Driving in China is definitely not a joy moment, even dangerous, China is on the top list of traffic accident in the world.
As I mentioned here, there is no free way between cities in China, they are all fee based express way, most of them are 4-6 lane(both way) road, and also there are 8 lane(both way) in some areas. For simplicity, I call it highway.
Fee based express way is the most usual way for traveling by car, although they are expensive(averaged 0.5 RMB/KM), it it still way better than other low level road between cities, which is called the national road.
Basically you wound never choose national road for hours driving, it got complicated traffic environment, such as traffic light, crossover, pedestrian or bicycle, even the overloaded trunk. And in some areas, even some local people would charge you for passing their ‘Territory’, it is illegal, but you have to pay and no one can sue them successfully as I know.
Only if the highway was shutting down because of the heavy fog or severe accident, you are not recommended to drive on national road.
Highway is better, but there are still some security tips here. (I have driven more than 300,000 KM long journey since 2007)
1. Don’t be a Victim, which means, driving in good manner by yourself is extremely not enough to keep you safe on the road. You should pay more attention on others.
2. Be prepared or planed for long trip, the signage on the road is not enough or clearly sometimes, you may miss it, but if you miss it, just come out from the next exit. The security tips here is if you are passing by an important exit of highway, pay more attention to the car which is backing up , or swerving from insider lane to outside lane suddenly for exiting. I am not kidding, you got a great odds to see it, so be careful.
3. It is rare, but sometimes, there would be someone walking on the road, usually in one side of the road, but still dangers.
4. For both highway or national way, when there is another lane combing, like entering into the highway, lots of drivers would not mind the passing car already in the road. So leave away from the exit/enter lane.
5. Leave away from the trunks, they are all 100% overloaded, and in case any emergency situation, it would be out of control. So if you follow it or drive side by side with them you are definitely in danger, just speed up, keep distance.
6. If someone is tailing you so closely that you can’t even see his license plate, just mildly slow down to force him to leave you away, because if you break in emergent way, he will crash on you. I don’t know why someone would drive like that, but it happen every day.
7. Not just look at the car in front of you, try to look far, because sometimes there would be no alert signage putting behind a broken car. you have to be aware of that earlier to give response.
8.Driving inside a city is much easier, but got great odds for accident if you don’t pay more attention on all others, especially for the food delivery guy.