About driving in china

A few things I have noticed about the differences between Chinese and western traffic rules, driving cultures. And keep in mind these findings are the thing I have noticed in Cixi, Ningbo, China, a small town, which means the findings might be different in larger cities like Beijing or country side.

  1. The speed is the first thing I have noticed. People drive WAY too SLOW in China! You can barely see people driving over 50 in the city, and over 100 on the high way.

2. The cars. There are way too many cars in China. In the past 10years, the economic growth has improved the quality of living, which includes owning in the past know as accessories, the car. I have noticed a lot more cars on the road each time I’m back, which also explains the slow driving habit (the roads is too full for you to drive fast).

3. Traffic lights. I can’t read traffic light anymore! They seems so damn complicated (which is also I have noticed since I’m back, everything is so complicated, so many options, choices to chooses from). Each directional line, right, left and straight have it’s own light. Which made it so overwhelmingly to read, it takes me a few seconds to realize there was a light to beginning with, because they are smaller, and grouped together, and hard to notice. Then I have to find the right light for me line, and follow the indications (the turning lines always have different lights than straight lines).

4. The cameras! There are traffic cameras everywhere! At every lights, every entrance and exit to the traffic. People turn to oboe the traffic rules more carefully, I barely saw people drove through a yellow light, change over solid lines, go over the speed limits, or anything could catch them on the cameras and get a fine.

5. The rules. Finally about the rules, I have to say it’s a complicated situation here. People would try to get away from anything or violate the rules as long as it won’t make them in trouble or get a ticket. One thing is pretty obvious, is that people don’t seem to care about dotted lines. You can see cars riding on the lines more often than being in the lines. One reason I think is because there are many scoters on the road and some of them ride in the traffic so cars had to avoid them by lying towards the left. Another reason is because they just never had the habit to drive in the line. Take my mom as an example, she likes to drive on the line if no cars around her, she feels there are more space therefor safer for her, I guess.

7, Right of way!! There is no such a thing as right of way in China. Everybody is the right of way. I might be over exaggerating but you may have a pretty actuate idea of what the traffic is like in China. Most car drivers would oboe the rules to avoid the fines however, scoters, bicycles, or pedestrians won’t be bothered if they break the rules. They don’t seem to have a sense of red, yellow, or green. All lights are green lights to them. There is no going over to the center and then make the turn, people turn to go to any directions as they wish. I still don’t now how to turn left in an intersection without left turning traffic lights. My mom once asked me to speed up to make a left turn on a green light when the upcoming traffic is coming close. I was scared.

8, The crowd. One thing I have to learn is that if I don’t try to squash my way in to a traffic I would never be able to. If I try to keep the distance as I usually do in Canada, I would always ended up in the last of the line, because people would try to get to the front as much as they can. If I try to be polite and let people in when they want to turn into my line, I will never go anywhere. Take my mom for another example, she would tell me to change to a short line while waiting for the light; even it only makes me one car ahead. Her reasonable is that that would make her 1 sec a head and would have a slightly more chance to pass the traffic when it’s green. When I’m on the road I have to be 100% alert, because there could be some random pedestrians, bicycles or scoters trying to cross the fast moving traffic like they are invincible. But one thing that may contribute to the Miracle of not killing or to be killed in China is the slow speed; you can make an easy complete stop when you notice a danger.

I have to say it’s very exciting to drive in China, more fun even, but finger crossed for me not getting killed here.

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