Hustling through Vietnam’s Hanoi on a motorcycle is one of life’s white-knuckled thrills. Flow with the traffic and lay your eyes upon some of the greatest sites the country has to offer – some that can truly only be appreciated from a bike. However, due to a lack of road safety laws and regulations, your daydream could suddenly turn into a nightmare – so here are 10 tips to help you safely navigate through Vietnam’s cities.
Stay Away From Buses
Unfortunately in Vietnam, bus drivers have a tendency to think they are the owner of the road and are therefore particularly lethal for motorcyclists. If they sneak up too close behind you they will sound a deafening foghorn to alert you of their presence. If you see them in your rear view mirrors, you should move out of their way. And allow them plenty of room when they merge with the traffic flow.
Don’t Use Your Front Break
With the traffic unpredictable and disorderly, it’s more than likely you’ll need to make a few emergency breaks. If you decide to do this with your front break, your front wheel with lock up suddenly and you’ll be thrown over the handle bars possible into oncoming traffic. So it is essential that you play it safe and only ever use your back break to avoid becoming an unfortunate statistic.
Beware Of The Kickstand
Some motorcycles won’t start if the kickstand is down. It can be a heart-stopping moment when you attempt to turn left infront of an oncoming lorry but your stand suddenly digs into the ground which can unfortunately result in you being thrown from your bike. So be aware.
Go With The Flow
The best advice you can give to someone about to venture off on a Vietnamese motorcycle is to tell them to flow with the traffic. You may see the odd person doing something that seems unsafe and irresponsible, but the consistent flow of motorcycles in Vietnam is sure to correct them eventually. If you fall out of place in the traffic always merge back in with what other people are doing and keep a safe distance from anyone acting inappropriately.
Have Health Insurance
Not to say that you’re likely to have a serious road accident, but it’s more common in Vietnam than it is anywhere else on the planet. If a miserable situation as such should occur, you’ll want to make sure you are cared for effectively and receive the best possible treatment. Also, you should make sure you have your driver’s license or your policy may not cover you if you are injured whilst driving.
Wear The Right Gear
A decent helmet and some protective clothing is a must – many people in Vietnam will put their life in the hands of a $2 plastic bowl over their head; it just isn’t practical. For less then £30 you can purchase yourself a strong and sturdy helmet which could potentially save your life in the event of an accident. Road safety is not a joke.
Look Both Ways At Junctions
In Vietnam, many people won’t follow traffic laws and regulations unless police are in sight. Many drivers do as they please and will skip red lights and drive against oncoming traffic meaning someone on a motorcycle is at more risk of not being seen. keep your wits about you, and assume that everyone else on the road is trying to kill you.
Don’t Drive At Night
There is an epidemic in drunk driving in Vietnam, even in the cities. You can guarantee that there will be a large number of drivers on the road at night that are under the influence and are a danger to, not only themselves, but everyone else around them. Vietnamese traffic is chaotic as it is, you don’t want to risk being knocked from your motorcycle at night due to someone failing to see you because they’re intoxicated.