Chinese SAGAS – driving in China can be fun
16th of December 2017
Many companies that are located in China, i.e. foreign companies, don’t let their workers drive. The supply private chauffeurs. The companies think it is too dangerous to drive in the Chinese traffic.
I don´t think so. It is different from other countries and taken into account that not so many years ago there were no cars in China, it is amazing how far the population has come and how much they have learned.
Driving through the countryside the horn was honked. There might be someone somewhere who wanted to cross over or just take a look at the vehicle! This is of course forbidden in the cities. You cannot honk the horn all the time in the cities. Just imagine thousands of cars all making this horrible noise!
The national roads in China were really good when I lived in the country. It was like being in heaven after struggling for a place on the roads in Fuzhou or Min Hou. Everything is clearly marked and you are even told that ahead is radar and it might be a good idea to slow down a little. Of course the roads outside the cities are expressways. What else could you expect? Although most of the time when I was driving between Quanzhou and Fuzhou there were speed limitations here and there. The motorways were being repaired or changed or rebuilt and the speed limit down to half.
We pay for driving on the motorways in China. I used to pay 300 RMB from Fuzhou to Quanzhou, about 2 hours’ drive more or less.
When you have a black car you are a dignity. That is for sure in my wonderful China. My car was just grey, I did not want a black one, a black one would be too hot and I knew I was a dignity, did not have to let my car tell people that. They would realise it as soon as they began talking to me!
When you get a driver’s license you have to learn 3000 questions by heart and at least 100 of them should be correct when you take the test. Some of the questions are funny and you could not imagine they were for real. I am not going to tell you any of them. I might do that some other time but not now.
When you have got your license the rules don’t matter as much. The admiration you get from the neighbours is more important. Of course. Who wants to follow some stupid rules? And you can even get a license without taking the test and that is of course why some of the drivers are not quite sure how the regulations are supposed to work, but who cares. The car is there, the neighbours are there and everyone is happy.
When I entered the motorway I had my picture taken while getting the ticket. Just as well if I got lost somewhere on the way and I need to have a ticket. I entered the destination and payed and my picture was taken again. It was really good for my government to know where I went, when I go somewhere, how much time I spend on the lovely roads and also to make sure I do make my contribution to maintaining the wonders is why all this was done.
I’m not complaining, not at all.
During my trips to Quanzhou I did not always find my way back home. I sometimes, in fact quite often, got lost when I entered the tollgate in Fuzhou. The road from the tollgate was being reconstructed and my head was in turmoil. How could they do this to me?
I had a map, and asked people. Everyone was willing to help but my favourite ones were the DHL. They were amazing. I asked at the gate, they took me inside, told me to wait a little while and someone would come and explain to me how to get home. They did not explain, they just took me home. They drove ahead of me, I followed and they made sure I did follow. When we entered Jingsan bridge I knew the rest. The bridge, which is not a bridge, was my landmark. The drivers on the yellow cars from DHL made sure I took the right turn, to the left, and waved. I love DHL, they are the best.
Inside the cities there are also cameras. If I took a wrong turn, which I sometimes did as a shortcut or I was lost and suddenly knew if I turned I would be on the track and took the turn there was a flash. I knew I was doing something not quite right and it would cost me dearly. Oh, well who cares. This is sometimes complicated and sometimes you don´t notice the cameras. They are not hidden and I like that. The same goes for the radars on the motorways. You always know if you are speeding and they are catching you!
The fines are not just money, they are also points on your license and you can lose it if you get too many fines. Very good system.
It took me a while to begin driving in the Chinese traffic but after very short time I got used to it and liked it a lot. It was always an adventure and I am sure some of my Chinese fellow citizens will never forget the foreigner who drove like an angel!
I was in China 7 years ago. I know some things have changed but when I return, for a visit, I will definitely rent a car and drive in my favourite country. It will be interesting to see if I have to help the drivers not to kill me or maybe solve a knot they have made by not mowing.
Oh, I miss you my dear land.