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Japanese drivers may do things a bit differently from what you expect. Here are some things to watch out for.


Turning left Edit

BehaviourEdit

It is common for Japanese drivers to slow right down or even halt completely when turning left. The reason is that pedestrians have right-of-way at the turns, and it is quite possible for a cyclist to come whizzing out just as you are turning,

What to doEdit

  • Don't assume you have right of way when turning left.
  • Watch carefully for cyclists and pedestrians before turning.

Shadowing Edit

BehaviourEdit

Some Japanese drivers don't like overtaking, so they will sit behind your car without either overtaking or slowing down, but maintaining the same position. It can be annoying when you want to change lanes.

What to doEdit

  • Change lanes early.

Signals Edit

BehaviourEdit

Japanese drivers are sometimes very delayed in making left or right turning signals. It isn't uncommon for a driver to start signalling after they have already started turning.

What to doEdit

  • Don't rely on other driver's signals.
  • Use common sense to judge when they're going to slow down.

Pedestrians Edit

100% driver liabilityEdit

If you are driving a car and you have an accident involving a pedestrian, no matter what the circumstances the Japanese police will treat it as 100% your fault. So be extremely cautious of those randomly wavering pedestrians and cyclists. Remember that no matter what they might do, including running out in front of you as you are driving, if you hit someone it will be considered your fault.

What to doEdit

  • Slow down when you see pedestrians.
  • Don't assume people will automatically get out of your way because you're in a car.
  • Drive carefully.

Aggressive driversEdit

BehaviourEdit

Like any other country in the world, there are some aggressive drivers in Japan. They accelerate furiously towards red lights and overtake you as if they are driving in the Le Mans 24 Hour Rally.

What to doEdit

  • Avoid them as much as possible. Put space before or after yourself.

TailgatersEdit

BehaviourEdit

Tailgating is the practice of trying to force another car either to move over or go faster by coming very close to the back of it. Japanese people often complain about being tailgated.

What to doEdit

Tailgating is dangerous and stupid behaviour, but there is nothing you can do about it except move over. What ever you do, don't drive faster. This will encourage the tailgater to do it again, and may get you a speeding ticket. True story: one Japanese lady I know got a speeding ticket after going faster when being tailgated.

Lane driftingEdit

BehaviourEdit

Drifting in and out of lanes.

What to doEdit

  • Be careful of lane drifters.
  • Always be aware of the cars on the left and right of you. They often lane-drift without even making a signal.

BosozokuEdit

BehaviourEdit

  • Drive fancy cars or motorcycles, typically designed to make more noise. Other signs include blue neon lights around the licence plate and anything which looks "fancy" stuck on the car, and noisy motorcycles without proper silencing.
  • Ignore red lights. Seriously. They don't care if you're coming through on the green light. They have right of way.
  • Use long empty roads in Tsukuba, like the Norin Sakura Dori as drag racing strips late at night.

What to doEdit

  • Put distance between them and you.
  • Don't drive in bosozoku areas like Norin Sakura Dori late at night.

Scary peopleEdit

BehaviourEdit

Seen in Tsukuba:

  • A mother driving at 80 kilometres an hour on Route 408 whilst bouncing her baby on her knee.
  • In the autumn, a middle aged Japanese man stopping his car on the left side of Nishi Odori near PWRI and getting out of his car, standing in the road, to take a photograph of the autumn leaves.

What to doEdit

  • Pray they don't have an accident.


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