Taiwan Traffic: Are you serious about driving here?
This is My Guide to Driving in Taiwan Traffic – Become a Taiwanese Driver in 10 Easy Steps
In general, I would not recommend occasional tourists, first timers or people who otherwise care about their hair color not being gray, to drive a car or motorcycle in Taiwan traffic. The rules and driving culture here are very different from the US and other driving cultures.
I’ve humorously written a list of 10 easy steps to illustrate this point.
Step 1: Buy a BMW or MERC, and drive it FAST! That’s the easiest way to become a successful Taiwanese driver. Oh, and don’t forget the baseball bat in the boot for ‘sports’ activities. After all, gangsters and dentists are very picky about their cars. So should you be!
Step 2: Use your horn and lights and intimidate anyone in front of you, even though they are doing nothing wrong (ie. they are driving safely and legally). These devices have no other practical value.
Step 3: Keep your eyes glued to the vehicle in front. Don’t bother with the side or rear view mirrors… they’re only for straightening your hair or squeezing spots. (That’s doubly true for motorcyclists!)
Step 4: Park anywhere: on diamonds, double park (hey even triple park!), even park in the motorcycle or handicapped spaces. It’s okay. Handicapped people really are doing you a favor!
Step 5: Indicators, headlamps, rear lamps and other forms of external car lighting are for ornamental use only. If they fall off or break, you can use flashy blue/green/orange/red/white lamps anywhere instead.
Step 6: When someone is signaling to change lane, speed up. After all, you want to get to the next red light before the other guy. And saving 0.01s makes a huge difference.
Step 7: It’s okay to miss the exit on the highway, you can simply switch lanes and let the cars behind you use their brakes.
Step 8: When at a T-junction, you don’t have to slow down or stop before merging with the main stream of traffic. Just close your eyes, put your foot on the accelerator and go! The other drivers don’t mind.
Step 9: Red lights are just advisory. You actually don’t have to stop at these. Many trucks, buses and scooters all just fly through these. So just keep going, it’s fine.
Step 10: Tailgating is okay, too. Because if you hit the car in front, it’s not your fault. S/he stopped suddenly. There was no time to swerve. And anyway, you can always argue with the police and emergency services.
Just in case someone is reading this and doesn’t understand the Taiwan traffic situation here, these steps are entirely tongue-in-cheek. The fact that these things happen each and every time I go out on the road is entirely beside the point. If you don’t have to drive a car here, don’t. It makes no real sense.