Hammer wrote:I haven't seen much "road rage" up here, just plenty of stupid, careless driving. Pulling out of a driveway or away from the curb without even looking to the right is one I see regularly. Super stupid and dangerous, so you always have to keep a close eye on vehicles that might do that. The trouble is that sometimes they're hidden behind a wall or another car and you have no way of even knowing they're there. People on bicycles riding on the road against the traffic is surprisingly common, too. It's illegal, but bicycle riders seem to believe that no laws apply to them at all. Swerving out suddenly to cross the road without even looking is the norm. And people who are at least smart enough to pull over and stop when talking on the phone sometimes pick the stupidest possible places to do it. One guy was pulled over and chatting away happily on the offramp from the expressway! I mean, seriously, wtf? I could go on and on, but so far I haven't seen anyone yelling at someone or threatening them in any way. Maybe I just don't drive in the right places. I have noticed that drivers in Tokyo are a lot more aggressive though. Lots more horn tooting than I hear up here.
I used to drive all over the MAG region (Mie, Aichi, Gifu) for work and pleasure. No problems other than the ones you just mentioned. I used to drive over to Hokuriku, up to Hokkaido and down to Kyushu and back for camping road trips. Same deal - not very many problems at all. Tokyo was congested and faster paced, but still not all that bad. Then Okinawa...nothing like it in the rest of the country.
Bases taking up 20% of the land, 40% or more of the arable land. Close to 50,000 troops and dependent family, and the community of contractors that support them. No rail system. A bus system no-one understands, that is constantly late and almost unused except for students. A drive towards more and more tourism, and accompanying rental car explosion. Tourists are often involved in accidents due to their unfamiliarity with the driving culture here. The rules of the road are ostensibly the same, but the local aggression is usually a big surprise. Unregulated taxi industry, with virtually no license requirements for the so-called professional drivers, and vast fleets cruising in ever intensifying competition. Construction the only other biz doing much, flooding the roads with trucks of all sorts. A heavy focus on policing scooter/motorcycle parking and moving violations (except for bosozoku - they are left alone), thus discouraging riders from using the roads and encouraging more cars.
IMO, with such limited space and resources, they really ought to be doing everything they can to encourage riders and discourage drivers. The weather is fine for year-round riding, and so much congestion could be somewhat alleviated.