Bad driver

This afternoon I was driving on a quiet street in Pudong when I suddenly encountered a traffic jam. At the public library drivers in the opposite lanes were crossing the double yellow line (=not allowed to cross) to get into the parking lot of the library, and by doing that blocking the traffic in the lanes on my side. Because the parking space was full, there was hardly any movement. When cars finally started moving the drivers who illegally crossed did not let our lanes go first, which would have solved the whole traffic jam in one minute, but instead they kept on blocking the road. Sadly, this is very normal in China, most drivers do not care about others at all and only think about themselves while in traffic (combined with their poor driving skills this explains 80% of all traffic jams).

When cars finally moved a little bit again, I pushed myself in between two cars that were trying to get into the library parking lot, so that my lane could start driving again. But the driver of the car immediately on the left of me apparently did not like the idea and touched my car with his car. He got angry and said he wanted to call the police. Did he maybe think I, as a foreigner, would be afraid of that and give him some money? He was the one who was breaking the traffic laws, so I took pictures of the situation and my wife called the police.

They were there within a few minutes. The guy found out quickly that he was the one who was wrong, and the police explained him that very clearly. Upon examination it turned out that I did not even have a scratch on my car, and only he had some damage. The guy was not so happy, and started to curse my wife, to which she of course reacted by telling him what she though of him – the guy was not so good at arguing as she is, and did not know how to react anymore. The police man told him to stop, making remarks about that it’s a hot day and we should stay calm. Then he told me and my wife that we could go, and he gave the guy a fine and 3 points on his driver’s license. I felt good, I hope the other driver will learn from this, although that’s probably idle hope.

Write a Comment


  1. Amazing your car was not even scratched. Anyway driving a car in Shanghai is never an easy job.

  2. Good story. Always fun to see the drivers block the road and not having a clue about what they are doing.

  3. Ha Marc,

    Hartelijk gefeliciteerd met de zwangerschap! Extra vervelend om in deze omstandigheden een -zij het mild- auto ongeval mee te maken.
    Je vrouw zal vast geschrokken zijn, want als zwangere vrouw voel je je best kwetsbaar.
    Ik wens jullie een voorspoedige zwangerschap toe, en vooral dat jullie ervan kunnen genieten!

    Margreet Blaauw

  4. Looks like the other car had Zhejiang plates. Do you notice any difference in the driving skills of the drivers of Shanghai-licensed vehicles versus those licensed from out of town?

  5. @Caliboy: Most cars with Zhejiang (and Jiangsu) plates in Shanghai are owned by Shanghainese that try to avoid to spend the RMB 40,000-50,000 for a Shanghai license plate. Therefore there is no noticeable difference. If a car is really from out of town you will notice it, however, because these people often do not know the way in Shanghai.

  6. Hi Marc,

    everyday I drive from Shanghai to Jiangsu province and it’s hell on the road.
    This morning I got stuck because some special trucks for construction needed to go on the outside ring, but the entry was too narrow as it was put big concrete blocks there to avoid people getting on the ring too fast. I was stuck 30 min for people to move the concrete blocks!
    But the worst there is that they stopped a few meters after the entry so that it was real difficult to go on the ring, if they would have moved 200m, the traffic would have been very good.
    Incredible, but it is almost everyday incredible here on the road!!


  7. @Shanghaijo: That’s a typical experience you had today. Most people do not think ahead when they drive, or they only think about themselves and don’t care whether it could cause other people trouble. Partly this may be due to the total lack of education that many (especially truck and bus) drivers have.

  8. Agree, that’s typical, but even after 7 years here, I still can’t get used to it!