Thursday, October 4, 2007

Wasai--Driving in Taiwan

What the heck. Are you all crazy? It's madness. Where is the organization, the rhyme and reason? These were my first thoughts regarding driving in Taiwan. Coming from the US where lanes are clearly marked, and heaven forbid you cross over without proper notification or sufficient time allowed lest you get the finger or worse, I was in complete shock when we took our first taxi ride from the airport to the hotel. I thought we were going to crush the pedestrians, mow over the enormous numbers of scooters, and for sure get into an altercation with fellow motorcar drivers for cutting them off. Nothing happened. We arrived safe and sound, no accidents, no causalities, no road rage.

Being here now for close to three months I have found the logic behind the madness of driving in Taiwan. Taiwan drivers are very deliberate. They have a destination and their mission is to get to it. The roadways are shared by all; cars, trucks, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians. All of whom know where they intend to go. Accidents and road rage are avoided by adhering to this deliberateness. It is a different mindset for foreigners living here, but once you get the hang of it in makes sense. When walking you must be mindful of the traffic, but in turn they are mindful of you too. Following the walk and don’t walk lights one can ensure safe arrival. Scooters and bicycles have lanes designated specifically to them. Of course scooters also cross over lanes and drive in regular lanes, but for the most part resign themselves to the far right of the road. Cars and trucks typically drive in the left lane crossing over only when turning or parking. The speed of traffic here is very different too. Things are much slower which in turn cuts down on the accidents. “Stopping on a dime” is actually possible because traffic typically does not exceed 25 miles per hour.

These realizations came after a short time of being here. I now drive a scooter everywhere and am very comfortable in doing so. Deliberate, slow, and steady will get you there, unscathed, every time.

Submitted to Wasai Taiwan by: Meagan Atchley
(Hsinchu, Taiwan – Houston Texas)

1 comment:

Naruwan said...

"...traffic typically does not exceed 25 miles per hour"

You must be talking about Taipei. Traffic is quite a bit speedier than that down here in Taichung.