Sunday, September 5, 2010



Every line on the street in China is a suggestion. That's how they drive anyway (and I would say they are some of the best drivers in the world).

From what I heard, to get a drivers license you need to win a lottery. Even if you win, you can only drive on highways in your home province. Everywhere else you have to use back roads. The Chinese government is also happy to take away your drivers license, for anything, so people wont report accidents to them or insurance companies.

You also aren't allowed to drive your car if it has a dent. If you get in an accident, you pull into a nearby repair shop and settle the damages, in cash, with the other driver. Witnesses will help determine who was at fault.

In America, we give people tickets and fine them, but usually let them continue to drive. In China if you're a bad driver they take you off the road entirely. All together their system seems safer and to involve a lot less paperwork and judicial oversight. I saw no car accidents when I was there. That's not to say the Chinese system was planned. The government's bureaucracy is so completely unusable that an informal system has taken over.

I've blogged before about how sidewalks double as parking spaces, but small streets also double as sidewalks, even if the streets have sidewalks around them.

There will be people everywhere with cars driving through them. You wont notice the cars coming up behind you and it can be a little scary.

In America there are often lanes going slower than other ones. In China, everyone in the slow lane would move into the faster ones, then switch over just before they had to make a turn. It's very fluid. Everybody is cutting in front of everybody else.

I've been on highways where people were driving on motorcycles, against traffic.

There doesn't seem to be any road-rage involved. I saw one incident where a truck driver had turned too late and was stuck. Everybody, even people in other lanes, honked their horns once or twice, then a police officer walked over and looked at the driver. The sense of shame he must have felt! I think that's all they need.

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