experience for a driver
Paper Edition | Page: 8
July 8, p. 1
I’ve been driving for almost a year in the US, a country where I’ve started a new life. But there were times I didn’t think I’d ever get used to driving here.
Back home, people may think it’s easier to drive in America, with no overcrowded buses lurching from one lane to another and without motorbikes attempting to squeeze into every available space. There are no bajaj (three-wheeled motor taxis), no ojek (motorcycle taxis) and no becak (pedicabs).
For me, learning to drive here was like entering a thick, dark forest, where the trees and animals looked strange to me. It was scary. Even so, I kept going into that forest, one careful step at a time.
The first thing I had to do was change my way of thinking. The steering wheel isn’t on the right side anymore, it’s on the left — hard, especially when approaching intersections.
Soon, I learned that driving in America all started with the stop signs. (By Kamellia Soenjoto Smith)
Really? I have been told an urban myth that if you can drive a car here you can drive anywhere else in the world without problems.
It should be the other way around — if you can drive say in Sydney or Auckland, you should be able to drive here in Jakarta without problems.
Just go with the flow as it seems that there are no driving rules here, but watch out for the motorbike riders, cyclists and any other vehicles coming from all directions.
In response to the author’s comment about the protections for schoolchildren exiting school busses, I think Indonesians appreciate their children just as much as, if not more than, Americans and people of other nationalities. However, many people here prioritize emotional responses to problems over knowledge-based solutions.
This, combined with the general ineffectiveness of government bureaucracy, perpetuates Indonesia’s high rates of child accident mortality.
Perhaps in the next 50 years, Indonesia, especially Jakarta, will be on the same level as the US if we elect a true hero leader as president and push for clean government.
Selected comments will be published in the Readers’ Forum page of our print newspaper.