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Hong Kong Traffic Rules, Customs and Culture

Discussion in 'Hong Kong' started by DITB, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,568
    Location:
    Hong Kong
    After going off topic on the HK news thread, I started this thread, intended for new drivers and expats, to learn more about how to drive legally, safely and efficiently in Hong Kong.

    The first subject was solid lines on the road: Which can I cross, and under what conditions.

    See post #507 and 508.

    Where I learned to drive, any solid line may not be crossed unless directed by police or signs to do so, or if the lane is blocked by objects or stationary vehicles (not traffic jam though, normally utility or illegally parked vehicles)

    In Hong Kong, it seems the broad single lines may be crossed (otherwise, I wouldn't be able to enter the expressway, going from bus lane to the normal lanes).

    Here are two examples from Europe, where small perforations in an otherwise double line or "chevron surface" indicate that it is OK to cross, for the purpose of crossing the road, or going to or from a side road, driveway etc.

    spaerreflade.jpg brudt dobbelt linie.jpg


    So I just learned that in Hong Kong, Transport Department doesn't bother with this practice, but rather give exemptions of when it is OK to cross a line that you shouldn't normally cross:

    (stole the quote of markwj)

    The combined dashed/solid lines indicating it is OK to change lanes only one way are the same it seems, as you can only cross if coming from the dashed side. But how about a single white line? And is a narrow or wide single solid line OK to cross?

    As a warning to HK drivers - in most countries, crossing any solid line incurs a heavy fine and points, some places even revoking of drivers license (on second offence, on the spot). The same goes for crossing or even driving on chevron surfaces.

    - - -

    While I am at it: Turn signals are intended to enable drivers to indicated what they intend to do in the immediate future, ie "I am just about to change lane", "Next exit in the roundabout is where I intend to exit", "I am just about to leave the curb and enter the road" as well as "I intend to turn at the upcoming intersection"

    To me it seems that when turn signals are used at all (which in Hong Kong is less than 5% of when it should have been used), it is more like "I want to .... " rather than "I intend to ...". Typically, a car at the curb turns the turn signal on even when the road is full of cars, while not intending to drive on until there is a sufficient gap.

    - - -

    For every 1000 meters on the expressway, there are blue signs in both sides that say "Keep LEFT when not overtaking" - including in Chinese what I must assume is the same meaning. I asked a driving instructor what to do in case there is traffic in the right most lane, below the speed limit, where the driver is ignoring those blue signs. I got a bit of a vague explanation but it seems in reality, it is OK to use any lane you want. It is not meant to be so, but has developed as such in the culture. With three or four lanes, the leftmost lane is often all clear, because "everyone wants to drive in the fast lane"

    Again, in many states, "passing on the inside" would incur heavy fines, points and even revoking of license on second offence (if caught by police, obviously)


    - - -


    I am not here to make a change, just trying to understand the background of the driving culture (and legislation). Well, maybe I wish there was a change, but I know that is outside my rights and abilities.

    I hope we can use this thread to be better and safer drivers - please ask relevant questions, or provide tips and tricks for us HK road novices. And these posts includes "rules" that are different in legislation and in practice, ie stopping for pedestrians in a zebra crossing, sidewalk or entry/exit to a main road (which, like in China, quite obviously is not respected at all, pedestrians yield to cars, or die).
     
  2. Mikischu

    Mikischu Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2014
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    Hong Kong
    I've noticed that the learner drivers never seem to exceed walking speed when learning. How is that safe? Once they pass their drivers test they are allowed to drive at full speed on highways and such. There is a big difference in driving at 20kph and 80-100kph.

    I've heard that most of the people in the transport department (including the top dude) do not actually drive or know how to drive. This may explain why HK driver rules and training are so poorly regulated.
     
  3. Shannontsoi

    Shannontsoi Member

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    Hong Kong
     
  4. DITB

    DITB Charged.hk co-founder

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Hong Kong
    Just wanted to make sure it is OK to pass on the inside, as many people drive in the (supposedly) "fast lane" at 10-20 km/h below the limit, especially when they are passing the orange boxes.
     

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