Since arriving in South Korea I have always been baffled at the way people drive here. Whether it is motorcycles cruising down the sidewalk at breakneck speeds or public buses running red lights, it has never failed to shock me. One night while heading home from work my bus passed a terrible collision where a bus decimated a car. At least I assume it was a car, there was very little metal that resembled an automobile. While the gruesome image is still tattooed on my brain I knew that at some point I too would be apart of some form of automotive collision.
Today was that day, I am very fortunate in that the principal picks me up from my apatu (apartment) and saves me about 40 minutes of commuting time. The weather is very cold this morning and overnight we received a little bit of snowfall. So as we were making our trip to work we were a little more careful than we normally would be. As we approached the entrance to the school we had a car attempting to get back on the street. On thing about Korea, if you turn on your hazard lights you can park or do anything you need to, that said the car had pulled over to let off its passengers and resume driving on the street. The principal was attempting to get into the right lane where the car was entering the flow of traffic, the principal slowed down to let the car in and get behind it to make the turn into the school. As that was happening a huge crash that involved the rending of metal was heard from behind us. At the same time parts of metal flew just outside my window. We are not talking about small plastic and glass fragments but, large metal used to support people getting in and out of sport utility vehicles. I had not felt a jolt or any more serious injury and looked to the principal. We stopped the car at the entrance to the school and got out to survey the damage to his vehicle. It turns out that the two cars behind us had decided that they also wanted into their opposite lanes and did so at the same time. This resulted in the catastrophic damage of two relatively new vehicles. While parts were flying from the two cars we managed to escape unharmed. That has been the closest to personal injury since arriving in South Korea.
While not as dramatic as I made it out to sound initially, the odd thing was that in my opinion, the principal was at fault for causing the accident. Yet all we did was get out to inspect his vehicle and then not bothering to see if anyone was harmed in the collision got back in the care as calm as can be and park the car in his reserved parking space and then move on with our day. Just another day in Korea as far as the principal was concerned and yet back home I would have thanked my lucky stars that my truck had came out of it unscathed and then checked the other drivers to see if they needed assistance. That is a huge cultural difference or an indifferent principal, which I highly doubt is the case.