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Japanese driving pet peeves: Not so different from other countries

92 Comments
By Preston Phro

If hell is other people, then the worst thing about driving is other drivers.

Have you ever noticed that? No matter what happened, I guarantee it’s the other driver's fault, not mine. But what bugs Japanese drivers the most?

Summer in Japan means heat, humidity worse than saunas, and a little free time to go see the countryside. While some people are hiding in cool, air-conditioned rooms, others are out on the highway soaking in the scenic beauty in cool, air-conditioned cars. But one sure thing to ruin any sightseeing tour is bad drivers.

Here are five pet peeves collected by RocketNews24.

1. Changing lanes without signaling

The number one pet peeve was people changing lanes without signaling. We have to say that this is probably a huge pet peeve in any country, not to mention incredibly dangerous and probably illegal as well. Even so, this reckless behavior seems to be common in Japan. “But even if you don’t signal, you won’t get to your destination any faster, so I wish people would just drive normally,” our Japanese writer was told when asking a friend about driving pet peeves.

2. Driving slowly in the passing lane on the highway

This is probably something that novice drivers do without realizing it, but it’s super frustrating for everyone else on the road. Even worse, annoyed drivers behind the slow-moving vehicle may start tail-gating, which could lead to deadly accidents. If you’re going to drive slowly, get in the other lane. Or, even better, stay off the highway.

3. Speeding way over the limit only to slam on the breaks at a camera

This pet peeve is more annoying than dangerous according to the person our writer talked to. “People go speeding along at like 150 kilometers per hour, only to slam on the brakes just in front of a traffic camera. I’ll be fine because there’s so much space between the cars, but it just seems so pointless.”

4. People who change lanes so you can’t pass them

Probably not a lot of people do this, but it’s still insanely dangerous. Our writer was told that certain people act like they hate getting passed and will speed up and cut in front of you when you try to pass them. To be honest, I think this is something everyone has seen at least once or twice while driving — people who think they’re on a race track. I’m sure we all really wish they’d cut it out. Or at least get on a real race track.

5. Throwing cigarette butts out of windows

This is more of an issue of manners than anything, but it seems like the person our writer spoke with hates this behavior. Whether your ashtray is full or not, it’s just rude to simply toss your cigarette butts out the window. I have to say that I agree: Cigarette butts may be small, but every piece of litter adds up, and really what makes it okay to drop them in the street when even most smokers wouldn’t dream of throwing an empty can or bottle out of their car window?

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Driver Gets Cut Off on Highway, Pursues Car in a Rage -- Nissan’s New Safety Tech Wrestles Control of the Wheel from Drivers Facing Doom -- The Secret Slang of Japanese Cabbies

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92 Comments
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Kids jumping around in other peoples cars. No seatbelts, or car seats.
29 ( +28 / -1 )

I drive alot in this country, to work, to the store etc. All the above points I can personally vouch for. However, japanese people drive incredibly slow as a whole and this is exacerbated by the even slower acceleration of most drivers when a light turns green (NOT blue!). I have lived in bustling cities like Tokyo and smaller places like Shonan village, but its all the same, people driving mind-numbingly slow (30-50km on most roads!). I guess its safer since I RARELY see accidents but you cant drive like that in the states without getting run off the road!

0 ( +9 / -9 )

Yeaj i think I have to agree with Kimu, for me the most annoying thing is kids not wearing seatbelts OR people who use the phone while driving.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I admit I am guilty of number 3.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Always amazed when I see kids standing up in cars while the adults are nicely strapped in. Another beauty is when people pulll over to the side of the road and block a lane to talk on the telephone. Another extremely dangerous road activity that is very commin in Japan is cyclists riding across intersection roadways. Never once have I seen any of this get ticketed, What I have seen though is an inordinate amount of police time devoted to checking bicycle licenses.

10 ( +13 / -3 )

Changing lanes without signaling

This is my number one pet-peeve too. Then if I beep my horn at them to let them know what they are doing is dangerous, they often slam on their brakes so I almost run into them. A**holes.

Throwing cigarette butts out of windows

Or when you're stuck at a red light with your window open and someone pulls up next to you and starts blowing their cigarette smoke out the window into your car.

2 ( +6 / -4 )

people driving mind-numbingly slow (30-50km on most roads!)

Hey guess what: That EXACTLY what you should be doing as well !!! Most roads are limited between 30 and 50 km/h. Frustrating as it might be, that's the law here. If you don't like it, I suggest a week of driving in Germany.

9 ( +15 / -6 )

6) Parking on the side of the road with hazard indicators blinking. Usually on a main road, or at a junction, where they obstruct traffic, or are a potential danger to turning traffic. The driver is usually on the phone, eating or sleeping!

16 ( +18 / -2 )

Driving extremely slowly towards traffic lights that you know from the pedestrian signal are going to change soon, and then accelerating at the last minute and going through the lights when they have just changed red. Going through lights on the red is far too common here. Got through on the yellow, check your mirror and you will probably see one or two cars following you, and you know they went through on the red.

Watching TV while driving.

Turn then signal instead of signal then turn.

A solid yellow no overtaking line down long straights where it is perfectly safe to overtake and broken white lines where no one in their right mind would dream of overtaking.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

This is heaven! How about driving in México DF with crazy taxi & bus drivers?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Kids jumping around in other peoples cars. No seatbelts, or car seats.

This.

But generally, seat belt awareness in Japan is terrible. I often get laughed at or called "erai" if I'm sitting in the back and put my seatbelt on. When I try to defend it, the most common response I get is "I want to be able to get out of the car quickly if I'm in a crash and the car's on fire."

Yeah? Either you'll already have left the car through the windshield or have crushed the person in front of you...

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Driving below the speed limit and letting a big queue build up and then taking off like a bat out of hell when they reach a passing lane. And repeat.

8 ( +9 / -1 )

I don't think I've ever seen a country except Japan where pedestrian crossings are a life and death situation for school kids every day.

Police actually doing their jobs? Nope. They are solely concerned with kids and bicycles.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

Truck drivers who think it's ok to pull over on the entrance or exit to a two-lane road Truck drivers who drop pee-filled drink bottles rather than stopping. Anyone who drives in Saitama will know what I'm on about .

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Changing lanes without signaling

Aw, but then they would have to put down the phone!

Driving slowly in the passing lane on the highway

Very common in the U.S. too. People think they're doing everybody else a safety favor by blocking those who can drive better than them from going any faster.

People who change lanes so you can't pass them

VERY common in the U.S., especially in the Southeast. Too much NASCAR is my guess.

gaijintraveller:

A solid yellow no overtaking line down long straights where it is perfectly safe to overtake and broken white lines where no one in their right mind would dream of overtaking.

Yes! Thought I was the only one who noticed that. Makes you wonder who was painting the roads that day!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A solid yellow no overtaking line down long straights where it is perfectly safe to overtake and broken white lines where no one in their right mind would dream of overtaking.

I see this very often on roads where the daily average speed is already over the legal limit. If you're going too fast, at least don't try to overtake... Japan really needs an increase in maximum speed limits (to at least 50 from 40 km/h)

3 ( +4 / -1 )

My pet peeve driving in Japan? Nobody GOES!!!! The instinct of seemingly every Japanese driver when faced with even the most slightly challenging situation is to SLAM on the breaks and sit there until they can inch their way through whatever is going on. Making a commute 40 minutes along a somewhat country road at under 40 km/h has sure tested my patience. We're going mayyyybe 30 km/h the whole way. I started taking my bike!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

People who drive 35 kph on the single lane prefectural road in my area, when the speed limit is 50 kph. Long lines all day every day.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Taxis stopping and blocking the road or the left lane to pick up passengers.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

How about stopping in the middle of a turn on a green arrow?

How tailgating is not on the list blows my mind! Can't tell you how many times I have had dudes just ride up to within inches of my bumper - and I have nowhere to go as there is traffic in front of me. Mindless and reckless!

Another one? How about driving at night (or dusk) with the headlights off? Have even seen this in stormy weather at night, too. Some people here most definitely should not be allowed to drive!

As for the illegal parking on the side of the ride? Just ridiculous! Wanna fix the budget crisis in Japan, enforce the laws and ticket the people more. Would create a budget surplus in about a year.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Drivers who pass me really, really fast and then slam on the brakes to turn left (even though there's nobody driving behind me at the time). I hate that.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Cars are not called "asian kryptonite" for nothing. General standard of driving here is worse than i have experienced in my years of driving all over the world. Crawling in the fast lane is way too common, being oblivious to other cars and so on also frequent, shooting red lights is another bad habit, watching tv or talking on keitai while driving (which leads to some of the above), drifting across lanes, parking wherever the fancy takes you. Just to name a few.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

As a cyclist here's mine.

Drivers tend to look only one way before accelerating.

Stopping in the bike lane/crosswalk rather than stopping before it, checking for pedestrians and then proceeding.

Driving into the crosswalk at a high rate of speed only to slam on the breaks in the middle of the crosswalk blocking pedestrian traffic.

Abruptly accelerating only to have to stop a short distance later at another light.

Watching T.V. talking on the phone, checking the phone...pretty much any other activity other than driving.

Running red lights.

I have been hit by cars three times since living here and the last one resulted in a little payday for myself as the old bag blew through a red light without looking and plowed into me riding my bike. She had the nerve to try and blame me too.

6 ( +7 / -1 )

Driving over 75 years of age
-4 ( +5 / -9 )

papasmurf People stop at intersections and BLOW CIGARETTE SMOKE INTO YOUR CAR? surely there is at least a couple of feet between your and their windows? How is the smoke even reacing your window? And that offends you more than (say) hogging the fast lane? Surprised.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

The most annoying for me is when two single lane from different directions merges into one road (double lane) . The car coming from left lane will go to right lane and the car coming from right lane will come to left lane (>90%case). I don't understand why do they do this???? why can't they simply stay on same lane?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Showing middle finger and honking is very popular too in other countries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

GodanJul. 23, 2013 - 10:53AM JST How tailgating is not on the list blows my mind! Can't tell you how many times I have had dudes just ride up to within inches of my bumper - and I have nowhere to go as there is traffic in front of me. Mindless and reckless!

Yes, this is my number 1.

Sure, they'll probably be faced with a large chunk of the insurance bill... but I'll still lose points off my license for being in an accident, and I'll probably have to pay a portion of the insurance (20% or so) and my premiums will go up.

All in all I think if someone was tailgating me and crashed into me I would definitely file criminal charges (you can do this in Japan), because I think it needs to stop. There's NO excuse for not leaving a proper following distance. Someone travelling 3 meters closer to you will NOT get them to their destination any faster and just makes the roads more dangerous for everyone.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Japanese drivers suck?? Japananese in general no common sense?? How can they pay so much money and still be such crappy drivers?? Not sure if this applies to all the Japanese drivers but as far I can see its only the tip of the J iceberg!! How about all them fools driving in the heavy rain at night?? With no lights on??????!!!!

0 ( +4 / -4 )

Some of the things drivers do here (not listed above) are very different from what I have seen in other countries.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I suspect that drivers here have forgotten what "とまれ” means by the time they start to drive. And they seem to think a traffic light turning red up ahead is a challenge. Consequences be damned!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I soooo agree with you Elbuda Mexicano

1 ( +3 / -2 )

It's funny how some people's pet peeve is driving too slowly cause mine is that Japaneses drivers drive too fast - they always do 20-30 kmh more than the limit. One time I was doing the speed limit in the fast lane and a yakuza guy flashed his lights behind me sped up passed me (nearly side-swipping me) on the inside, got in front of me, slammed on the breaks, hot out and yelled at me. - I yelled back - Problem? I wasn't speeding like everyone else!

-5 ( +3 / -8 )

letsbe if you were doing the speed limit you should be in the middle or left lane his actions wrong but that tpe of overreaction is going to happen sometimes if you hog the overtaking lane

3 ( +5 / -2 )

My pet hates Random parking on corners or pedestrian crossings etc. doing the speed limit in the right hand lane of highway. running red lights (up to 5 seconds after they go red). Turning and then indicating. Random lane changing. braking for no apparent reason. taxis full stop.

and in pedestrians walking in the street instead of on pavement crossing pedestrian crossings late so man goes red before even halfway across.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Forgot to mention old people behind the wheel who can't make decisions and lurch along 10km under the limit.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

John Occupythemoon Daly

My pet peeve driving in Japan? Nobody GOES!!!! The instinct of seemingly every Japanese driver when faced with even the most slightly challenging situation is to SLAM on the breaks and sit there until they can inch their way through whatever is going on. Making a commute 40 minutes along a somewhat country road at under 40 km/h has sure tested my patience. We're going mayyyybe 30 km/h the whole way. I started taking my bike!

Definitely. Expanding on this is the national tragedy that is highway onramps. When the rest of the cars on the road you're entering are flying by at 80k/h or whatever, why on earth would your instinct be to slam on the brakes and WAIT for someone to SLOW DOWN and let you in? It's ridiculous. The only way to merge onto a highway, even a busy one, is to gun it until you match speeds then politely ease your way in. Safe and logical and not ridiculous.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Safe and logical and not ridiculous.

One has to remember whom you are talking about here. I would say that safe and logical are both ridiculous ideals for many of the idiot drivers here.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

papasmurf People stop at intersections and BLOW CIGARETTE SMOKE INTO YOUR CAR? surely there is at least a couple of feet between your and their windows? How is the smoke even reacing your window?

I presume they don't blow it into my window deliberately (though you never know), but I'm more surprised that you've never had smoke come into your car from a car next to you.. Yes, a couple of feet - smoke easily travels that distance. Are you perchance a smoker?

And that offends you more than (say) hogging the fast lane? Surprised.

Tell me where I said that.

@Elbuda

Japanese drivers suck?? Japananese in general no common sense?? How can they pay so much money and still be such crappy drivers??

As opposed to Mexico where you can pay bugger all and become a crappy, dangerous driver? I see your point.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Lights! If it's dark, turn on your lights before you move off. Not at some indeterminate point later... if you remember... which you won't because you're too busy texting.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

One has to remember whom you are talking about here. I would say that safe and logical are both ridiculous ideals for many of the idiot drivers here.

Since you live in Japan Yubaru, chances are we're talking about you... and me... and many of the other posters here.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Sticking butts out the window is pretty risky.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

AKBfanJUL. 23, 2013 - 01:50PM JST letsbe if you were doing the speed limit you should be in the middle or left lane his actions wrong but that tpe of overreaction is going to happen sometimes if you hog the overtaking lane

Are you saying its okay to break the speed limit when passing? Try telling that to a cop when he pulls you over. I was about 5 kph over for speeding next time.

-4 ( +1 / -5 )

How about this one ; Drivers never showing any courtesy to other drivers, e.g. I'm wanting to turn right and none of the cars coming towards me let me out even though they can all see they have a red light just up ahead.

On the rare occasions where they do let you out no-one uses the one-flash of the headlights as a signal, leading to stand-offs where you're not 100% sure that they're letting you go.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

what?? no one upset at people on their cell talking/texting and not paying attention to road?

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Hazard light parking should be number one, they should privatise parking inspectors percentage based, the country will flourish in a month and everyone will be rich!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

This really tells you something about the nation, about visitors, or at least the people interviewed. The pet peeves mentioned (save maybe the speeding up and slamming on the breaks) are indeed relatively common world-wide, but what's interesting is what's NOT mentioned. Other posters, for example, cite the practice of letting kids bounce around in the car, or sit on parents' laps, with no seat belt or regard for safety whatsoever. Is this listed as a pet peeve? Not on this list, at any rate, and probably -- and unfortunately -- likely because no one gives it a second thought. They don't talk about people speeding through reds (probably more annoyed when they're behind someone who does not), they don't mention cars pulling out of lots in front of you and you nearly hitting them -- despite getting the 'sumimasen' wave. And as Alex pointed out and my number one pet peeve, people who flip on the hazard lights so they can wait for someone at the station or run into the supermarket/convenience store without having to park in a regular or assigned parking lot. This is VERY dangerous, whether you're another car, bicycle, or pedestrian.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Throwing cigarette butts out of windows

This can be extremely dangerous, especially when riding a scooter (or a bicycle). I have had lighted butts land on my leg and smoke/ashes can sometimes get behind the glasses/goggles into one's eyes.

When driving my car, I agree with all the other peeves given in the article.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

On the rare occasions where they do let you out no-one uses the one-flash of the headlights as a signal, leading to stand-offs where you're not 100% sure that they're letting you go.

I've seen that used in some countries - Taiwan, for example - to mean they ain't stopping. It's one you learn very fast...

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I've never driven in Japan, but my ex has driven me plenty of times... and what scares me the most are the roads at night: some have no lights and there are trucks and cars bombing down them at stupid speeds, and there's an uncovered drain at the side of the road too.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

getting cut off (is that the right term?) by the driver opposite you at a red light when the light changes - doing a right turn right in front of you as you are driving straight through... had this happen to me countless times which basically caused me to accelerate like a madman through intersections as soon as the light changed green - if it came down to it, i'd rather be hit than the one causing the hit

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The incredible number of traffic lights gives one incentive to put the foot down, especially when there is a string of greens and missing one can double the amount of time it takes. Have counted 50 in 20km. Police aren't much of a help as you really see them and when they do pass with their lights flashing everything returns to normal. Truck drivers with mobile phones can wake you up too! Most driving is a result of the system and can't blame Japanese drivers too much although there are times.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

only oneJUL. 23, 2013 - 10:11PM JST The incredible number of traffic lights gives one incentive to put the foot down, especially when there is a string of greens and missing one can double the amount of time it takes. Have counted 50 in 20km. Police aren't much of a help as you really see them and when they do pass with their lights flashing everything returns to normal. Truck drivers with mobile phones can wake you up too! Most driving is a result of the system and can't blame Japanese drivers too much although there are times.

You are simply making excuses for Japanese drivers; road rules are road rules and are there for a reason. Follow them, no excuses.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@letsberealistic.. they could have them in sequence, the timing could be better.. there's been a bunch of times when i waited for the light to change green at an intersection, drive 100 meters to the next one only to have that light change red on me while the next one down changes green. boggles my mind

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mine is in the driving in slow in the passing lane. My friend and I call it the "squeeze" play. They move into the passing lane and when parallel with the car they were going to pass they match their speed and keep everyone else squeezed in behind them. Another poster on here once called the tailgating "death trains" and after reading it I saw them daily. It really looks as it they are towing or hooked like box cars on a train......insane!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

I have been hit by cars three times since living here and the last one resulted in a little payday for myself as the old bag blew through a red light without looking and plowed into me riding my bike. She had the nerve to try and blame me too.

Consider yourself lucky. An oldster died last week in downtown Sapporo. My gf and her coworkers saw the aftermath from their office. The coworkers all blamed the cyclist. My gf, who cycles to work as well as drives on weekends, did not. The newspaper article the next day explained how the senior had been plowed down from behind and dragged under the car while he was riding in the newly installed cycling lanes. The coworkers still blamed the cyclist.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The biggest problem driving - or even walking in Japan is that there are no addresses.

I can't believe that a country can survive without an address system.

I know that there is a "chome/banchi" system, but it doesn't work.

I was asked by a desperate taxi driver in Tokyo where "San-chome" was.

And when we moved to Okinawa, the removal company (an Okinawan company) phoned to ask where the apartment was.

Every other country in the world, as far as I know has street names and house numbers. Many places even have street names posted clearly on every corner.

Not in Japan.

Okinawa has to be the worst.

What chome or what banchi is not written anywhere in a lot of areas.

Near our apartment there is a crossroads, with all roads designated as Rte 7.

If anything needed a boot into the 21st century, this does.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Get real. Get a bicycle.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

My daily commute is 122 km there and back. Total time: 75 minutes. Some things are nice about Iowa.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Craig: "Get real. Get a bicycle."

Agreed, but then you've got a whole new, and more annoying, set of pet peeves.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

Ignoring red lights, ignoring crosswalks, cyclists ignoring traffic rules, and bikers ignoring traffic rules.

Yeah, generally people just ignore too much.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japanese on the whole seem to be pretty safe drivers, although getting stuck behind a K-truck going 30 km/hr in a 50 km/hr zone is pretty common, and very exasperating. However, 2 things in particular stand out for me, that I haven't witnessed in other countries. I live in an area where there are a lot of tunnels, many of them single lane, and I would say up to 90% of drivers don't bother to turn on their headlights when driving through them. I've had numerous close calls coming up to a tunnel and having a car suddenly appear, virtually invisible with lights off. This includes so called "professional" truck drivers. I can't believe the police don't crack down on this (for one thing they could make a fortune in fines!). The only reason there aren't more accidents is again due to the generally slow speed most people drive, particularly in the countryside. The second is more annoying than dangerous. Why is it most Japanese insist on backing into a parking space? When you back into a space you force others to wait, but if you have to back out, you are forced to wait until is clear. So I find it incredibly selfish.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@letsberealistic wrote:

It's funny how some people's pet peeve is driving too slowly cause mine is that Japaneses drivers drive too fast - they always do 20-30 kmh more than the limit. One time I was doing the speed limit in the fast lane and a yakuza guy flashed his lights behind me sped up passed me (nearly side-swipping me) on the inside, got in front of me, slammed on the breaks, hot out and yelled at me. - I yelled back - Problem? I wasn't speeding like everyone else!

Cannot defend this Yak's dangerous behavior but you were also at fault for driving slower than other traffic in the right (inside) lane.

There are two laws in your situation. One is the "speed limit" law and the other is "Slower traffic keep to the left" law. Obeying one law, the speed limit, does not give you the right to disobey the other law. By disobeying the second law, you force others to pass illegally on the left. (This is why the Yakuza guy was so angry.)

You may respond that the Yak and others are speeding but that is not a defense against your disobedience of the slower traffic law. You are expected to obey the laws even when others don't. If you want to be a legal driver, obey the law and drive in the middle or left lane.

Also, you might want to keep in mind that, overall, it's safest on the expressway when all traffic moves at about the same speed. Anytime you drive slower than the mass of traffic, you are increasing the danger.

Everyone knows that the speed limits on the expressway (generally 60 kh/hr in the city) are too low and so most drivers drive at a reasonably safe speed (80 kp/hr). If you drive with the flow, you will be safer and will not get a ticket. The tickets will go to those driving faster than the flow.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Solid yellow lines in the middle of most roads are excessive. I realise it's illegal but simply use common sense and overtake the idiots who cruise at 40km/h on otherwise deserted (straight) country roads.

My pet peeve is seeing people driving slowly as I overtake them, only to find they're texting someone on their "smartphone". Maybe these phones are clever but the users can be pretty stupid! Get a Hands free setup and talk if you must communicate but don't hold everyone else up behind you whilst messaging someone something meaningless!

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@Moondog

Cannot defend this Yak's dangerous behavior but you were also at fault for driving slower than other traffic in the right (inside) lane.

I didn't make it clear but of course I was going faster than the other traffic - that's why I was in the fast lane.

Everyone knows that the speed limits on the expressway (generally 60 kh/hr in the city) are too low and so most drivers drive at a reasonably safe speed (80 kp/hr). If you drive with the flow, you will be safer and will not get a ticket. The tickets will go to those driving faster than the flow.

Moondog, think there's a contradiction there; you said drivers should follow the speed limits but as above you say it's "reasonable" to go 20 kmph OVER the speed limit. No no no, it is never "reasonable to go over the speed limit, ever. If you think the speed limits are too slow talk to your local representative or start a petition - don't break the law or decide on your own speed limit.

This is exactly the problem with road rules in Japan; people don't abide by them and this is a significant contribution factor to why we have people dying on the roads.

-3 ( +1 / -4 )

JonathanJo wrote:

Sticking butts out the window is pretty risky.

You mean like in the movie American Graffiti?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

People beeping me for stopping at a stop sign. People beeping me for not pushing in aggressively. People beeping me because they think I might do something I had no intention of doing.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Very happy that I do not drive in Japan after reading these comments.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

letsberealistic wrote:

Moondog, I didn't make it clear but of course I was going faster than the other traffic - that's why I was in the fast lane.

If you were driving faster than the other traffic, how did you get passed on the left by the yakuza guy?

Anytime you are in the inside lane and a car behind is gaining on you, you are required by law to move to the left. How fast you happen to be driving at that point is immaterial under the law. This also applies when driving in the middle lane.

Moondog, think there's a contradiction there; you said drivers should follow the speed limits but as above you say it's "reasonable" to go 20 kmph OVER the speed limit. No no no, it is never "reasonable to go over the speed limit, ever.

No, I said you should follow the speed limit if you want to be a "legal" driver. Then I mentioned that if you want to be a "safe" driver, you should go with the flow. To do otherwise is dangerous, regardless of the speed limit.

If you think the speed limits are too slow talk to your local representative or start a petition

Yeah, that's gonna work! I'll get right on it. %-)

This is exactly the problem with road rules in Japan; people don't abide by them and this is a significant contribution factor to why we have people dying on the roads.

Yup, and that's why dangerous driving habits like driving slower than other in the passing lane is illegal.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Elbuda said: Japanese drivers suck?? Japananese in general no common sense?? How can they pay so much money and still be such crappy drivers?? Not sure if this applies to all the Japanese drivers but as far I can see its only the tip of the J iceberg!! How about all them fools driving in the heavy rain at night?? With no lights on??????!!!!

Dude, I totally agree!

One thing that I for the life of me just don't understand is seemingly brainless folks young and old riding their bicycles against traffic without even realizing they just missed my car by inches. Death wish, maybe?

Another situation that I would prefer to do without is how EVERYONE over here comes to a perfect stop at the train crossing and does a perfect by-the-manual look both ways while I'm waiting at the end of that long line of cars knowing I'm going to be late for my next class!! I know its the law and everything, but just sayin!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

@daveyc Having lived in some places where train crossings caused very long lines, I can sympathize. Some of the Keiyo and Odakyu Line crossings, for example, are notorious for this. Some of the Nambu Line ones, too, although several of those have since been elevated. There are many others, and because of the number of trains, at rush hour they can be maddening just because of how long they're closed, plus the careful drivers who take so much time getting through during the short time they are finally open to cross.

Still, I'd rather wait while each driver checks it out before proceeding, than have to wait much longer while the wreckage of a train-hit car is cleared away. I learned to get up earlier for an earlier start, to account for all the--predictable--waiting time.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Just having the words "Japanese driving" in the beginning of a sentence scares me.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I wonder why no matter what speed you are doing, you hit a constant stream of red lights.

Is it only Naha and Sapporo?

I really wish they would have roundabouts (rotaries) in this country.

They don't use electricity.

Nothing to go wrong if there's a power cut (often happens in typhoon season in Okinawa).

Traffic flows, albeit slowly in rush hours, so less petrol (gasoline) is wasted.

I'm sure most cyclists wouldn't DARE to try to go round a roundabout.

Many "paper" drivers who come to England are too scared to use them. It would sort the "wheat" from the "chaff." If a person doesn't have the confidence to drive around a roundabout, he/she has no place driving.

Roundabouts please!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What gets me is that I work way late in the evening and I have extremely sensitive eyes, for the life of me, I just don't understand why many people here drive with their "high beams" on or the big trucks driving on the small streets at 90km with their high beams on, scary! Another thing I hate is when I have the right a way and once the light turns Green, the car across the street in front of me that wants to make a RIGHT, will sneakingly HIT the gas and just make that right without waiting their turn. And of course, mothers nursing their newborns in the front seat. I don't think their is enough education about how deadly airbags can be once they are deployed and you have little children in the front seat. The US, Australia have some of the toughest laws regarding child seat safety.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qj3_oX308Q8

The police need to do a better job at patrolling the streets instead of sitting in the Koban all day. What the hell do they do in there??

For me, the most dangerous times are in the morning. Most Japanese are concerned about being ON TIME and safety takes a backseat (no pun intended) so driving becomes increasingly dangerous, another is these young guys driving Ferrari's BMWs and other sports cars and want to impress the driver next to them, showing off, look at me, I can drive fast and cool. These people really scare me.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

MoondogJUL. 24, 2013 - 12:52PM JST letsberealistic wrote:

If you were driving faster than the other traffic, how did you get passed on the left by the yakuza guy? He swerved through the two inside lanes cutting through gaps - it happened within seconds. I can see how anyone could

Anytime you are in the inside lane and a car behind is gaining on you, you are required by law to move to the left. How fast you happen to be driving at that point is immaterial under the law. This also applies when driving in the middle lane.

I was in the middle of passing a row of cars and not prepared to swerve into gaps at that speed - had he given me time I would have moved into the left lane given the opportunity. For me when driving the safety of myself and those around me always comes first - I will never take risky manoeuvres for anyone no matter how much of a hurry they are in.

No, I said you should follow the speed limit if you want to be a "legal" driver. Then I mentioned that if you want to be a "safe" driver, you should go with the flow. To do otherwise is dangerous, regardless of the speed limit.

So you are implying that to be safe you have to break the law. Fine, let's all just make up our decisions about what is and what isn't safe and make our own rules and we'll all be safer. How about just all following the same rules?

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

One of my pet peeves here is that many Japanese drivers act as if they do not have pet peeves.

They make huge allowances for the really very stupid driving of other road users where I would be foaming at the mouth.

HOW CAN YOU REMAIN SO CALM?

When I can calm myself down enough I will give an example or two here! :D

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Where is the PET bottles full of truck drivers urine? Next time you stop in traffic look at the trash on the highways and you'll see Japanese truck drivers don't stop and throw their bottles out the window, they are EVERYWHERE on Japanese highways... so gross!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

letsberealistic wrote:

I was in the middle of passing a row of cars and not prepared to swerve into gaps at that speed - had he given me time I would have moved into the left lane given the opportunity. For me when driving the safety of myself and those around me always comes first - I will never take risky manoeuvres for anyone no matter how much of a hurry they are in.

I'm confused. Are you saying that you were driving under the speed limit but faster than everyone else except the yakuza guy? Above you wrote:

One time I was doing the speed limit in the fast lane and a yakuza guy flashed his lights behind me sped up passed me (nearly side-swipping me) ... [because] I wasn't speeding like everyone else!

The point I was making, which you have not acknowledged, is that driving at the speed limit in the right lane ceases to be legal the moment someone passes on the left. This is a point that escapes many self-styled "law-abiding" drivers.

So you are implying that to be safe you have to break the law.

I don't think I was implying anything. I clearly stated that it's safer to keep pace with the flow than to disrupt it by driving slower. Please feel free to refute this.

Fine, let's all just make up our decisions about what is and what isn't safe and make our own rules and we'll all be safer. How about just all following the same rules?

It's my position that it may not be the law but it's the rule that most drivers exceed the limit by 20 km/hour or more on expressways and it's safer to match that speed than to drive slower. You can drive slower if you must, but you should stay out of the right lane if you want to stay within the law.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Mind numbingly slow driving is one of my favorite things So much to see. . I once had a donkey cart, Jacko would amble along at a good trot. I can do that pace now, in my car - keeping well over so that other drivers can pass. Japan seems full of thoughtful drivers, none of them mind much - my donkey cart speed.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

My biggest problem with Japanese drivers was that when they were lost and checking their Navi or Map they would pull over and sit on a busy narrow road to figure things out when there were perfectly good parking lots nearby. And all to often they'd pull over just around a bend in the road. People.... pull into a parking lot or somewhere safe the will also not cause traffic behind you to pile up.... please.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I drive daily here in the Kansai area and here is what I like about driving in Japan and hate-

Likes-

Most people wave then bow then flash their hazard lights to say thank you for letting them in front of you

Most people signal when getting in front of you. In L.A., people act like their turn signal is broken.

Some people will flash their hazard lights to say I am sorry for cutting you off

On single lane roads, the car in the opposite lane flash their lights to allow you to turn in front of them to avoid congestion for your lane

Parking areas are clean and you can get free tea/water

Insurance is dirt cheap

Gotten out of tickets because I am a foreigner

Things I hate-

Not being able to turn at a red light

Expensive Shakken every 2 years

Drivers who flash their lights to get out of their way only for them to stop at the next signal

Gas pump has no lock so I can wash my windows while the gas is being poured in

People who speed to get in front of me only to drive slow

Road construction during the day

Bicycles who use the street instead of the marked bicycle lane
0 ( +1 / -1 )

@Dude

Being from L.A. you are 100% spot on, especially on "Number one" "NOT being able to turn on RED." Why? Certainly you are NOT bothering anyone, but I have thought about this very deeply. Imagine if people here COULD do that. I think that accident rate would probably significantly go up.

The gas pump lock is another thing, but I bought years ago back in the states a gas key and it fits snuggly on virtually any handle at the pump. I bought if for a buck at a connivence store while getting....gas. Gas keys are a big help when you want and need to do more important things for your car.

As far as bikes are concerned, here is where good driving skills come in hand, because people here ride any way they want, you have to stay constantly vigilante and to watch out, they pop out everywhere and mornings can be particularly stressful with the hundreds of bikes and scooters out on the road or people riding on the opposite side of the traffic and yes, sometimes the elderly use the street as THEIR bike lane, I have no idea why, but they often do.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

letsberealistic:

No no no, it is never "reasonable to go over the speed limit, ever.

Well, if you don't have the driving skill, then don't push yourself. And stay out of the passing lane, slowpoke. ;)

So you are implying that to be safe you have to break the law.

Sometimes, yes. Laws aren't perfect. They don't often don't take weather into account, or incidents happening in your path, compensating for other drivers not following the laws, etc. Following every single traffic law perfectly, 100% of the time, doesn't make you a good driver. It might make you an obedient driver, but mainly it makes you a driver who can't think for themselves, improvise, or adapt to changing situations.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No no no, it is never "reasonable to go over the speed limit, ever.

In Japan, it is not only reasonable to go over the speed limit, it is expected - at least everywhere I have lived and visited. If the speed limit is 50km everyone - I mean EVERYONE including the police themselves - will drive their cars at 60km/hr. The only people driving at 50km/h are learner drivers and old people who can't see 10 metres ahead of them.

There is an unwritten rule that it is okay to go about 10km over the speed limit. The police themselves usually will never stop anyone for speeding unless they are doing at least 13km over the limit on a normal road and 20km over the limit on the highway (there are of course exceptions). Just yesterday I was doing 90 in a 70 zone in Kansai - but I was merely going with the flow of traffic. Being a goodie-two-shoes and driving at 70km/h when everyone else around me is driving at 90 would be downright dangerous.

If, like OldHawk says, you are so obsessed with written "rules" and can't adapt to how locals drive, then that makes you an unsafe driver and you really shouldn't be on the road.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

papasmurfinjapan: Until you have a crash and your insurance company wont cover you because you were going over the speed limit.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

gogogo,

Go ahead, drive 10-20km slower than every other single person on the road including the police themselves. I'm not stopping you.

If you get in a crash, I guarantee the other person's insurance company will blame you for driving too slow and not keeping up with the flow of traffic.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

papasmurfinjapan: Nah they will blame us because we are foreigners. An example is my foreigner friend was put at 90% fault when a deliver bike ran into his parked car he was sitting in.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

1 Cigarette butts.

My brother who rides a motobike has told of butts flicking into his helmet (almost) causing him to get burned on the face and get sparks and sh*t in his eyes.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I agree with all

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@mr woooster

I really wish they would have roundabouts (rotaries) in this country.

I work with transportation engineers, and they're actually looking into installing them.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I'm scared of these new cars with automatic stop function when they sense danger.

Ive given up driving. It's been about a year.

I hate motorcycles weaving in and out of cars and ignoring the existence of lanes. Taxis in Tokyo do that too on multi laned roads. And soooooo many drivers ignore the pedestrian right of way at zebra crossings,or try to sneak through small gaps of pedestrians on crossings. Soooo dangerous.

Plus idiot parents of young kids letting their kids bound along roadsides without holding their hands. Stomach in throat moments everyday.....

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Tailgating!!!!!

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

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