Motorbike accidents are one of the largest health concerns in Vietnam. Helmets should be worn at all times when riding motorbikes and bicycles, whether you are the passenger or the driver. Be sure your insurance covers you as a driver in Vietnam. If not, don’t drive a motor vehicle—it could nullify your insurance coverage. Seat belts should be worn at all times in cars, despite the local tendency to ignore them.
As a pedestrian, be aware that bikes do occasionally drive on the sidewalk to avoid congestion. Pedestrian crossings are regarded as relatively safe places to cross the road but in practice do not guarantee the pedestrian right of way. Crossing the road at any point may take some practice, as the Vietnamese are used to swerving around pedestrians to avoid interruption to the flow of traffic, and drivers may be confused by crossers who hesitate, stop in the middle to let traffic past, or who turn around to head back. Never cross in front of a bus even if it seems safe—drivers are known to accelerate without warning and rush into gaps. Look both left and right before crossing, even on a one way street.