Saturday, November 14, 2009

Brad's List of 8 Inferred Guide Line for driving in China.

One of the things I am having the hardest time adjusting to is the absolute insanity that happens every day on Chinese roads.

I have however, been compiling a list of inferred guide line that I thought was worth sharing. First some information on ownership, roads, and cars in Xiamen.

Personal car ownership has increase an average of 40% every year in the past 4 years.

90% of these people got their license for the first time when they bought these cars. (today's inspiration for this post came from Su, Lindon's wife, who picked me up to go to the grocery story today. She has been driving one day a month for 2 years for a grand total of 24 days of driving experience)

To put this driving culture and mentality in perspective, Imagine a city the size of Boston where the vast majority of people drive like they are between the ages of 16-20 in brand new cars.

Most roads where built 20+ years ago and where meant to handle government vehicles, some taxis, and buses. Personal car ownership at this time was essentially 0. This means that the biggest roads around where intended to accommodate the traffic of a residential culdesac)

Bicycles and hybrid motorized bicycles have been the primary mode of transpiration here for decades and used the roads for much of this time because there where so few cars. They where, for the most part, the largest and fastest moving things on the street. Because the spike in car ownership has only occurred recently, this mentality has not really changed. (Even though they clearly no longer are.)

All Chinese roads have large side walks. It is as common to see cars on side walks as it is to see bikers.

Ok, that does it for outlines. Now...

Brad's List of 8 Inferred Guide Line for Driving in China.

1) There was a little joke I used to tell friends when we where first learning to drive. It went "All stop signs with white boarders are optional." For all of you who have not heard this joke, all stop signs have white boarders. In China it is not a joke.

2)You do not have the right of way.

3)At all costs, stay away from buses. Usually this means just don't drive, since buses are EVERYWHERE. If you must drive, assume that these lunatics will drive their 2 ton lump of steal and glass full of 39027430948 Chinese people like it can handle and accelerate like it is a Formula One car and is equally as long.

4) All lines, signs, and lights are for purely atheistic purposes. I am not really sure why they waste the paint and electricity. It would be easier to understand Chinese driving if the pavement was blank and there where no lights. This would at least remove the confusing illusion that you are following some kind of logical system. That way you could focus on not getting run over instead of putting all of your energy into yelling "WTF IS THIS GUY DOING! ITS A RED LIGHT AND HE IS IN 2 LANES WITH PEOPLE CROSSING THE ROAD!"

4a) All lines that are painted are dotted. This includes main streets, narrow avenues, alleys, and one way roads. Keep in mind these are NOT straight-aways on unpopulated New England back roads, this is like putting a dotted yellow line in the middle of Time Square.

5)Do not use your blinker. Most likely you will get pulled over for having unnecessary lights that distract other drivers.

6)J walking is not only legal but necessary as there are no cross functional walks. People standing on the dotted lines on a 4 lane highway are not uncommon. This is again misleading because all 4 lane highways are actually 6 lanes and the dotted lines serve as almost not protection.

7)Using your Horn or flashing your lights usually means "You WILL loose this game of chicken because I am not backing down, even though I am on the wrong side of the road" or "I am driving twice your speed behind you and will plow your car into on-coming traffic if you do not pull on to the side walk and let me pass".

8) All of these guidelines will be rendered useless in a matter of a week. As a rule of thumb I throw out all of my establish a guidelines once as week because usually I see 3 or 4 examples of them being rendered useless in this time.

Getting my license within a month!

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