Sunday, September 29, 2013

I'm Hurt!!! Call A Tow Truck!!!

Recently, on two separate occasions, fellow English teachers and friends of mine in Korea have made comments about ambulances and tow trucks in Korea.

In Korea, when an ambulance is driving down the road with the lights and siren on, you won't see all the cars moving out of the way... at least not like you would in my home country (USA). Cars in Korea hear those sirens and generally the reaction is "FREEZE!". If the ambulance can go around the cars, it will. But if it can't... then it's stuck in traffic. I've seen a lot of EITHER situation.

On the other hand, when there's a car wreck, the tow trucks are not only there within a few minutes, but they are very aggressive drivers and they have flashing lights and loud sirens, also. It's illegal for vehicles in USA to 'pretend' to be emergency vehicles, so Korean tow trucks would be illegal.

So my friend says, "if we get into a car accident, have the tow truck drive me to the hospital..."

While that is a hilarious notion, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There are plenty of logical reasons for this.

1. Tow trucks compete for business. First tow truck at the scene gets the business. So they compete for this.

2. Tow trucks, or their companies' locations, can be more numerous than large hospitals and ambulances - especially in a huge city like Seoul.

3. Ambulances are obviously better equipped to deal with injuries... haha

4. Although tow trucks may be faster and more aggressive at getting to the scene, that doesn't mean ambulances are slow or insufficient. 

The differences can be funny and the concept is fun to bring up, but in the end it balances out pretty well and gets chalked up to cultural differences that are probably neither better nor worse than where I'm from.