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Driving in Shanghai, from road rage to pure fun!

@Anonymous290 Time : 2012-04-20 10:28:38
My first experience in a car in China was driving from Shenyang to Harbin, then to the small city of QiTaiHe in Heilongjiang. I was a passenger in a new BMW, sitting behind the driver. We were driving on a rural highway, 2 lane road, when we were approaching one of those blue tractors that look like a dragster but move like a turtle! We were cruising at 160km/h and fast approaching this tractor. But there was a problem, a car in the oncoming lane, and our driver decided to pass the tractor anyway and force the oncoming car to take the shoulder. This was my near death experience. As we passed the oncoming car, we passed so close that our side mirrors hit each other and exploded into nothing. I told the driver to get in the back seat and from now on I’ll drive. Later I learned that this driver has only been driving for 6 months.

Soon after that, I got my driver’s license in Shanghai, and I got to experience the rat race first hand. Growing up in Minnesota, I was taught that “Minnesota Nice” meant to extend courtesy to my fellow man, and think about other’s feelings. So my first reactions were how rude the drivers are in Shanghai! Wow, they cut you off, they don’t check their mirrors…in fact, they just move left to right with no consideration of what is left or right of them! And the scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians….they move around like lao shu in a barn full of rice! These guys were pissing me off! This is dangerous!

Then, at one point it hit me. There are no cops here! There is no enforcement of traffic law except the cameras checking speed! This is not a curse, this is a blessing! Ever since I sat in my first go-kart as a kid I dreamed of race car driving, and here it is! My best opportunity! So I changed my attitude. And soon I realized how much fun this is! Weaving in and out, honking my horn, it’s an exhilarating experience! Now I drive more aggressive than a Hangzhou taxi driver (and I have paid attention…Hangzhou has the MOST aggressive taxi drivers!).

However, despite that, I still respect the pedestrians who cross at intersections on green lights. However, for you nuts who cross red lights, be in for a scare if I am coming! I may not hit you, but you may need to change your niao bu afterward!

I look forward to hearing all of your transportation tales!

PS – for those of you lao wai thinking of following in my skid marks…consider the following things I have gathered about Chinese drivers, pedestrians, scooter drivers, etc.:

1. Lack of experience driving (for car drivers);
2. In general, a willing to take a big risk for a small reward (cars, scooters, bicycles, and pedestrians);
3. Extreme impatience.;
4. Often distracted with mobile phones;
5. Lack of respect for kinetic energy (mass moving at speed!).

So take care!

Comments to Thread
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From: United States California Sacramento @danruble Time : 2012-04-22 01:31:32 #1
Minnesota guy, got a real kick out of reading of you discovery... still laughing. I have seen a few videos of the horrific traffic skills of the Chinese people. It amazes me how they got away with that crazy ass crap diving..... now i know.. thanks for the heads up. But remember. to finish first, first you must finish.... better to be a schuey than a de cessaris.. happy motoring...
From: Canada British Columbia Victoria @bmccull Time : 2012-04-23 03:11:23 #2
The thing that surprises me most about Chinese traffic is the lack of collisions. Somehow it all works!
From: China 上海(shang hai) 上海(shang hai) @Cicojuju Time : 2012-04-26 02:26:37 #3

From: China 上海(shang hai) 上海(shang hai) @phantom7216 Time : 2012-05-06 11:31:32 #4
haha!try to use to it, but do not learn it!!
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