Driving in Taiwan can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re new to the country. But don’t worry, with the right guidance, you’ll navigate through it like a pro. This article serves as your ultimate guide to understanding the ins and outs of driving in Taiwan.
Whether you’re planning a road trip or you’re moving to Taiwan and need to commute daily, knowing how to drive confidently and safely is crucial. So buckle up, as we take you through the journey of mastering the art of driving in Taiwan.
Traffic Signs and Signals in Taiwan
Notably, Taiwanese traffic signs and signals follow international standards. They’re designed to be easily comprehensible, even to first-time visitors. Their predictability is one of the reasons why driving in Taiwan is becoming surprisingly easier for foreigners.
Traffic lights in Taiwan follow a fixed pattern. Typically, it’s Red-Amber-Green-Flashing Green-Amber-Red, although there can be differences depending on the location. The flashing green light signals the impending arrival of the amber light. It’s a good habit to start slowing down during this phase.
Remember, breaking a red light is considered a serious offence in Taiwan. Heavy fines, points off your driving license, even suspension of driving privileges – the consequences can be quite severe. Always adhere to signals, and when in doubt, go with the situational flow of traffic.
Speed Limits and Road Safety in Taiwan
Like in any other country, maintaining the appropriate speed is critical while driving in Taiwan. Ignore speed limits, and you’re setting yourself up for trouble.
Urban areas typically have a speed limit set between 40 km/h and 50 km/h. On the highways, the limit starts at 60 km/h, though it can reach up to 110 km/h along sun-drenched coastal stretches and mountainous terrains.
Beyond just obeying the imposed speed regulations, road safety in Taiwan is about practicing defensive driving. Respect for other road users, keeping a check on blind spots, staying alert at all times, and always wearing a seatbelt—these are essential aspects of safe driving in Taiwan that one should not neglect.
Preparing for Your Driving Trip in Taiwan
The first thing you’ll need is an International Driving Permit (IDP). This document allows you to drive internationally. Of course, you’ll also need to carry your domestic driving license along. Taiwan recognizes IDPs issued by countries that are parties to the 1949 Geneva Convention on Road Traffic. However, it’s pivotal to note that your IDP is only valid if you have not been in Taiwan for over 30 days.
In case you’re planning to stay longer, you’ll need to pass a local driving test for a Taiwanese license. So, if you’re just visiting for a short while, getting an IDP is an efficient choice.
Renting a Car For Driving in Taiwan
Once you’ve got your IDP sorted, it’s time to think about getting a car. Taiwan has an extensive public transport network, but driving gives you the flexibility to create your own itinerary. If you’re wondering if self-driving is safe in Taiwan, the short answer is yes. However, traffic in large Taiwanese cities such as Taipei can be heavy, especially during rush hours. So ensure you’re confident about your driving skills before choosing to hit the road during these times.
Many international car rental companies operate in Taiwan, including Hertz, Avis, and Budget. To rent a car, you’ll require your IDP, passport, and a credit card for the deposit. Generally, cars in Taiwan are with automatic transmission, so if you’re unfamiliar with a stick shift, you will not have to worry.
Insurance and Documentation
The final crucial element is insurance. While your rental company will offer basic insurance coverage, it’s usually minimal. You’re also financially liable for any damage you cause to the rental car, and any accidents involving other drivers.
It’s advisable to take out a comprehensive insurance policy that covers personal and third-party liability, damage to the vehicle, and medical expenses in case of injury. Check if your current auto or travel insurance provider covers international trips.
Dealing with Scooter Traffic While Driving
Taiwan is filled with scooters. They’re a primary mode of transportation in urban areas and they often maneuver through traffic in ways that might surprise the uninitiated driver. Reacting suddenly could lead to accidents so it’s crucial to:
- Stay aware of scooters on all sides of your vehicle.
- Use your mirrors frequently.
- Refrain from sudden lane changes.
- Always signal your intentions.
- Remember, scooters have the same rights on the road as cars, so respect their space.
While you get used to the traffic pattern in Taiwan, patience is fundamental.
Weather Conditions and Typhoons
Taiwan’s weather conditions, which often include heavy rains and typhoons, are another aspect to consider while driving. During such situations, you may encounter poor visibility, flooded roads, or landslides, particularly in mountainous areas.
To navigate these conditions, it’s helpful to:
- Keep track of the weather forecast before starting a trip.
- Maintain safe speeds, ensuring you adjust according to weather conditions.
- Use headlights and windshield wipers as needed.
- Follow traffic updates to avoid flood-prone areas or detours caused by landslides.
Knowing how to handle your vehicle in challenging weather conditions ensures a safe driving experience in Taiwan.
Parking Etiquette in Taiwan
Let’s move on to parking etiquette. In Taiwan, parking rules are strictly enforced. Always park in designated areas to avoid any fines or towing. Additionally, avoid parking in areas with striped or red lines which indicate no parking zones.
- Use parking lots or garages where possible.
- Pay for parking using either cash or the EasyCard, a Taiwanese payment system.
- Check for signs indicating time restrictions or requirements to park in a particular direction.
Understanding and adhering to parking rules is part of mastering road rules in Taiwan.
You’ve now got a solid grasp on how to navigate the roads of Taiwan. Always remember, it’s crucial to be mindful of scooter traffic and respect their rights. Don’t forget to adjust your driving style when facing challenging weather conditions, such as heavy rains and typhoons. Always use your headlights and windshield wipers to ensure clear visibility.
Moreover, parking etiquette is key to avoid unwanted fines or even towing. Always stick to designated parking areas. With these tips in hand, you’re well-prepared for your driving journey in Taiwan. It’s all about mastering the road rules and etiquette for a successful and stress-free experience. Safe travels!