Driving rules & regulations

Stay on the right side of the law

For many expats, driving in Taiwan is a challenging experience.  The driving rules are similar to what you would expect from most countries, however rules are often bent or completely ignored by Taiwanese drivers.

This can make it a stressful activity for the non-Taiwanese and should be avoided by unconfident drivers or for those with little experience in driving outside of their own country.

Road rules

Generally the rules of the road are similar to most other countries (when they are observed), however there are some differences. The Taiwanese drive on the right-hand side of the road. Unlike in other countries where you are allowed to turn right at a red light, this is not permitted in Taiwan. The speed limit is 50mph on all city streets.

All passengers have to wear a seat belt. For bikes, all riders must wear a helmet, and a valid driver’s license is necessary for bikes of 50cc and over. Bikers are not permitted to turn left at major intersections.

Local customs

If a driver flashes you with their lights it means “I am coming”  not “please go ahead”. Honking a horn is not a sign of aggression but is more commonly used as a warning.

On the Taiwanese roads the biggest vehicle has right of way. Scooters tend not to look for oncoming traffic and rely on other vehicles to watch out for them. If you hit someone on a scooter you will be blamed even if they crashed into you.

You should get into the habit of checking both mirrors when you turn, as Taiwanese drivers can be expected to pass on the left side of vehicles turning left, and on the right -hand side of vehicles turning right.

The few driving violations which are enforced are drink driving, speeding and turning right at a red light.

The blood alcohol limit is 0.05%. Penalties for going over the limit include fines of up to TWD$90,000 fine, and a suspended license  for 1 year. Higher levels of intoxication can result in license suspension and being charged with offences against public safety and a possibility of imprisonment of up to two years.

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