I feel like I have accepted driving in Korea fairly well. I get out; I get lost; I try again. I generally shrug off the antics of the taxis, buses, and aggressive Korean drivers. Then there was this week…

Was it Korean drivers? Was it me? Did I just start paying attention more? The honking is out of control. I feel like I have been honked at more this week than I have during my entire stay in Korea. At first I was surprised, then I was frustrated, and finally, I started making a list.

Reasons I Have Been Honked at This Week:

  1. Before running the red light, I stopped at the red light.
  2. I had just completed merging into the center lane, when a taxi decided he wanted that spot.
  3. I didn’t pull out in front of a bus, so the driver behind me honked.
  4. I waited for a green arrow before making a U-turn.
  5. I didn’t wait for a green arrow before making a U-turn.
  6. I honked at a truck blocking my garage. The driver returned the honk.
  7. I was helping to load and buckle three preschoolers into their mother’s car. Another driver honked to show his displeasure at needing to wait.
  8. As a pedestrian, I was crossing the street (I had the right-of-way), a scooter honked at me to let me know he was running the red light.
  9. I exist. It is not that I am doing something wrong or right, but that my mere existence somehow prevents the Korean driver from getting what he wants.

I feel that I am honked at most often not because I am doing something wrong, but because some drivers are incredibly impatient. My reactions have varied from confusion to amusement to righteous anger. I respond with answering honks, laughter, and lectures using my teacher voice.

I hope that next week returns to acceptable amounts of road rage.

Check out more of my thoughts on driving: How Driving in Korea is Like the Mob.

MARCH: 31 in 31


  1. Reply
    sandy gardner 24 March, 2014

    In Vietnam there is a constant symphony of honks. When we landed at LAX the kids couldn’t figure out what it was that seemed so odd about driving on the highway; it was the lack of honking!

    • Reply
      Bethany 25 March, 2014

      I’ve heard that Vietnam is the worst for honking!

  2. Reply
    김정순 13 May, 2014

    Some people can become a monster esily when they are driving .Even though they are gentle enough in normal life.
    Becase they can hide in mass.What a tough time you had!

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