How To Cross Vietnam’s Roads (Without Dying)

Forget everything you know about traffic laws and the highway code because none of that applies here. When it comes to Vietnam’s roads, there are no rules.

Imagine finding a wasps nest in your garden and spraying it with an aerosol can. Before you know it, angry insects would emerge and pelt in all directions. Now imagine all those wasps are actually just moped drivers and you need to cross the road. Okay, I guess that analogy could be better but you get my drift. Vietnam’s roads are bloody terrifying.

Vietnam is a country with loads to offer but before you can even consider how you are going to spend your trip, you need to master the art of getting from A to B. Here are my recommendations for surviving Vietnam’s crazy traffic:

To be honest, it probably won’t benefit you much but it helps to try and make an informed decision about when to go.

  • Ignore anything that looks like a crossing, it’s not

No-one will stop and wait for you to cross the road. You could be having a heart attack in the middle of the street and everyone would still drive around you. Seriously, if you choose to wait at the roadside, you will spend your whole trip there.

  • Take your gap

Traffic in Vietnam tries to get into spaces even air can’t reach. If you see a gap, take it. I can guarantee it won’t be there for long.

  • Attach yourself to a local

One of Hanoi's many cyclo drivers in the chaos that is Vietnam's roads!

This is my favourite tactic to get your bearings in an unknown city. If you do it like the locals, you’re probably doing it right.

  • Remember the three D’s

    (This is one for all you Harry Potter fans out there)

    • Destination
    • Determination
    • Deliberation

In other words, set your eyes on a target and don’t stop until you get there.

  • Hold Hands

You may look silly, but losing someone in a flood of traffic can be panic-inducing and downright frightening.

  • Do not stop, hesitate or change direction

Any sign of uncertainty will mean drivers from all angles will resume course and you will be left traumatised, wondering whether this minute will be your last.

  • Think happy thoughts

Walking out into one of Hanoi’s roads is a leap of faith and the key to successfully crossing is by telling yourself you’ll be fine… follow these rules and you probably will be.

Where are the scariest roads you’ve seen?

Surviving Vietnam's roads can be pretty terrifying!

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