Driving in Vietnam
Driving in Vietnam is no walk in the park. While many Asian countries’ roads are very well maintained with stringent traffic laws, Vietnam is not the same. In fact some expats report that driving in the country is downright hazardous and people should only do it if they absolutely have to.
The most utilized mode of transportation in Vietnam is the bicycle and motorcycle, these two wheeled vehicles zoom through the city creating chaos on the roads and as a driver you must always be wary of them. In fact according to statistics almost all registered vehicles are motorcycles, and the people that drive cars seem to take their motorbike skills and rules and apply them to their cars. With this kind of frenzied driving the accident rate and death toll is high, it is said that Vietnam claims 30 lives on its roads daily. These are mainly caused by cars hitting motorcyclists. Driving a car is relatively safer, but the roads are congested and getting from one place to the next takes ages.
The road infrastructure in the country is not equipped to handle the volume of traffic and the roads are in rather a poor condition. This also adds to the riskiness of the driving. You cannot drive on some roads in Vietnam at all during the rainy season as they become completely inaccessible. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel, several highways have introduced toll booths that many locals avoid. These highways tend to be less congested and the money collected is used on road maintenance.
Vietnam has seen an increase in the use of motor vehicles over the last few years so more and more people tend to get behind the wheel. All drivers must have a Vietnamese driving license and foreigners have to have a temporary license for the purposes of driving here in the short term. Vietnam accepts foreign licenses for conversion
and processes over 100 foreign licenses a day. However, many expats still rely on the bus schedule.
Foreigners are permitted to purchase a car in Vietnam if they:
Are living and working in Vietnam
Possess a valid passport
Have a visa that is longer than three months
Have a valid work permit and a Vietnamese driver’s licence
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