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Drive Hokkaido

Safety-minded driving

Basic rules and manners

Driving on winter roads

  • Change tires early
  • Early brake operation and the use of engine braking
  • Soft brake operation and ABS
    (anti-lock brake system)
  • Watch your distance

What to do in a traffic accident

Major road signs and traffic lights in Japan

Hokkaido
Traffic Safety Group, Safe Living Environment Promotion Division, Bureau of Lifestyle Improvement, Department of Environment and Lifestyle, Hokkaido Government
Kita 3-jo, Nishi 6-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo
Tel: 011-204-5219
Fax: 011-232-4820

The year’s slogan , Stop traffic fatalities , For a safe and secure motorized society ? Hokkaido

Basic rules and manners

It is important to abide by basic rules and manners to avoid causing or being involved in traffic accidents.

Basic traffic rules and manners

  • You must observe traffic regulations.
  • Always be attentive to and consider pedestrians and other vehicles around you.
  • While driving, remember that pedestrians have the right of way over cars.
  • Observe traffic lights and road signs.
  • Follow instructions from police officers.
  • Senior citizens are involved in a number of traffic accidents every year. Please give extra consideration to elderly people while driving.

Basic traffic rules and manners


Rules and manners for cars

  • Cars keep to the left.
  • When turning right at an intersection, pay full attention to oncoming vehicles, as well as pedestrians and bicycles at the crossing after turning right.
  • When turning left at an intersection, pay full attention to pedestrians and bicycles at the crossing after turning left, as well as to accidents caused by misjudging the distance between the curb-side tires and other objects.
  • The use of mobile phones while driving is prohibited.
  • Take a rest if you are tired.
  • Do not perform reckless overtaking or turning maneuvers.
  • Keep a safe distance or drive slowly when passing pedestrians or bicycles.

Rules and manners for cars
Rules and manners for cars


Rules and manners for pedestrians

  • Use the sidewalk whenever one is available.
  • Keep to the right on roads without sidewalks.
  • Use a pedestrian crossing whenever one is available.
  • Be sure to observe pedestrian traffic lights.
  • Before crossing at a pedestrian or railroad crossing, look both ways to check that it is safe.
  • At night, wear a reflector or brightly colored clothes that are easily visible to drivers.

Rules and manners for pedestrians


Rules and manners for bicycles

  • Try to yield to pedestrians.
  • Except for sidewalks with signs indicating that bicycles may be ridden, keep to the left margin of the road.
  • Do not ride in tandem. It is also prohibited for more than two people to ride side by side.
  • Always grip the handlebars firmly with both hands. It is dangerous to hold an umbrella or other objects while riding a bicycle.
  • Dismount and observe pedestrian traffic lights at crossings.
  • Do not ride in dangerous conditions such as snow-covered roads.
  • Be sure to stop and look both ways at intersections.
  • Be sure to keep bicycle lights on at night.

Rules and manners for bicycles
Rules and manners for bicycles


Driver’s license

Never drive a vehicle if you do not possess a valid driver’s license.

  • To drive in Japan, you need a driver’s license obtained in Japan, a driver’s license issued by a signatory to the Geneva Convention (international driver’s license) or a driver’s license issued by a country, regional administration or authorized organization which has a licensing system equivalent to that of Japan (a document translated into Japanese must be attached to this driver’s license, and the document must be written by someone designated in a Japanese government ordinance).
  • For details, please contact the following organizations:
    (Select one. The address of each organization will be displayed.)

Hokkaido Prefectural Police:
Kita 2-jo, Nishi 7-chome, Chuo-ku, Sapporo Tel: 011-251-0110

Driver’s license centers: Sapporo / Hakodate / Asahikawa / Kushiro / Obihiro / Kitami

Japan Automobile Federation (JAF) Hokkaido Regional Headquarters Sapporo Office
15-8-1, Tsukisamuhigashi 1-jo, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo   Tel: 011-857-7122 (Membership Division)

Car insurance

It is advisable to subscribe to voluntary insurance in addition to the compulsory insurance in order to be covered for possible car accidents and take care of any potential compensation for damages.

Compulsory insurance (automobile liability insurance)
  • Car and motorcycle owners are required to subscribe to this insurance under the Automobile Liability Security Law. It covers compensation for damages inflicted in an accident resulting in injury or death.
  • You must buy the insurance when purchasing an automobile or when having a periodical, legally mandated car inspection.
  • A non-life insurance company or agency (including car dealers and car inspection shops) will handle the application process.
Voluntary insurance

Be sure to subscribe to voluntary insurance, as automobile liability insurance does not cover compensation for damage caused to the property or vehicles of others, etc., and damage in fatal accidents often far exceeds the limits of automobile liability insurance.

  • The application process is handled by the same bodies as for compulsory insurance.