His language teachers later told him that he should have stayed lying on the road until a crowd formed. Then get up, blame the driver, and make demands. With a crowd around him, the children, and the driver, all passing judgment against the driver, she would be forced to negotiate and eventually pay something. That’s not what happened this time, and I thought it was interesting how it played out.
We haven’t had a traffic accident yet, but one of the German doctors who ate the frogs with us did last week. Interesting story from a cultural perspective.
He was driving an electric three-wheel cart (sān lún chē – 三轮车) with kindergarten aged kids in the back. A car trying to squeeze through a red light ahead of the vehicles turning left almost plowed into the sān lún chē. They both hit the brakes and he swerved so hard he fell off onto the road. Thankfully, the sān lún chē was designed for the cart to stay level even if the driver tipped over. He was scratched and shaken up a bit, angry and scared, but not really hurt. The kids were OK. The car stopped about half a meter away from them. And here’s where the rules come in.
Usually if there’s an accident the bigger vehicle is at fault, or at least partially at fault. Plus, this driver was clearly in the wrong by running the red light and driving out of her lane. But instead of lying in the road while a crowd formed, our friend got up off the road right away, slammed on the hood of the car and started trying to argue with the driver through the driver-side window. And that was her chance. She put both hands on the steering wheel and stared straight ahead, refusing to acknowledge that he was even there. It was infuriating, but with no crowd gathering around a victim in the road, she wasn’t forced to negotiate. Eventually he was forced to give up and they went their separate ways. But not before he loudly told her something like, “You have no courtesy,” and a taxi driver across the street laughed and gave him the thumbs up sign.
The driver’s reaction reminds me of the two girls we saw getting yelled at on Saturday; they just sat there as if the irate boyfriend/husband wasn’t there. I don’t know what all is going on with all this, but one day hopefully we will.