For many of us here in Thailand, we all have to encounter driving on the roads here at some point. It can be a very dangerous and daunting task trying to come to terms with driving in Thailand. There are several factors you need to be aware of at all times when driving in Thailand, and we have listed the most important ones that may well save your life!
- 1) It is an accepted practice and some people say is actually law, that vehicles approaching from a left hand turn have the right of way. So when you are driving along a road and a car or motorbike pulls out from the left, don’t be alarmed, make sure you have your foot on the brake ready as it will happen all the time. What’s worse, is in general drivers who do pull out in front of you, have little if any appreciation of what speed you may be driving at. It is almost a care free attitude that it is YOU who needs to avoid hitting them!
- 2) A common occurrence is for drivers to drive towards you on the WRONG side of the road. Yes, you are happily driving along the road the right way, and a vehicle or motorbike will be approaching you on your side of the road. Drivers are very lazy when it comes to going down the right side of the road, to then do a U-turn to come back up and take whatever turning they want. Instead it’s much easier to just hop across into your lane and drive at you!
- 3) Undertaking when driving in Thailand, is all part of driving out here. Do not be alarmed to find cars flying past you on the inside lane, it’s what happens out here. A lot has to do with drivers hogging the right hand lane travelling at ridiculously slow speeds, irrespective of the fact there are no cars in front of them. This often forces people to undertake in order to pass them, causing all kinds of danger and confusion!
- 4) Single lane traffic is so dangerous, especially up North. With slow moving trucks carrying produce, cars will often, without concern, pull out to overtake. Even if you are approaching them they will not stop, they will just flash their lights to warn you they are coming through no matter what! So when you see a slow moving truck in the distance be sure to anticipate a lunatic pulling out at you and heading straight for you!
- 5) Motorbikes are in the most, accidents just waiting to happen. Time and time again riders will blindly drive across you, ignorant as to your whereabouts or speed. If you see a motorbike in the left hand lane be sure to expect them to suddenly cut across you, especially where there are U-turns ahead. What magnifies the problem, is many riders fail to use a helmet which as everyone knows, is critical to survival!
There are many other issues to be aware about when driving in Thailand, but the list above are ones we know from experience, will cause you the most problems! Add to these situations the introduction of alcohol, and no licence, well we need not say anymore. If you are driving in Thailand, PLEASE be careful, expect the unexpected and never think that the person ahead of you, or heading towards you knows what they are doing behind that wheel or holding those handlebars!