Road safety in Vietnam
Most tourists who first come to Vietnam, are shocked by the local traffic. It seems chaotic, erratic and incessant. On the roads of the popular resort of Nha Trang there are even special Vietnamese guys, whose duty is to help tourists to cross the road, so they could get to the Central Beach.
We want to give some simple recommendations on how to protect yourself during the ride, if you have rented a moped and want to drive it yourself.
The first two are the most important rules that you always have to follow.
- Wear a helmet. This applies to both the driver and the passenger. This is not to avoid a fine from the police, but to save lives in a possible accident. On a moped, you are completely unprotected, and often the helmets save lives.
- Do not drive while intoxicated. There has been already a huge number of accidents (many of them lethal), due to drunk driving and inexperienced tourists driving the motorbike for the first time, and the number continues to grow. Therefore, if you come to a bar or club by motorbike, and could not resist a couple of cocktails, it is better to leave the moped in the parking lot until the morning, and take a taxi home. In Vietnam, this service is not expensive, and thereby you guarantee your safety and the safety of other people.
And a few more simple rules that will help you on the Vietnamese roads:
Honk! Honk to pedestrians, cyclists and motorbikes. Be sure to honk if you outrace some other vehicle. The Vietnamese driver may not look in the mirrors, since he is firmly convinced that people will honk if needed. One can turn sharply in any direction or stop without warning. Therefore, another rule is not to drive close to other vehicles!
Stay calm! Yes, here the whole family with a child can cross the road at a red light, ride on a sidewalk, ignore the ring traffic, go on an opposite side while not using turn signals. All this is normal here, and you just need to keep your concentration.
Be careful! Motorbikes can carry anything, including very long items: boards, logs, as well as fragile and dangerous oversized glass.
Do not exceed the speed! The Vietnamese rarely drive fast. 40-50 kilometers per hour, this is the normal speed (and it is the allowed one: 40 in the city, 50 outside of the city). Take your time, driving fast will save you only a few minutes of time, but can be life-threatening. It’s better to carefully move in the general flow.
It’s easy to buy or rent a motorbike in Vietnam. In recent years, many European, American, Australian backpackers buy in the north of the country and drive their two-wheeled vehicle across the country, selling the motorbike in the south. Of course, if you come to Vietnam on vacation for two weeks, it is better to rent a bike. Read more about it here.