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Traffic Rules and Etiquette

An expressway is a roadway that allows vehicles to travel at high speed. Drivers who habitually ignore precautions and violate traffic rules are the cause of major accidents. We urge you to observe all traffic rules and help make expressway driving safer.

If an accident occurs

Always drive at a safe speed and within the speed limit!

A roadway’s maximum speed is the speed limit indicated for that particular roadway. All drivers must travel within the speed limit and in accordance with road and traffic conditions. In other words, each driver is responsible for driving at a safe speed that does not pose a danger on the roadway, and should never take it for granted that it is safe to travel at the speed limit.
In addition, the Chief of the Expressway Traffic Police Unit may temporarily designate a speed slower than the posted speed on an expressway (50 km/h, for example) due to weather conditions, roadwork, or other reasons. Always pay attention to the road signs and drive at a safe speed appropriate for the road and traffic conditions.

National Expressway main lane vehicular speed limit

  • Expressways with a posted speed limit: the posted speed limit
  • Expressways without a posted speed limit: the legal speed limit

National Expressway main lane legal speed limit

Vehicle type Speed limit (km/h)
Large passenger vehicle, ordinary vehicle (three-wheeled excluded),
large two-wheeled vehicle, ordinary two-wheeled vehicle
100
Vehicles other than the above
When towing another vehicle
80
  • *The speed limit for main lanes that for structural reasons do not have separate lanes for each direction is 60 km/h, the same as for ordinary roadways.
  • *Light vehicles with total engine displacement under 600cc are classified as ordinary vehicles under the Road Traffic Act.
  • *Towing another vehicle on a National Expressway is allowed when a vehicle with the appropriate structure and equipment for towing is towing a vehicle with the appropriate structure and equipment for being towed.

Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you!

When driving a vehicle with new tires on a dry road surface, you need to allow a vehicle-to-vehicle distance of about 100 m at 100 km/h and 80 m at 80 km/h.
Moreover, when driving a vehicle with worn tires on a road wet from rain, you need to allow about twice this distance.
In summary, you need to take into account the weather, road condition, tires, load, and other factors so as to maintain a sufficient distance to avoid a collision if, for some reason, the vehicle in front of you suddenly stops.

Do not cut off other vehicles!

You should not change lanes unnecessarily. Moreover, you should never change lanes in a manner that forces vehicles behind you to suddenly brake or steer in order to avoid hitting you. When changing lanes, always look in the rearview mirror and also look over your shoulder to check behind you. In particular, changing lanes and cutting in front of a vehicle immediately behind you forces the driver to suddenly turn the steering wheel and slam on the brakes, which can cause a major accident.

Keep your eyes on the road!

A vehicle traveling at 100 km/h moves at 28 m per second. Momentarily taking your eyes off the road on an expressway can lead to rear-end and multi-vehicle collisions. When driving, avoid daydreaming, gazing at the scenery, and other distractions, and keep your eyes on the road ahead of you.

Do not stop or park on the expressway!

Stopping or parking a vehicle on an expressway is illegal under the Road Traffic Act. Stopping on the shoulder or side strip is extremely dangerous because it poses a risk of rear-end collisions with approaching vehicles. Moreover, parking on the shoulder in front of toll gates, payment plazas, and elsewhere in order to wait for the ETC time period discount is not only subject to a fine under the Road Traffic Act, it is dangerous to other drivers. For breaks, please use the nearest service or parking area.
With the exception of the following cases, stopping and parking on expressways is not permitted. Violations are subject to fines under the Road Traffic Act.

  • Temporarily stopping to prevent a hazardous situation
  • Parking on a shoulder or side strip of sufficient width due to a breakdown or accident
  • Stopping in order to pay a toll

Do not drive on the shoulder!

The expressway shoulder is for vehicles that must temporarily stop due to an accident or breakdown and for police cars, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles to drive on during an emergency.
Since obstructing the shoulder prevents these emergency vehicles from doing their work, you must never drive on the shoulder, even during a traffic jam.

Leave passing lanes open!

In the following situations, it is permissible to drive in a passing lane:
- When designated by road signs and markers as a traveling lane
- When passing another vehicle
- When you must remain in a passing lane because changing lanes is not permitted
- When temporarily yielding to a nearby emergency vehicle
- When driving in the passing lane is unavoidable due to road or other conditions

Continuing to drive in the passing lane despite having completed passing and being able to return to the vehicle traffic lane is a lane violation. Moreover, when passing another vehicle you must drive in the lane immediately to the right of the vehicle traffic lane, and you cannot exceed the speed limit for the expressway even when passing another vehicle.

  • *“When driving in the passing lane is unavoidable due to road or other conditions” means that the designated vehicle traffic lane is unavailable due to damage, construction, or other reasons and when vehicle traffic lanes are too crowded to allow the vehicle to immediately return to the lane after having completed passing.

Expressways are one-way traffic!

Vehicles drive the wrong way on expressways when they go in the wrong direction from service and parking areas to return to the main road, when they pass an exit interchange, and when they make U-turns on the main road or near toll gates.
Expressways are one-way traffic. One person’s carelessness can cause an accident or other tragic situation. Therefore, observe the road signs and markers indicating the driving direction so that you never drive in the wrong direction on an expressway.

At the tail-end of a traffic jam, turn on your hazard lights to warn the vehicles behind you!

The middle and tail-end of traffic jams are especially prone to rear-end collisions. If you see a traffic jam ahead and you need to reduce your speed or stop, turn on your hazard lights to warn the vehicles behind you.

Be aware of the angle of your headlight beams!

Vehicles on expressways travel at higher speeds than on ordinary roads and drivers need to know the road and traffic conditions farther ahead than on ordinary roads. For this reason, when driving through tunnels and other places with poor visibility on expressways both at night and daytime, in principle you should turn on your headlights to extend the visibility farther compared to an ordinary road.
Moreover, when vehicles cross each other or directly face each while traveling, drivers should adjust the brightness and angle of the headlamps so as to not risk interfering with other vehicles and traffic.
Using the headlights at high-beam or low-beam depends on the roadway structure (whether or not it has a center median partition, for example) and traffic conditions (whether or not there is opposing traffic, for example), and drivers should make every effort to set the angle of the headlights so as not to blind other drivers.
Moreover, illuminated headlights warn other drivers of your presence, so be sure to turn them on during early twilight and when in tunnels.

Perform a thorough check and adjustment before departure!

The expressway shoulder is for vehicles that must temporarily stop due to an accident or breakdown and for police cars, ambulances, and other emergency vehicles to drive on during an emergency.
Since obstructing the shoulder prevents these emergency vehicles from doing their work, you must never drive on the shoulder, even during a traffic jam.

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