Third in a Series: 'I Will Not Do it Again'
by Ellison Langford / NEWS EDITOR
Feb 25, 2010 | 2901 views | 10 10 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Suihan Wu had just finished having coffee at Cambridge Coffee with some friends. It was close to 6 p.m. on March 25, 2009, and she was walking toward the library because she had a test she needed to study for.

Wu walked a little way down College Street, then turned right and started to cross the road. The light had just changed, but it was raining and she didn’t want to wait and get wet.

She didn’t see the car as it changed lanes to avoid hitting the two girls in front of her.

Wu said it wasn’t until she was lying on the ground that she realized she had been hit.

It was like being in a movie, she said.

She was in shock, the pain hadn’t hit her yet and everyone around her was speaking English — a language very unlike her native Mandarin.

“I didn’t feel the pain at that time, I just thought, ‘What happened?’” Wu said from a tall chair in the lab where she studies molecular biology. “The girl who hit me was crying, and the girl who was with me, she’s crying, too. And I said, ‘Please call 911 before you (cry anymore).’”

Wu said she was not seriously injured. She was taken to the hospital by an ambulance and was discharged soon after.

But she didn’t return to the lab for two weeks, she said.

Wu said she has not forgotten how fortunate she was not to have been killed.

“Without a crosswalk I will not cross the road,” Wu said. “Because I do not think I will be lucky forever. This time (it wasn’t serious) but that means next time is so lucky again. So I will not do it again.”

She hasn’t told her parents, who live in southern China, about her accident.

Wu doesn’t want them to worry about whether it is safe for her to study in Auburn and try to make her return home.

Wu came to Auburn because the University’s fisheries department is famous where she is from.

“Chinese students think if you want to learn real science you need to go to America,” Wu said.

She explained this is because many Nobel winners and others who excel in science are Englishspeaking and often from the U.S.

She said the university where she attended undergrad, the Ocean University of China, has an exchange program with Auburn.

Auburn is paying the tuition for her graduate program, Wu said, while the Chinese government pays for her living expenses.

China will want her to teach science when she returns, Wu said.

“I like the life here,” Wu said. “But I will go back to China.”

But while Wu came to Auburn expecting to pursue her doctorate studying molecular microbiology and researching pseudomonas aeruginosa, a bacterium that can cause disease in humans and animals, she did not expect to be hit by a car. The rules in China regarding pedestrians are different from those in the U.S., Wu said.

“In China, the pedestrians they always have the first right on the road,” Wu said. “They don’t care if you walk on the crosswalk or not.”

She added she thinks drivers in China are more watchful for pedestrians than drivers in America because of the different rules, and because there are more pedestrians there.

“I find that drivers here, because there are so little people who walk, (they don’t pay as much attention),” Wu said.

Also, in China, the driver is almost always held responsible for the accident because of how much a vehicle can hurt a person.

However, Wu found this was not the case for her accident. Because she was not obeying traffic laws, she was faulted.

She admitted she did not understand the rules are different here, and she wishes the University would inform its international students about the differences.

Especially since she thinks foreign students walk more than American students do.

“I get information about the medical, about the insurance, but it seems like we don’t get enough information about roads,” Wu said.

However, Wu has tried to do what she can to encourage her friends to be more cautious when they cross the road.

“I just hope it will not happen anymore,” Wu said.

Comments-icon Post a Comment
March 04, 2010
The bottom line is I don't understand what is so different about the US traffic laws and "attitudes towards pedestrians". Just use the crosswalks and check the road even if you are using the crosswalk; if you still got hit, that is the "driver's" fault. If you are doing something else, you are taking a huge risk and the "pedestrian" may be at fault. Is there anything else to know? It doesn't matter where in the world you are coming from; if you have cars and roads, you can't be "unaware" of these.

If you or Ms.Wu is referring to medical insurance, car insurance, litigation etc., that is different. I completely agree with the fact that "foreigners" are "unaware" with what's involved.
March 02, 2010
Good luck with your "scientific evidence".

It proves some foreign students have a hard time adjusting to our traffic laws. Not all, but some.

It doesn't imply foreign students don't have common sense. It implies that they are unaware of the laws and attitudes towards pedestrians in our country.

I think that is pretty good logic.

I can't help people feel that's what was implied. Maybe they shouldn't over analyze things?

Fact or not, that's what I think.
March 02, 2010

This article proves nothing because it is just an excerpt from a single student. It doesn't provide any scientific evidence, it doesn't refer to any study; it is just what Ms. Wu thinks. I don't think you can vindicate yourself just based on this story.

and just a reminder; the comment made to the original article was implying that "foreign" people don't have common sense and they just jump in front of cars. Even if we accept this story as factual, the comment made to the original article still doesn't make sense.

here is the original version:

"I notice a lot of people don't look before crossing roads. They just step out in front of cars. I think it's mostly foreign people that have this problem."

February 27, 2010
I don't give a damn if there is a cross walk or not, people are jackasses so you better wait until that car is stopped at the crosswalk before you cross even if it has raised pavement. I've seen cars jumped the crosswalks with raised pavement like they were on the dukes of hazzard. And yes people don't walk as much in America as in China. That's why we've got a bunch of lard asses in this state.
February 25, 2010
here is an observation.

honestquestion is a fool.

here is an opinion

The sorority slut that hit this young lady should be crucified for not just not paying attention while driving, but all so for texting while driving. Is a human life not worth enough to you to put your phone down?. I dont care that she wasnt walking in a crosswalk, as the driver of a vehicle-that can potentially kill-you should be aware of your surroundings at ALL times. Not just when it is convenient.

February 25, 2010
how does making fun of the mentally handicap make you any better than "proof"?

maybe ignorance and failure to understand community standards is not limited to anarchists.

Your otherwise understandable argument was ruined because you just sound like an idiot making fun of people. I don't know what it will take for people to realize that some people just say shit for the "shock and awe" value. Best way to deal with them? Ignore them. By making comments like you did just emboldens them and keeps them around.

Are you the right person to be questioning someones maturity and telling them to "grow up"?

I don't know. Just making an observation.
February 25, 2010
A couple weeks ago, I commented on an article about the gentleman who got hit in front of Lowder. I got called a racist because I said since he was foreign and might not have known about the traffic laws here in the States. For that, I was called a racist (What is the politically correct term for a foreign student?).

This article proves I am right.

Students from other countries are generally not aware of our soft traffic laws and they take walking out into the street for granted. It doesn't matter what major or level of education foreign students have, they need to know that the traffic laws are different here. There is NOTHING racist about that.

I would like to know how all those people, including Plainsman Editor Ms. Davidson, feels about being the ignorant ones in this debate. You can't deny other countries have different laws. You can't deny that foreign students are not aware of our laws. If you do then I will just keep laughing at your ignorance.

I have more sympathy for the Chinese People than the Chinese Government. I am sorry Ms. Wu had to experience a terrible thing, but I hope she continues to help her people. Maybe one day her people can get on sites like this and bad mouth their government like "proof" did.

P.S.: Grow up "proof", the short bus will be by shortly.
February 25, 2010
I applaud this girl for working hard and coming to America for a better chance at an education.

I am sorry that we have failed her in terms of her safety. Because that American student was texting (i know her boyfriend) on her phone that night, in the rain, she almost ruined this girl's chances at a better life.

I am sorry, Suihan. I'm sorry that you had to have this happen to you in our worthless, selfish country. We care only about ourselves. That girl almost killed you and YOU had to ask her to call 911. Did you catch which sorority she was in? Was she wearing Ugg boots and Nike shorts?

I hate America

February 25, 2010
Stop the slideshow
c'mon man
February 25, 2010
its really difficult to read an article when the text is constantly jumping around the page due to the differences in the size of the embedded photos.