Participating in Traffic in Vietnam – Tips from AZ MOTORBIKES

Avoid Illicit Driving

In order to operate a vehicle legally in Vietnam, possession of a license and an international driver’s permit is imperative. Nonetheless, numerous visitors enter Vietnam without such documentation. While the police in Vietnam tend to overlook foreigners’ violations, a small bribe, colloquially known as “coffee money”, may be necessary if one is stopped.

Maintain Predictable Maneuvering

Drivers in Vietnam tend to move at a slower pace and adhere to predictable patterns. Although you may observe vehicles traversing in various directions, abrupt changes in movement are a rarity. By maintaining a slow, steady, and foreseeable driving manner, you will find the multitude of surrounding motorbikes navigating around you without collision.

Learn to Drive semi-auto motorbikes

Semi-auto motorbikes, with Honda Wave being a notable representative, are among the most common and popular means of transportation in Vietnam. They possess numerous advantages that are hard to ignore, and Vietnamese people, especially young men, often prefer using this type of bike. The Honda Wave Alpha features a robust and dynamic design, with a very lightweight of only 97kg, and is extremely compact. They are much more fuel-efficient compared to automatic scooters, with a fuel tank capacity of 3.7 liters, allowing for a maximum travel distance of up to 250km. Additionally, their capability to traverse challenging terrains, such as high hills and difficult paths, is exceptionally superior. This is not a bad choice when coming to Vietnam.

Recognize the Pacing of Vietnamese Drivers

Drivers in Vietnam may not have the best driving practices, but they typically drive at a slower pace. Locals tend to focus primarily on what’s in front of them, with the concept of checking both left and right still gaining traction in the country. Despite ongoing changes, it’s essential to realize that locals do not anticipate fast-moving vehicles, hence the lack of complete concentration while driving. It is not uncommon to see individuals driving with a cigarette or mobile phone in one hand.

Visitors to Vietnam often maintain the driving speeds they are accustomed to in their home countries. This unexpected pace can catch locals off guard, leading to accidents. The responsibility lies equally with the speeding traveler and the less attentive local.

Avoid Carrying Excessive Luggage

Only bring along essential items and limit carrying unnecessary things. Bikes can only handle a certain amount of load. Overloading can lead to technical issues such as brake system failures, chain drive malfunctions, tire problems, etc. A quality helmet is also an indispensable item.

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Dogs are the Leading Cause of Crashes

When I’m on the road, I perceive pedestrians to be as unpredictable as animals, seemingly risking their lives by crossing without looking. As previously highlighted, the key is to maintain a slow speed. However, in reality, dogs are the predominant reason for accidents, making it essential to stay vigilant for animals suddenly dashing across the road.

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Comprehending Horn Usage

Locals in Vietnam predominantly use sound over sight to indicate their presence on the road. Upon arrival in Vietnam, the incessant beeping of motorcycle horns is among the first things you’ll observe. The use of the horn is not an expression of aggression, but rather a way of signalling one’s location. It is important to regularly use your mirrors and conduct diligent checks to stay aware of your surroundings.

Decisive Moments at Traffic Signals

For those who have spent a considerable amount of time in Vietnam, it’s well-known that areas around traffic lights are susceptible to accidents, sometimes with tragic outcomes. As the lights shift from green to red, signaling the need to halt, several individuals try to rush through, leading to collisions. Compliance with traffic rules is vital for maintaining one’s safety.

Always Anticipate the Unexpected

Vietnam’s driving culture operates on a set of unwritten rules that might be challenging for a traveler to grasp immediately. When initially driving in Vietnam, you might find that locals seem to undertake any action on a motorbike – driving in the wrong direction, emerging from junctions without looking, and making unexpected U-turns. Such seemingly irrational driving can easily catch one off-guard. However, the logic is straightforward: locals drive slowly and anticipate the same from you. Continually reminding yourself of this can help mitigate any road rage. Adopting a slow driving pace, while staying vigilant for unexpected actions from every direction, should contribute to a safe journey!

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