Friday, 16 May 2008

China Road Rules

Big road trip today - got back late so will write up tomorrow, but in a nutshell - did Nanao where they landed, the towns in between and managed to find the American Mission (read Church of Waichow) in Huizhou, a 95 year old priest who remembers it like yesterday - amazing! (Dick, Tim, I've got some great footage for you both!)

Today I've mostly learnt the chinese highway code:
1) Drive slowly - especially if you're in the fast overtaking lane. The slower the better. So slow that you get overtaken by the cars in the slow lane.
2) There are three lanes;
i) The over taking lane - drive slowly!
ii) The main driving lane - drive slower or undertake in this lane.
iii) The second driving lane- STOP. Reverse if you've missed your stop (we did). Set up a market stall. Driving towards the oncoming motorway traffic is completely acceptable, especially on two wheels, mechanised or not. Feel free to conduct 3 point turns.
3) No lights - Particularly if you're wearing black, on an unlit street, riding a pushbike in the 'fast' lane. Drive slowly in the fast lane.
4) Right of Way and Give Way are alien concepts - the only right of way is if you are in-front of someone. You all have right of way, all 6 billion of you. Feel free to stop, push in, move into a gap, 6" longer (preferably shorter) than your car in fast (slow) moving traffic. Turn, brake, stop where you like - especially if it is a surprise to surrounding traffic. If you are hit, it is the hitters fault and not yours. Especially if you have cut them up and they have run into the back/side/front of you.
5) Road markings are irrelevant - Pretty, but irrelevant. Ignore them or drive over them to try and erase them. They are not guidelines and under no circumstances should you try and stay within the lines, especially the 'no cross' line in the central reservation.
6) Don't change gear - Try to pull away in third and only downshift to second on near vertical hill starts. 1st gear is for parking. Once you have reached 5th gear, under no circumstances change gear until your car has completely stopped and been shut down. If you change down, your fuel consumption will go through the roof and your car is liable to burst into flames or drive very slowly.
7) Drive Slowly
8) Your hand-brake is actually a hand-rest.Don't break your hand trying to pull it.
9) Did we mention to drive slowly?
10) Pavements - (see 1). They're actually for driving, not walking.
*NB The two wheel rule - if you are on two wheels, none of the above count. Do your own thing and try to drive in a straight line to your destination from everywhere, particularly across busy intersections. This counts if they're motorised, pedal power or if you can manage to get your car on two wheels. You have right of way over everyone, including pedestrians at legal crossings on a green man. Under no circumstances use any lights and also drive your two wheeler in near silence.

PS Please drive slowly

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree.

Especially about the guide boards, they never look at it.

My own experience with a amateur Chinese driver:

1. Drive slowly on the left lane, when the board says it's "overtaking lane", because it's narrower, everyone else can overtake on the right side on a much broader lane.

2. Drive at and over 120km/h on the middle lane when the left-board says 120km/h, the middle board says 100km/h, and the right board says "Emergency Stop", because that 120km/h apply to the whole road.

CAUTION: All of my information is opposite. The correct rule should be against what I said.