Hey everyone! Today I wanted to post about a major difference in behavior across different cultures, and that behavior is how pedestrians are treated. In the USA the pedestrians always have the right of way, that means that if you are in a car or on a bike, you had better do your best to yield for pedestrians (even if they are jaywalking).
In Europe and Asia, that is simply not the case. As a pedestrian, it is your job to get out of the way of cars, who do not go out of their way to avoid hitting you. As far as Greece is concerned, the driving is crazy. I have never lived in such an insane driving atmosphere (in fact I haven’t even started driving here yet and we’ve been here for over a year). However, I have noticed that Greek drivers are willing to yield to pedestrians in two situations. The first is if the woman crossing the street is obviously pregnant (a new observation I have been able to make) and the second is if the person crossing the street has small children with them. Last year my father in law traveled to several different Asian countries and said that he was almost hit by several vehicles, mostly motorbikes.
I’m not trying to scare you out of walking anywhere when you go on a trip. I’m just trying to make you aware that you need to be more careful when you are walking in a different country. That way you can avoid getting hurt. This is especially important if you are traveling to the UK, New Zealand, and Australia where you will need to look the opposite way before crossing the street (Travis learned this the hard way on a trip with his father before we got married and was almost hit by a car…). There are other countries with left-hand traffic as well including Cyprus (really close to us), India, and Pakistan among others.
So remember that old saying when you are a pedestrian in another country,
“Look before you leap,”
and be especially careful with your young ones.