Okay, you may think we’re being dramatic here. A ‘how-to’ article about crossing the street? Really!? But after more than a couple close calls trying to make it to the other side of the road, we can confidently say that the traffic here is not a joke. Since we’ve mastered the art of Chinese street-crossing, we’d like to share with you the top tips you didn’t even know you needed for safely navigating the treacherous Chinese roads.
1) Pedestrians never have the right of way
We repeat, pedestrians never have the right of way. If you think that car motoring down the road is going to stop for a plebeian like you, you are surely mistaken. If drivers don’t have to stop, they won’t. So it’s on you to yield to most vehicles. Don’t let that green walking signal fool you into a false sense of security. Once more for the people in the back: Pedestrians never have the right of way.
2) Check your blindspots
Turning right on a red is practice here, so be wary of those cars flying around corners with reckless abandon. A quick look left when stepping into the crosswalk will keep you from getting too friendly with a Haval’s front bumper. Once halfway across, look right to see if you have any cars turning left on your tail.
3) Jaywalking is encouraged
This practice may be frowned upon or even illegal, but in China, it’s a way of life. I mean, why wait when you don’t have to? Can’t find a full break in traffic? Cross a couple lanes at a time. You may have to wait at the median, but most cars steer clear. As much as you may not believe it, they don’t want to hit you either.
4) If all else fails, stick with the locals
This is a tactic we’ve used to figure out how to do most things in China. Find the nearest Chinese person and do as they do. Walk right beside them as if they’re an old friend and you will arrive safely on the other side.
Basically, always have your head on a swivel. Cars can come from places that you’d never expect so always be on the lookout. Walk with confidence and you’ll be just fine.
Happy crossing everyone!