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Vietnam – Driving

Driving in Vietnam can be a unique and exciting experience, but it’s important to understand the local driving standards, road safety, and traffic rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. Here’s what you need to know before getting behind the wheel in Vietnam.

Road Safety in Vietnam

Road safety is a significant concern in Vietnam, with a high number of traffic accidents and fatalities each year. The major causes of accidents include speeding, reckless driving, and drunk driving. Additionally, many vehicles in Vietnam are in poor condition, with worn-out tires and inadequate brakes, which can also contribute to accidents.

It’s important to drive defensively and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Also, note that motorcycles are very popular in Vietnam and are often seen weaving in and out of traffic.

Quality of Roads and Local Driving Standards

Vietnam has a vast network of highways and roads, but the quality of roads can vary greatly depending on the location. While major highways are well-maintained and efficient, rural roads can be narrow and winding, making them more challenging to navigate.

In terms of local driving standards, drivers in Vietnam can be assertive and aggressive. It’s not uncommon to see drivers cutting each other off or driving recklessly, but this behavior should be avoided as it can lead to accidents.

Legal Requirements for Equipment in Your car

When driving in Vietnam, you are legally required to carry the following items in your car:


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  • A warning triangle
  • Reflective safety vests for all passengers
  • A first-aid kit
  • A fire extinguisher

These items are mandatory, and failure to carry them could result in a fine if you are pulled over by the police.

Legal Requirements in the Event of a Road Accident

If you are involved in a road accident in Vietnam, you must stop your vehicle and call the police immediately. It’s important to stay at the scene of the accident until the police arrive, as leaving the scene is a criminal offense.

Also, it’s crucial to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver involved in the accident. In Vietnam, it’s not uncommon for disputes to arise between drivers after an accident, so it’s important to have all the necessary information on hand.

Main Driving Rules in Vietnam

When driving in Vietnam, there are several important rules you should be aware of, including:

  • Drive on the right-hand side of the road.
  • Vehicles turning right have the right of way over vehicles going straight or turning left.
  • Speed limits vary depending on the type of road and are typically between 40-60 km/h in urban areas and up to 120 km/h on highways.
  • Seat belts must be worn at all times by all passengers in the car.
  • Using a mobile phone while driving is illegal.

It’s also worth noting that Vietnam has strict drink-driving laws, with severe penalties for drivers caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

Road Signs and Traffic Lights in Vietnam

Road signs in Vietnam follow international standards, with signs displayed in both Vietnamese and English. Some of the most important road signs to look out for include:

  • Stop signs – indicates a full stop is required.
  • Yield signs – indicates that you should give way to other traffic.
  • No parking signs – indicates that parking is not allowed.

Traffic lights in Vietnam operate the same way as in most other countries, with red indicating stop, green indicating go, and yellow indicating caution.

Getting Up-to-date Road Traffic Information in Vietnam

If you want to stay up-to-date with road traffic information in Vietnam, there are several resources available online:

  • Vietnam Expressway Services Engineering Joint Stock Company – provides real-time traffic updates on its website and mobile app VietnamNet – offers traffic updates and road closures on its website.
  • Twitter – many local authorities and news outlets provide real-time traffic updates on Twitter, using hashtags such as #giao_thong and #tinh_trang_giao_thong.

Parking Rules in Vietnam

Parking can be a challenge in Vietnam, especially in urban areas with high population density. Here’s what you need to know about parking rules in Vietnam:

  • On-street parking: In Vietnam, on-street parking is often limited and regulated by local authorities. Drivers should look out for no-parking signs or markings and avoid parking illegally to avoid fines or towing.

  • Off-street parking: There are several options for off-street parking in Vietnam, including public parking lots, parking garages, and private lots. Rates and availability vary depending on the location and time of day.

  • Parking permits: If you are an expat living in Vietnam, you may be eligible for a parking permit. These permits allow you to park in designated areas without having to pay parking fees or fines. To apply for a parking permit, you will need to provide proof of residency and pay a fee.

  • Disabled parking: Vietnam has designated disabled parking spaces, which are marked with a blue and white symbol. Drivers with disabilities can apply for a disabled parking permit, which allows them to park in designated spaces.

Driving in Vietnam can be an exciting and unique experience, but it’s important to be aware of the local driving standards, road safety, and traffic rules to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip. By following the guidelines outlined above, you can have a smooth and stress-free driving experience in Vietnam. Remember to always drive defensively, obey traffic rules, and be aware of your surroundings at all times.


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