Monday, January 14, 2008

Chinese Rules of the Road

I don't think you'll find these rules written down anywhere, but I have observed Chinese driving for 2 weeks now, and extracted the following basic rules:

  1. The car is king, pedestrians are expendable scum. Every other form of road user fits somewhere between these two. Know your place.
  2. The direction of flow of traffic for a given lane is subject to change without notice, and based on simple majority rule.
  3. The meaning of the car horn, like the chinese language itself, depends a great deal on context. One sound can mean :

    a. I am going for that improbably small space - don't get in my way.

    b. I am about to overtake you (in a lane of my chosing) - don't try to stop me.

    c. I'm in a car. I'm travelling at speed. I'll honk if I bloody well want to honk.
  4. Precendece is always given to those with the least to lose.
  5. Traffic lights are not only decorative, they also serve as an indication of traffic conditions immediately ahead.

I may have missed some, in which case I'll add them afterwards. Assuming I survive another week of these rules.


Simon Moore said...

Hardly a change from Carrigaline.

Emmetts little brother said...

you forgot "convoy".. where they travel with the hazzard warning lights on in groups of 2,3,5 or more cars and everyone respects the convoy and never gets in the way... where are they going, no-one ever knows.

Then the use of the horn.. note its always very short beeps and never long ones.. because the long beeps are frowned upon in many cities!

Your blog is bringing back many memories of our honeymoon in China in '04.. BTW I was fine until I got the Shanghai's in Shanghai.. after we got home, it took me 3 weeks to get regular again!

Mike said...
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