Countdown on the traffic lights

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Visiting a different country gives you a chance to notice the small everyday things that might be different to your own country. A case in point for me was the countdown on traffic lights in the Chinese city of Shenzhen.

When I reflected on the countdown on the traffic lights, I started to think about the concept of time and traffic congestion.

Chinese driving culture

Time in traffic congestion is not wasted time. Waiting at a traffic lights is a time for catching up on reading, making phone calls, sending text messages or returning emails. Its the sign of hustle for a non-stop operation. Shenzhen is the Chinese dream and the people here aren’t going to waste a minute if they can be hustling for an extra yuan or two.

Hands-free kits are the exception rather than the norm. I was in a car where a driver fished out assorted Nokia handsets out of pockets in traffic congestion to answer calls and phone other people. Business was conducted on the go.

I presume the countdown on the traffic lights was to try and prevent road accidents. Chinese drivers have adapted their practices that would drive your average British traffic police officer.  To better use this dead time that would be otherwise wasted. Drivers use the countdown on the traffic lights; as way of optimising their time reading, making phone calls, texting or eating. Once the lights are green, drivers are told how much time they have to get across the junction. More China related content here.