For those not familiar with traffic in Shanghai China, take note. The past weekend my wife’s friends had set up a meeting for them and the kids over the river in Pu Dong, we live in Pu Xi. I insisted on getting a car seat for Sophia, something that is rare but getting more popular here in China – think back to your childhood driving around, for those of you over 30 you and you know what is the norm here (kids in front seats sitting in laps, jumping all over the back seat, etc.). So I had installed the seat, got the kid strapped in, loaded up the CD changer, full tank of gas and we were off to navigate the elevated highways that circle the city.
Surface streets are a mix of people, bicycles, mopeds, motocycles, taxis, buses, and impatent drivers. Traffic lights are deemed a stong suggestion, California stops for right turns on red are the norm, and defensive driving will get you nowhere because you will be pushed off in the corner until after 8 pm. The highways are just cars, taxis, busses, and the big trucks on the outter rings, Shanghai has 3 rings. We headed east toward the Bund. Not getting into the repeat of our getting lost but we now know to always, always go towards Lu Pu Bridge.
Getting on the highway, NS experssway headed toward the Bund, we made our way through the interchange and onto the expressway going to the tunnel when.,, Wham, rear ended by a taxi. One thing to note, traffic on the expressways backs up at choke points, of which there are many all over the place. Here we were going from 2 expressways into 8 lanes, into 6 lanes, merging into another expressway while being divided into 2 seperate 3 lane roads. It was at this juncture where drivers merging left battle with drivers merging right and those in the middle try to dodge the two where the taxi came in too fast and could not stop in time or was not paying attention. Long story short, no real damage, just some rub marks on the bumper, a bent mounting plate behind the bumper, and not lights, backup sensors, etc. damaged. The taxi driver did not want to call the cops, and we bargined the price to 100 RMB, less then the 400 RMB we wanted but with no structural damage the money will cover the wax and buffing needed to get rid of the mark. The payment was enough for the taxi driver to acknowledge his guilt and we did not have to wiat for an hour for cops, file insurance claims, etc. Needless to say, the wife is more appreiative of the car seat now. No injuries, nothing for alarm. The rest of the day was misshap free.
For those not familiar with Shanghai expressways, the entrance and exit ramps share space, so you have cars exiting at speed merging THROUGH cars entering at speed. Its a tense ballet of cars weaving in and out that is suprisingly accident free, most accidents are rear end collisions and fender benders on the surface streets. I wish I could get some pictures of this, but with the wife pregnant and not confident in her driving that just isn’t safe enough for me to attempt. I can grab some surface street pictures at rush hour times for visual reference. Driving in Shanghai is not just a job, its a practice in survival!