One of my friends her in Beijing got involved in a car accident last night. Luckily, none of them were injured badly, but it could have gotten really bad. They were on the highway when the taxi driver miscalculated the speed and distance to the car ahead, and crashed into it. An old taxi, no seat belts ... We really are putting our lives in the hands of the cab drivers, many of whom enjoy talking on their phones, texting, practicing Qi Gong, or entering a half meditative state whilst driving.
I guess I never really realised how dangerous traffic in China is, and I believe the reason for that is India. India is mayhem. Coming to China after India was like coming to europe - the traffic was so regulated and smooth. After a while here, thought, and as the image and memory of India is floating farther and farther away, I understand why many westerners fear taking to the roads here. Although there are no camels or cows on the roads, there are many bicycles, three-wheeled tuk-tuks and cars zig-zagging through the lanes, and speed limits - well, I haven't really seen any signs telling me what they are.
As before mentioned, most of the taxis don't practice the art of using seatbelt, or even making them available, so no-one is able to take the necessary precautions to avoid crisis in case of a crash. My friend was lucky, but others are not. So to all you people in places where seat belts are frequently used: use them! 'Cause we sure wish we could!