Driving Etiquette: How to Make The Roads A Safer Place

Arts

March 15, 2012 | BY Tim Cheung

We identify the bad driving habits seen in Hong Kong and our proposed changes

Driving etiquette

Remember the first time braving traffic on your own in Hong Kong; when you clinch, two-handed, on the steering wheel, gingerly checking your front mirror as you meet an intersection – right, left, right - before stepping gently on the accelerator? No? Neither do we.

We find, for some, the more they drive, the more egregious on-road habits they develop. We’ve seen drivers switching three lanes at a time without signalling and we’ve heard all too often – even from our desks at the Asia Tatler towers – the unnecessary honking that only contributes to noise pollution in the city.

Follow our guide below to learn how to make driving a more pleasant and safer experience, one norm at a time.

What is the appropriate behaviour when travelling by air?

Highway Driving:

- Stay in your lane
- Take the far-left lane if you’re a slow driver (or the far-right if you drive on the left hand side)
- Don’t hog the fast-lane
- It is neither cool nor safe to tailgate on a highway, leave it to Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton

Driving in General:

- Keep your music to yourself. It’s fine to play your European trance or whatever your music preference is, as long as your windows are rolled up all the way, there is nothing quite as crass as blasting music with the window or convertible top down, especially in city traffic

Don’t lay into your honk

- Don’t lay into your honk when the traffic is clearly dead, it simply will do you and your pedestrian friends no good
- Multi-tasking: Leave your smartphones and grande mocha alone when driving, there are lives in your hands
- Don’t drive too fast. While there’s always the 10% rule (it’s OK to go 10% faster than the speed limit), don’t invent your own 30%, 40% or 50% rule
- The same goes for driving slow, it is equally dangerous going way under the speed limit
- Never double park and leave your car
- Do not place pets on your lap while driving
- Make sure you put your headlights on after dusk
- Leave your high beams off, roads in Hong Kong are well-lit and there’s no point blinding other drivers
- Do not flick your cigarette butts out of the window, even if you don’t mind the massive littering fine in Hong Kong. Again, it is crass, disgusting and inconsiderate
- Where two lanes merge, be kind and let the vehicle in front of you onto your lane, especially at the Cross-Harbour Tunnel entrance
- Signal when you switch lanes and turn it off when you’re done
- Use your blinkers correctly: Blink left if you intend to go left, not right
- Switch off your emergency stop signal when nothing is urgent
- Switch one lane at a time
- Keep your eyes on the traffic lights
- The driver behind you deserves a simple "thank you" wave for letting you in

Click here to get tips on how to behave in a lift.

In A Parking Lot:

- Park within your own box, unless you have plans to pay for two spots
- Always turn your headlights on and go gentle on the gas. If there’s one place accidents can be avoided, it is in the car park
- Let the drivers trying to leave go first

How to behave in a parking lot

- When exiting the car park, always have your Octopus or valet ticket ready
- It may be faster to exit via the opposite way, but nothing is quite as irritating as having to reverse when you find yourself head-to-head on a one-way lane, especially when you’re in the right

When You Have Passengers:

- Go easy on the gas and brakes to avoid whiplash for all
- Make sure the backseat passengers have enough leg room
- Ask before broadcasting music, it may not be everybody’s cup of tea
- Don’t eat behind the wheel, it stinks up the car and it gives room for accidents to happen
- Control your road rage, there is no reason to shout or for prolonged honking
- Don’t try to impress your passengers and go zealous on the acceleration