After the rather serious thread on “How to pass the Taiwan driving test”, I got to thinking how those of us who have lived here for a while could help educate nubies and others about how to really drive here… perhaps we can collect some favorite manouvers?
Let me get things started:
Right turn to major street without looking
Description: Make a right turn onto a major street without checking to see if there is traffic coming. Other cars will need to brake or swerve to avoid you, but that’s okay.
Method: To do this successfully you need to check just far enough down the street to check for anything that couldn’t avoid hitting you. Took me quite a while to resist the temptation to take a glance back - try to focus on knowing you will get there first if you do not hesitate.
Red lights don’t apply at night or holidays
Description: A traffic law you might have missed is that red lights can be viewed as ‘light green’ when you are in a hurry or it is quiet.
Method: This can get messy if you don’t get it right. Base you decision on: Are you in a hurry? (Taiwanese always are), will you get caught?, does the traffic look light?, is the street you are about to cross usually empty at this time? Slowing first to take a glance and then flooring the gas is okay for beginners.
Right turn is quicker from left lane
Description: Why wait in line on the right lane, when you can pass the queue on the left and make the turn from there.
Method: Pretty straightforward, just avoid eye contact with other drivers.
Higher points for a smooth ride
Description: Manhole covers are uncomfortable to ride over on a scooter. You will get 5 points for every one you miss.
Method: Try to drive from Hsin Dian to Nei Hu without driving across any manhole covers. Swinging around is okay. It gets harder as you go faster, but you loose points if you are late. Unfortunatly the points can’t be redeemed for anything useful.
On motorcycles, don’t waste time and money on crash helmets for the kids
Description: Why bother putting crash helmets on your child (under 100cm height say)? They won’t complain, they trust you explicitly.
Method: Pretty easy, just don’t supply a helmet. You will save at least NT$200 (US$7), not to mention the time and bother. Babies can be carried by the parent on the pillion. They are immune to injury as we all know.
When traffic is conjested, cars should use all the available space
Description: When traffic is conjested try to use all available road space. This means driving your car into the center of junctions, using the shoulder and the motorcycle lanes. You will get stuck, but you will be (slightly) nearer your destination.
Method: Make sure you have a phone available or a TV in your car. This can help avoid you being distracted by angry drivers that you have cut off. This particularly applies when you are blocking the bike lane at night in the rain.