Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Taiwan?
Driving in Taiwan requires a lot of patience for the cities are packed with cars almost around the clock. Don't give up on car hire though for using one to escape the chaos of the cities will allow you to see the beautiful and magical countryside - a complete contrast to places like Taipei.
Seat Belt Laws
By law, everyone in a moving car in Taiwan must be properly secured with a seat belt.
Drinking and Driving
The legal limit for alcohol in the bloodstream of drivers in Taiwan is 50mg per 100ml of blood. Many drivers flout the law but if you are caught, the punishment is severe, including a spell in a Taiwanese jail.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have both parts of your driving licence; paper and card, and an international driving licence. It’s also useful to have proof of motor insurance and proof of ownership of the vehicle.
The speed limits for Taiwan are as follows:
Motorways: up to 110 km/h, depending on the motorways, it can be 100 km/h
Open roads: 80 to 90 km/h, look out for signs
In Town: 40 to 50 km/h, depending on building density
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Taiwan if driving a locally registered car. If you are hiring a car, you will find that it’s more common to get a driver included in the hire rate. If you are driving a hire car yourself, you will need to be 25 or older otherwise a young driver premium will apply.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are legal in Taiwan but given the traffic congestion there it’s unlikely you’ll need to use it very often. Where you can, it’s still advisable to stick to the speed limits for safety.
On the Spot Fines
On the spot fines are very common for minor traffic offences in Taiwan and are fixed for each offence. You will be told where to pay the fines and within what period of time. For more serious driving offences you’ll receive a court appearance.
Child Safety Rules
In Taiwan, no child under the age of twelve can travel in the front of a car. Children under 12 must be secured in an appropriate seat in the rear of the vehicle. If you are hiring a car, let us know and we’ll ensure that the appropriate seat is fitted before you collect the vehicle.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Taiwan although many drivers don’t have it. You may need to prove it to traffic police so carry your certificate with you in the vehicle.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• You must have a warning triangle in your car to use if you break down or are involved in an accident.
• You cannot turn on a red light unless indicated
• Don’t get frustrated – road rage in Taiwan can quickly turn violent
• Many drivers run red lights, especially just after they change so if you’re first at the lights when they change to green, don’t pull away immediately
If you are towing a vehicle in Taiwan you simply need to make sure it’s securely attached and that you have good all round visibility.
Safety cameras are common in Taiwan, both mobile and fixed devices. Being caught by a mobile trap will earn you a fixed penalty ticket, fixed cameras will send the fixed penalty notification to the registered address of the vehicle and if it’s a hire car, the ticket will be forwarded to you.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving without a hands-free kit in Taiwan. If caught, you’ll receive a fixed penalty charge.
Parking in Taiwan needs to be done carefully. People don’t like others parking outside their homes or businesses unless visiting them and if you break this rule you can find your car keyed or the tyres slashed and panels kicked in.
Paid parking can be in metered bays or ticketed bays or in big parking garages. Use these wherever possible as they are the securest form of parking.
The police will enforce overdue parking or causing an obstruction. As we mentioned above, inconsiderate parking will be punished by locals so park carefully.
There are no official concessions for disabled parking but if you need assistance, use an attended parking area and ask the assistant for help; it’s usually freely given.
Motor Way Signs
Taiwanese motorway signs are green with a white writing and have writing in Mandarin and English
I have broken down - Wǒ yǐjīng bēngkuì
Where is the police station? - Nǎlǐ shì pàichūsuǒ?
I have a flat tyre - Wǒ yǒu yīgè lúntāi lòu qì
I have been in an accident - Wǒ yīzhí zài fāshēng shìgù
Where is? - zài nǎlǐ?
Where can I buy petrol? - Wǒ zài nǎlǐ kěyǐ mǎi dào qìyóu?
In Taiwan, traffic lights follow the standard international sequencing pattern. Drivers from countries where it is legal to turn on a red light if the road is clear need to recognise that this procedure is illegal in Taiwan. Many Taiwanese drivers still do it though!
Taiwanese motorways have sections that are subject to tolls. You will be warned that you are approaching a toll gate but after the sign, there are no exits before paying the toll. Toll charges aren’t expensive and mean you’ll often enjoy jam-free driving.
The emergency number in Taiwan is 110 for the police and 119 for fire and ambulance. 112 works on mobile phones.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your car you should phone the number given to you on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If you are driving your own vehicle, use your emergency assistance company's partner in Taiwan.
In the event of an accident you should call the police on 110. You will need a report from them for your insurance company. Whilstwaiting for the police, take photographs of the scene and take the names, addresses and telephone numbers of any witnesses. If it is safe to do so, don't move the vehicles.
As of July 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Taiwan is 69p whilst diesel is 65p. Prices can vary between the coastal resorts and the main cities.