When it comes to travel in Hokkaido, it is nice to go by rental car. You can go everywhere you want to and easy access to the most beautiful sites. Now, there are many rent-a-car shops around the air port and the big city in Hokkaido. There are many many beautiful and exciting sites that I want to show you, but it is too hard to reach by only public transports. So you are supposed to drive a car. There is one thing I have to tell you as driving in Hokkaido. This is the most dangerous place for driving,too, in spite of the most beautiful place. Hokkaido had been the place where there are the most death amount of traffic accidents for many years. Nowadays, its amount has been declined year by year, but Hokkaido has been in the 4th worst position all the Japan. Fortunately, I have not so often heard serious accidents as foreign tourist’s driving. But it is true that a whole family were killed under the slippery road in the winter some years ago. This was a big tragedy and never happened again. Autumn coming to Hokkaido, it is time to see Red leaves at the mountains or parks. The season of driving a car has come and you should enjoy driving in Hokkaido. There are some instruction for you, novice visitors in Hokkaido.
10 hints for driving in Hokkaido
1.Display a novice driver’s mark or a senior driver’s mark
If you display these mark on the front or the back of the car, other drivers are supposed to watch your driving. If you have enough confidence for driving, it is a good idea to show the mark or if you are a senior driver, you should do it.
2.Gas up before you go through the pass
You need to gas up before you get trough the pass of the high mountain. There is no gas station around there usually. Also you have to check your gas before the night. The more rural you go, the earlier gas-stands close. They often close before 20:00 in the rural town. Don’t forget it.
3.Watch animals such as a deer, bear and fox in the night
Mostly in the east of Hokkaido, many deer or serows jumping to the road. This is very dangerous. If it is a small animal at the case, don’t handle quickly. Your car must be crashed outside road. Though I feel sorry, you should go on if you hit them.
4.Bring a portable toilet for little children
There might be no gas station, convenience store or the station of road for the long time as driving in rural area. This is a tragedy for adults,too. Portable toilets are deal at the car device shops such as JMS(ジェームズ), Autobacks(オートバックス) or Homack(ホーマック).
5.Watch a intersection of good visibility without a signal in the rural
This is a dangerous case of accidents. Drivers are aware of existing each other, but they don’t know which side road is prior, so that they are going to crash in the worst case. Slow down your car and watch it.
Many bicycles are there, especially in the big towns such as Sapporo, Asahikawa, Otaru, Hakodate. Bicycle riders are dangerous and don’t stop at the signal. They drive as if they were walkers. This is a bad habit by Japanese. Most Japanese riding a bicycle doesn’t think they are driving a vehicles. Bicycle is a light vehicle under the law of Japan.
7.Don’t break during corner or curve on the icy road
Of course, you are going to spin. Slow down perfectly before curve in the winter or on the icy road.
8.Don’t stay in the car, if you would stopped on a bad visible road in the winter
You are going to be hit by a car coming behind. Many accidents occur in this situation. Especially in the winter and stormy condition, don’t stay back your car,too. Away from your car and light a smoke candle for emergency and help someone or call 911.
9.Don’t leave anything in the space watchable from outside as your parking
Thief watch your belongs even if you are parking in the any safety area.
10.In the center area of Sapporo, there are many one way traffic
Even if Sapporo citizen, many people make mistakes. Be careful and watch the sign above.
See this article ‘10 Check Points of Driving in Hokkaido‘.