Setting Up Hong Kong Home, Driving

Seperator

Driving in Hong Kong
Cars

In Hong Kong a car is not essential unless you live out of town or have children. They can be very expensive, new cars have a huge duty on them, I believe it's 40%. Second hand, they will be less of course but the duty would be factored into the price, but if you're lucky you may find someone who is leaving and needs a quick sale. Parking is expensive, most apartments that have a space allocated is rented separatley. Gas/petrol, road tax, insurance don't come cheap.

Driving

Just a few pointers to bear in mind. In Hong Kong they drive on the left hand side of the road. Drivers must be eighteen or over, hold a valid driving licence and at least third party insurance that must be carried with you when driving. Seat belts must be worn by the driver and passengers if fitted front and back. You cannot use a mobile phone while driving unless a "hands free" system" is being used. Speed limits are generally 50 - 70 Km/hr or 30 Km/hr in some residential areas. Motorcyclists must wear a helmet.

Licence

If you're in Hong Kong for less than a year you can continue to drive on your existing licence. For those staying longer you have the option to exchange your existing licence for a Hong Kong licence. There is an approved list of countries that subject to certain terms and conditions will duplicate the class/categories on your existing licence. For those countries not on the list, the authorities will issue a temporary licence until you pass the Hong Kong driving test.

Penalties

Hong Kong operates a point's based scheme for driving offences. Fifteen points or more will result in disqualification. For drinking and driving there are prescribed limits that if exceeded may result in prosecution. Better still leave the car at home. For speedy fines these are issued on the spot, or by post if you get caught by one of the hidden cameras.

Parking

Parking meters are available throughout Hong Kong, they operate from 08.00 to midnight Monday to Saturday and Sundays and public holidays ten in the morning until ten at night. Use your Octopus Card to pay. Illegal parking gets you a fixed penalty fine, wheel clamp or tow away depending on how bad the offence is perceived.

Roads

Roads in Hong Kong are good, but come at a price; the main routes and tunnels are subject to tolls. You can have a sensor fitted to your car that automatically deducts the toll, so no need to get in line with a pocket full of dollars, just drive through. Road signs are bi-lingual in English and Chinese, show the route number and speed limit. Roads can be very busy especially on Hong Kong Island and not just at peak times in the day. A car is potentially expensive item to own and run, so consider the benefits before you commit. On a general point I would say the standard of driving in Hong Kong is surprisingly good considering the amount of traffic on the roads. Is this because there are more Rolls Royce's sold in Hong Kong than any other place in the world! For most people a taxi and the MTR meets their requirements.

For more information visit..... Hong Kong Transport Department.