At 9:14 am on June 10, eleven people were killed and eight others injured after a tour bus fell into a valley in Gongkar County along the No.307 Provincial Highway, becoming the second major traffic accidents within one year in Tibet.
On August 9, 2014, a tour bus fell off the cliff in Nyemo County along the No.318 National Highway, which caused 44 dead and 11 injured.
Located in the southwest part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, Tibet has various complex landforms with high and steep mountains, deep valleys, glaciers and etc., with the average altitude of more than 4,000 meters. Hence, it requires excellent driving skills and concentration when driving in the region, especially when passing through the narrow valleys.A small mistake will cause crash or dropping down in the valley.
Tibet has introduced stricter measures including speed limits for all highways and harsher punishment on speeding to ensure road safety. Motor vehicles will be only allowed to run at a speed of no more than 40 km per hour on urban roads, while speed limits on highways outside cities are set at 70 km per hour.
In recent years, self-driving travel to Tibet has become a trend though the region is one of the difficult places for self-driving travelers. We hereby give our readers some tips for safe driving in Tibet, including preparation work before packing up.
For self-driving tour to Tibet, it is better to reserve enough time for preparation. The high altitude, harsh road, changeable weather and unstable geological condition make it quite hard to predict what will happen on the way.
For self-driving travelers, "be careful" is not only a gentle reminder, but a practical principle because so many car accidents have been witnessed impressively by fresh drivers along the trip to Tibet.
The below are some experience shared by the seasoned drivers who have been driving in Tibet for over 10 years.
1.Preparation: On one hand to choose a car with better off-road performance and on other hand to make full preparation, including physical and supplies preparations.
2.Prevent from highland sickness. When your brain is suffering from hypoxia, it is possible that you may make stupid mistakes out of no reason. Having some Rhodiolae before or during the tour can ensure the safety of both the car and yourself by preventing and resisting altitude sickness and hypoxia to reduce unnecessary slips.
3.An overall check of your car beforehand. Besides some basic maintenance measures, you can also reinforce the chassis.
4.Control driving speed, especially on the earth road. A lot of car accidents happened as they were driving too fast to escape the pit and rock, causing them to slip off the road.
5.Try to learn some repair skills , particularly the works like changing the tire or give some assistance. It is said that the Tibetan drivers are all experts in car repair after many experiences where no one could help them.
6.Learn about camping and get prepared for it . As a result of uncertainties of long-distance driving, it is not rare that one has to camp out in case of traffic jam.
7.Follow the team if possible so people can take care of each other and avoid getting lost. The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is quite vast, so as long as you are lost, it is hard to see someone, let alone to find someone to guide you out.
8.Remember to check the tire pressure during the trip. It is more possible to have problems on the plateau than on a plain, although the changes of inside and outside differential pressure caused by the altitude variation are still within the endurance of the tire.
9.It is better to have a complete overhaul of the car after your arrival in Lhasa. If unable to find a repair factory at once, you can seek assistance at a store of Jeep accessories in Jinzhu West Road that usually offers help to driving travelers to Tibet.
10.The last but not least, people with serious breathing, cardiovascular, heart or psychiatric problems are not suggested to enter Tibet, let along driving into the region.