The dangers of Shanghai traffic are quickly apparent to most expats. However, some advice and information might be helpful to keep you safe.
After some tips below, we also provide information on the Shanghai traffic safety crackdown begun in 2016, the new traffic safety law implemented in 2017, the number of vehicles in Shanghai, and expats driving in Shanghai.
Fortunately the enforcement of Shanghai traffic regulations has improved greatly in the last few years.
In early 2016 the Shanghai government unleashed a powerful traffic safety campaign with thousands of traffic police being stationed at many intersections around the city to catch rule violators.
Results have been very impressive, with a drop of 24 percent in overall accidents, 14 percent in deaths and 47 percent in injuries between March and November 2016 over the same period in the previous year.
Shanghai authorities said this traffic campaign would run indefinitely, and certainly in 2017 there are still many more police at intersections around Shanghai than before the campaign started.
Other measures recently adopted to improve Shanghai traffic safety include:
In 2015 there were 2.5 million registered vehicles in Shanghai, a figure that is growing by over 10 percent each year.
Moreover, there are an estimated 1.5 million more vehicles registered outside of the city on Shanghai roads everyday. Many of these owners reside in Shanghai, but are trying to avoid the very high registration fees, or have not yet been able to win one of the coveted licenses in Shanghai's monthly auction.
Cars without a local Shanghai license plate are not allowed to drive on the elevated expressways during rush hours, but are free to use other roads.
Shanghai uses a monthly auction system to control the number of new cars on the road. In March 2013 the average auction price for one of the 9,000 available plates hit a record high of RMB 92,000 (US$15,000).
This price has been quite stable over the last few years with the average winning price in the May 2017 car plate auction in Shanghai at RMB 90,209 (US$13,106) for one of the 10,316 plates on offer.
If you want to drive yourself, you also need to get used to many other common driving habits in China, including:
You can check out this site for information on applying for a driver’s license in Shanghai.