I’ve been building up a head of steam about this for a while:
Lurchers: This species of Taiwan taxi driver hits the accelerator, hits the brakes, hits the gas, hits the brakes incessantly. It has nothing to do with any outside events. It’s entirely a psychological thing. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon from the back seat of a taxi without another car ahead of us for a hundred meters. I have no insight at all into what’s going on here.
Stompers: This species of Taiwan taxi driver stomps his brake hard at least once every hundred meters for no apparent reason. He accelerates normally and drives evenly for long stretches, so it’s particularly disorienting when he slams on his brakes as if he’s just spied a deadly dropoff masquerading as clear road ahead. The odd thing about this type is he has more near rear-end collisions than any other type of Taiwan taxi driver.
Betel-nut Bandit: you always know this type by their red-stained teeth and the leer you constantly catch them making back at you in their rear view mirror. I don’t speak Taiwanese but if I did I’d guess this type is thinking: “Man, we would’ve roughed that pussy up good in prison if we’d had him in there 'wif us. Now I just have to figure out how I’m gonna cheat him out of everything he has in his pockets before he can get out of my cab.”
The Living Dead Driver: this type is uncommon but not unknown on Taiwan’s highways and byways, though he’s mostly found out in Taiwan’s smaller cities and towns. Other than the fact that he’s steering and working the pedals, he shows no other signs of being alive. He utters sounds when addressed but nothing is remotely intelligible in any language. Exudes a constant stream of spittle. Ignores all traffic signals and other road markers. Cuts across lines of traffic wantonly, goes the wrong way down one-way streets – all at very slow speeds as if he’s supremely confident that because he answers to a higher authority no mere earthly policemen will dare bother him.
Mad Hatters: drive like bats out of hell. Have a slightly crazed look and seem very angry about something. You can catch them checking out your reaction after each death-defying maneuver with a mega-second glance as if you’re an important part of their personal drama. If you feign nonchalance, they drive ever faster and more recklessly until you show some reaction. Only seems to happen when a foreign man is in a taxi with a local woman.
Gentlemen & scholars: In fairness, about every twentieth taxi driver in Taiwan takes one by surprise with his erudition, consideration and overall aura of class. You wonder how he ended up behind the wheel but when you see him practice his profession with pride and regard his customers with respect you realize you’ve just experienced one of the reasons why you’ve chosen to live in Taiwan in the first place.