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Taiwan Driving

Updated on January 9, 2012

Getting Your Drivers License and Driving in Taiwan

Taiwan grants licenses to foreign citizens on the basis of reciprocity.  Since the state I came from in the U.S. requires residents to get a license, I have to get a Taiwanese license, rather then just exchanging my foreign license for a Taiwanese license.

This lens will describe the steps to get a drivers license in Taiwan for those who already have a foreign-issued license. 

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Before we start, do you even need a Taiwanese license?

International Driving Permits

If you already have a drivers license in your home country, it is likely that you can drive legally in Taiwan with an International Driving Permit (IDP). The length of time you can drive in Taiwan on an IDP depends upon your nationality (and for some countries, your state/province). This is due to the principal of reciprocity. Basically, you'll receive the same rights and limitations that your country, state, or province imposes upon Taiwanese citizens.

My Favorite Questions from the Written Test

Copied from an official on-line practice test. Please mentally add "sic" parenthetically after each item. I did not alter or correct these in anyway. Any comments by me are indicated with brackets.

Please don't e-mail me to explain any of these questions. My answer to all such questions is: "Beats me, just rote memorize the question for the computerized written test. It doesn't need to make sense for you to pass it."

You would think that the above two paragraphs make it clear that I did not write the test questions. I copied them WORD FOR WORD, WITH ALL SPELLING/GRAMMAR ERRORS. I'm posting them here because I think they are humorous. Yet despite the paragraphs above, I received the following e-mail:

"Hi. Just want to bring to your attention the fact that your written driver's test is not worded properly. This would make it very difficult for English speaking people like from the USA or Canada. I suggest that you contact a well-spoken English person to write it properly. Thank you, [NAME REMOVED TO PROTECT THE CLUELESS] I hope this helps."

If you are having similar thoughts, please re-read the above paragraphs. If you still feel the need to point out the obvious, please direct your comments to Taiwan's Ministry of Transportation and Communications:

  1. TRUE/FALSE: All cars must be revised and maintained periodically. [Ed. note: would painting it a new color be an acceptable revision?]
  2. TRUE/FALSE: When encountering eldely, women and children crossing on the pedestrian cross and are walking slowly, the driver must honk to hurry them up. [Ed. note: The answer must be true, right? ;-) ]
  3. The principle of the use of highways is established according to different car types, speed and exhaust capacity. [Ed. note: Huh?]
  4. When driving, you must be careful every second and everywhere. [Ed. note: Although, in Taiwan, drivers are never careful, anywhere.]
  5. Under special circumstance you must be on the left side of the road, you must: (1) accelerate (2) slow down and watch for other cars and pedestrians (3) honk at will to warn all coming cars [Ed. note: The answer is (2). Hmmm...When would I want to be on the left side of the road? Perhaps when I'm passing a slower car ahead of me? Would I really want to slow down to pass? Under what other circumstances would I be on the left side of the road?]
  6. When you are driving and see the cars on neighboring lanes have turned off the turn signals, you must: (1) accelerate and pass (2) slow down and yield (2) compete and race

    [Ed. note: The answers is "slow down and yield"; Is "off" a typo? Shouldn't it be "on?"]

  7. In the modern society, time is money, a professional driver must emphasize on: (1) car beauty (2) safety over time (3) traffic infrastructure [Ed. note: I don't know exactly why, but this question brought a smile to my face.]
  8. When driving parallely with other cars, the car in the front needs to stop: (1) must turn on the right signal light and brakelight or hand gesture to notify (2) stop any time, no need for signal and hand gesture (3) slow down then stop slowly [Ed. note: If two cars are driving parallel to each other, can one be in front?]
  9. [From the motorcycle test.] I am a good driver, I obey all traffic laws, I want the highway patrol to: (1) be more strict (2) be relaxed (3) just check but not report [Ed. note: Uh...]
  10. Motorcycle cargo's height must not pass the driver's: (1) head (2) shoulders (3) whist [Ed. note: What does a card game have to do with it? Okay, this is a cheap shot at an obvious typographical error.]

Guide Books and Maps

Lonely Planet Taiwan (Travel Guides)
Lonely Planet Taiwan (Travel Guides)

I have soft spot for the Lonely Planet guides. This is my favorite guide to Taiwan.

Nelles Taiwan Map (Nelles Maps)
Nelles Taiwan Map (Nelles Maps)

If you're going to drive in Taiwan, you'll need a map.


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