My First Glimpse of Driving in Taiwan
Let me state the obvious: driving in Canada and driving in Taiwan are on two different ends of the spectrum. Canadians [at least where I come from] seemed to obey most traffic rules and well, Taiwanese have their own set of ‘unspoken’ rules for the road.
Can you imagine the shock and surprise I got my first day in Taiwan? Cars squeezing in everywhere, scooters going here and there and everywhere, taxis honking and speeding up just as the light was about to turn red. And let’s not forget about the bumper to bumper parking – a skill that Taiwanese seem to have mastered to a ‘T.’
To me, it all looked like pure madness on that first day, but I gradually saw some logic to it all.
And if someone had to tell me my very first day here that I would eventually drive a car and a scooter in Taiwan [not at the same time, of course], I would have told them to go and get their head examined. But, here I am, driving in this chaos, obeying the ‘unspoken’ rules of the road, and going with the flow. [The ‘unspoken’ rules of the road would take a whole blog post to outline and explore – thus, will not be discussed in detail in this post.]
Driving with My Husband: The Taiwanese Way
My husband is a pretty good driver, but he is a typical Taiwanese driver and he kind of makes up his own rules for the road. I just love how things are never his fault as I will explain later.
First off, I am (in his words) the ‘co-pilot’ and a good one at that, but I have to be with good reason. His eyes are everywhere but on the road when he drives sometimes. Can you imagine if someone is driving and you are the passenger and you are the only one who has your eyes on the road? Well, that is my situation with us
most of the time on occasion. [However, my husband says I am being too dramatic here.]
Oh, and speed limits have a 10 km/hr forgiveness rule according to my husband, so it is OK to go ‘little faster.’ However, sometimes he has rocks in his shoes (can you detect the sarcasm?) and he just happens to go much more over the limit. However, it is not his fault – why didn’t the car feel like it is going so fast?
Then, we have the situations of people cutting us off and squeezing in front of us. He will complain when other people do it but when he does it, it is OK because ‘everyone else does it in Taiwan.’
But, I do give him credit for not driving on the wrong side on the road like some scooter drivers do if they only have to drive a short distance before turning.
Driving with My Wife: The Canadian Way (written by My Husband)
Whenever Constance drives a car in Canada, she will step on the gas paddle really hard to speed up. I always feel the power of the engine since she always puts me backwards and forwards in my seat. I have to remind her to slow down and I always get the answer like this – “Am I driving or are you driving?” followed by some laughter.
When she is speeding and driving too fast, I will remind her that we are “SHOOING” (speeding). And she always laughs and says something like “Feel the Girl Power”.
I hate the fact that I loose the control of the wheels in Canada sometimes. And to be honest, I don’t like her driving style even though there aren’t many cars on the road.
I do drive in Canada and when I do, she will be just as bossy as I am.
However, I am happy to know that I will regain control when we get back in Taiwan since I’m the one who drives here most of the time.
From time to time when the roads are not too busy in Taiwan, I will do exactly what she did in Canada and let her feel the power of the engine and say the same words back to her ‘Am I driving or are you driving?’ or ‘Feel the power.’ And this will always bring smiles to our faces.
I hardly honk the horn in Taiwan since I’m familiar with the way Taiwanese drive. But I have a good copilot in Taiwan – my wife always reaches over and honks the horn for me even though I feel it’s not necessary. And of course, I will say to her “ Thank you copilot” or “Am I driving or are you driving?” HaHaHa 🙂
However, she needs to remind me sometimes of good road behavior in Canada. For example, to stop at the crosswalk if someone is waiting and a traffic light turning yellow mean to ‘slow down’ in Canada.
How about you guys? Did you ever experience a different driving culture?