Put the stereotype of “bad Asian drivers” to rest — it’s simply untrue.
Sure, you may have seen one or two going haywire on the road, but Asian drivers generally happen to be good. In fact, they are better behind the steering wheel than other races, taking actuarial data into account.
For one, statistics show that Asian drivers are the safest on US roads, the Augusta Free Press noted.
Apparently, the demographic’s fatality rate is at least three times lower than any other ethnic group — that’s about four deaths for every 100,000 people.
Whites, Hispanics, and Blacks follow at 12 deaths per 100,000, while Native Americans are in most danger at 32 deaths per 100,000.
Interestingly, Asian drivers also pay lower auto insurance rates, and this may have something to do with racial bias.
According to the Augusta Free Press, research shows that major auto insurers tend to take a racially-biased view on geography when setting premiums for all drivers in one area. For instance, good drivers in predominantly Black ZIP codes pay 70% more than similar drivers in predominantly White ZIP codes.
It is believed that Asians tend to live in predominantly White ZIP codes, which could explain, at least in part, their lower insurance rates.
On average, Asians pay an annual premium of about $815, which divides to $68 per month. That’s 10% less than the dues of the average American driver.
With Asians having good driving records and lower insurance rates, it’s clear that the myth of the “bad Asian driver” is merely that — a myth.
Despite the breadth of studies that debunk it, the stereotype persists in other people’s heads. Last year, over the Fourth of July weekend, drivers in Napa, California, came across a sign that read, “Caution Asian Drivers.”
And the stereotype is not confined on the roads. Back in 2013, when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 crash-landed in San Francisco, the internet was quick to condemn its Korean pilot, Lee Gang-guk.
NPR quoted tweets as saying:
“of course the Korean plane crashed. Asians can’t drive, what makes them think they can fly a plane”
“Just watched a video of a plane crashing. … had to be a asian pilot [emojis of Asian dude and crying smiley faces]”
“I’m wondering if the pilot of this plane that crashed from South Korea was Asian … they can’t drive anything! #NotAStereotype”
“Dayum asians cant drive… nd now they cant fly???bf*ckin chinks! Open ur eyes mof*ckers!”
Explaining the roots of the myth, Quora user Henry Lu cites two “elements” as a criteria to judge one’s driving: skills and attitude.
According to Lu, Asian drivers already have the skills — it is the attitude where the stereotype comes from.
“Attitude is where the ‘Bad Asian Driver’ stereotype stems from. The un-written rules are very different between a typical over-populated Asian city and a western one.
“In Asia, most people are in survival mode: you either get in the front of others or you lose out. The competition is just too much for people to derive a courteous way of interaction. This is not limited to driving, but walking, queuing, getting a seat on a subway and pretty much everything else. If you have lived there, you would understand.”
Lu believes Asian drivers must set aside their “overly competitive instincts.” If anything, he knows one “bad Asian driver” who needs to learn the lesson.
“This is exactly how my father drives. It took him a long time to realize it is not acceptable to be inconsiderate. Yet he still behaves like this from time to time – he knows it’s wrong but he can’t help it. His mind has been hard-wired to survival mode for too long.”
The fact remains, however, that Lu’s father is not all Asian drivers.
It’s time to put that myth to rest.
Featured Image via YouTube / KPIX CBS SF Bay Area