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Driving in Japan: Thank you Hazard Light

Driving in Japan: Thank you Hazard Light

Old Oct 19, 20, 1:30 pm
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Driving in Japan: Thank you Hazard Light

I was reading Japanese news and I learned that there is unwritten acknowledgement between drivers in Japan called "thank you hazard light." When you were allowed to change lanes or were let into the lane there is thing called "thank you hazard light" where you turn on hazard light for short period of time (few seconds) to thank a driver who let you in. I did not know that. Obviously this is not a proper use of hazard light as far as traffic regulation of Japan is concerned, but seems to be common thing and many drivers in Japan are aware of that.

In the U.S. I wave my hand to thank a driver who let me in or let me merge. Disadvantage of this is cannot see during night.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 2:27 pm
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They do this a lot in South Africa. I have not seen it so much in Jpn, but maybe I have not been paying enough attention.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 4:39 pm
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Slightly unrelated but one thing I've come to learn from living near a level crossing is just because you think there is nobody around at a level crossing so you don't need to do the momentary stop thing that is prescribed in law - think again.

The local constabulary here make a sport sometimes of using a little hiding spot by the level crossing and if they catch anyone who doesn't stop it's on with blue's and twos and stopping the offender.

I guess they use it for sport or when they need to get their arrest / fine ratio up a bit.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 6:17 pm
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I live in Japan and I do this and I see most people do this. I like it a lot. It can be for Thank You or I'm Sorry. It helps calm my frustrations when someone cuts into my lane suddenly.

Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle View Post
I was reading Japanese news and I learned that there is unwritten acknowledgement between drivers in Japan called "thank you hazard light." When you were allowed to change lanes or were let into the lane there is thing called "thank you hazard light" where you turn on hazard light for short period of time (few seconds) to thank a driver who let you in. I did not know that. Obviously this is not a proper use of hazard light as far as traffic regulation of Japan is concerned, but seems to be common thing and many drivers in Japan are aware of that.

In the U.S. I wave my hand to thank a driver who let me in or let me merge. Disadvantage of this is cannot see during night.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 6:28 pm
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I have seen similar actions by truckers in the US. When a truck is passing, the truck being passed blinks their bright lights to let the passing truck know they have clearance. Once the passing truck pulls back into the lane they will blink their trailer lights.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 6:57 pm
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Originally Posted by evergrn View Post
They do this a lot in South Africa. I have not seen it so much in Jpn, but maybe I have not been paying enough attention.
So impressed with general highway manners in South Africa! When you come up behind slower moving vehicles on the single lane 130 kmh highways they almost invariably move over on to the generous shoulder most of those roads have. Zip past...flash the hazards, get a headlight flash in return. I may have been lucky, but I have good memories of the fairly long drives I did there.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 6:58 pm
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Used to be that Japanese drivers turned off their headlights when they stopped at a pedestrian crossing. I don't think I have seen that happen in recent years.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 10:27 pm
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In Japan, all must be forgiven when the offender raises their hand and nods their head (flashing hazard lights when on the road). On the other hand, turning on the hazard lights to indicate that you "won't be parked here for long" when blocking the left side of the lane should NOT be acceptable.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 10:28 pm
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Used to be that Japanese drivers turned off their headlights when they stopped at a pedestrian crossing. I don't think I have seen that happen in recent years.
Since the advent of auto on/off headlights, that nice courtesy seems to have gone away.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 10:36 pm
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Originally Posted by nishimark View Post
Since the advent of auto on/off headlights, that nice courtesy seems to have gone away.
Figures. I always thought it was unsafe, since some drivers would absent-mindedly leave their lights off and accelerate away as soon as they saw a green light.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 10:45 pm
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It has been a long time since I was in a car parts store, like Autobacs, but I remember being struck by the difference in product range from what I was used to - Japanese stores had aisle upon aisle devoted to decorative gear knobs and steering wheels, cup holders, ornamental doodads, trash receptacles with mascots, scents, designer-brand floor mats and car shoes. Back home the equivalent space was devoted to anti-theft devices and more anti-theft devices.
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Old Oct 19, 20, 11:31 pm
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Figures. I always thought it was unsafe, since some drivers would absent-mindedly leave their lights off and accelerate away as soon as they saw a green light.
I rather liked it. When facing an oncoming car while waiting at an intersection, sometimes their lights are bright in my eyes. Though more modern tech seems to have developed lights that put more light on the road in front than in other drivers' eyes.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 12:56 am
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Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Used to be that Japanese drivers turned off their headlights when they stopped at a pedestrian crossing. I don't think I have seen that happen in recent years.
Had nothing to do with courtesy. It was a holdover from post war years of cars running charcoal on converted engines. Drivers doused the lights to avoid stalls while idling.
jib71 and Palal like this.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 2:15 am
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Originally Posted by 5khours View Post
Had nothing to do with courtesy. It was a holdover from post war years of cars running charcoal on converted engines. Drivers doused the lights to avoid stalls while idling.
Fascinating. Charcoal vehicles were long gone when I first visited, but clearly the old custom hung on like a vestigial organ.
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Old Oct 20, 20, 2:21 am
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mjm
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Originally Posted by AlwaysAisle View Post
I was reading Japanese news and I learned that there is unwritten acknowledgement between drivers in Japan called "thank you hazard light." When you were allowed to change lanes or were let into the lane there is thing called "thank you hazard light" where you turn on hazard light for short period of time (few seconds) to thank a driver who let you in. I did not know that. Obviously this is not a proper use of hazard light as far as traffic regulation of Japan is concerned, but seems to be common thing and many drivers in Japan are aware of that.

In the U.S. I wave my hand to thank a driver who let me in or let me merge. Disadvantage of this is cannot see during night.
If you pull that in the UK you will have a bunch of irritated drivers as the use of hazard lights while driving is to indicate to those behind and unable to see as far as the forward driver that traffic has slowed to a near or complete standstill. It is a signal to slow down immediately.
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