So, you finally got your Japanese driving license! Congratulations! Maybe you even used this Japan Info article to do so! Obtaining a Japanese driving license
No, go forth and drive your best drive, but be aware of the manners!
Some driving habits of the locals may confuse you at first, but eventually, you will get into the swing of things. Here are a few quick tips to help you make your road trip safe, fun, and Japanesey!
Yes, use them in emergencies. If you have a flat, your car overheats, or a vomiting child causes you to need to pull over quickly, by all means, use those bad boys! But, in reality, the Japanese use them for more mundane reasons. First, we use them to show that we are about to back into a parking spot. Stop the car, push the flasher, put the car into reverse, and claim your spot! Another use is to say thank you when pulling into traffic, or merging lanes. After all, it dangerous to bow when driving!
Sure, you want to beat that thing like a Taiko Drum when you are angry and someone doesn’t give you the emergency flasher thank you after pulling out in front of you. But, we use it – a quick toot, rather than a prolonged push – to say thank you to other drivers when they let you in, or pull over for your on a narrow road. One or two toots means thank you. A long, nasty push means “Get outta my way!”
Most shops and parking lots politely request you back into spaces, as it makes it easier when pulling out to avoid running over stray pedestrians. There are several signs requesting this, but most are in kanji. So, in general, back into a spot! It may be troublesome at first, but it is a written or unspoken rule. The great exception to this would be in parking lots with trees or shrubs bordering the parking lot. As exhaust is not good for plants, it is best to park nose-first into these.