Driving a Car in Hong Kong - By: Gregory Smyth
You can drive in Hong Kong using a foreign license on a temporary basis when you arrive for a visit, but if you are contemplating to live here for more than a year, you must acquire a Hong Kong license to drive without any hiccups.
For people who have overseas driving license and wish to drive in Hong Kong, a valid driving license may be attained via either apply for a complete driving license by direct issue without test or apply for a temporary driving license.
The heartening news is that if you possess a driving license from a country authorized by the Hong Kong Transport Department, it will be useful when you apply for a Hong Kong license. You will not be required to go through a driving test. And the enjoyable thing is that a Hong Kong license is valid for 10 years. If you are able to avoid the driving test there will be nothing better than that. You will have spent a considerable amount of time for it, and the complete process is a travesty.
'Driving', in the point of view of the examiners here, consists of precisely three skills: performing a three-point turn, parallel parking, and staying away from ever, ever, EVER performing a hand-over-hand turn of the steering wheel. You have to alternate your hands across the wheel to pass!.
In Hong Kong people travel on the left in right hand drive cars. This is exactly what you can see in Britain as well. Besides this the traffic lights, road signs, markings, etc. are exactly similar to those in the UK. In China people drive on the right in right hand drive cars and this is similar to that in the US, which makes cross border traffic extremely interesting.
Here switching sides of the road while you are driving is not that difficult. People who learn driving in the States think that they might have to encounter a heap of trouble driving in HK. In reality this is not the case at all. Your brain adapts to the changes quite automatically. Some people even find it tougher to adapt to being a pedestrian here than to being a driver, because when you are walking along the street, you tend to forget which way you are required to check first for oncoming traffic.
The following are some tips on driving in Hong Kong for fresh arrivals in the Territory and wishing to acclimatize with the new surroundings. You should not use the turn indicator in any kind of situations. It is there for no specific purpose other than just display. Fit a fat exhaust in your car. In doing so, you may try to drive in an imaginative fashion. Even if such driving is risky it is always advisable to have fat exhaust in your car because with it you can be better than anyone else.
The hazard lights have to be considered as a multipurpose accessory and not something which should be used only under an emergency situation. You can access them whenever you need them. They can convey that: "you are turning; you are braking; you are altering the CD; you are a human; you are puzzled" among other things.
If you happen to be a part of a prang with another car, never resign to the side of the road to permit free passage of other traffic. What you have to do is, leave your cars on the accident location and communicate the issue of the microscopic scratch on the bumper with the owner of the other car, even though HK laws require you to move to the side of the road.
If you are circumspect and a little bit cunning you can enjoy a pleasant and comfortable driving experience in the roads of Hong Kong.
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