Overhead traffic sign strikes car, passengers escape unscathed

Photo via the Department of Highways

As if Thailand’s roads weren’t dangerous enough, now drivers have another hazard to watch out for: falling objects from aging highway infrastructure. In recent weeks, there have been numerous reports of signs and concrete striking vehicles.

The latest incident happened on Thursday, when a massive overhead traffic sign fell and struck an SUV on Phahonyothin Highway in the central province of Pathum Thani near Bangkok. Fortunately, the 2 passengers in the vehicle survived without any scratches. Authorities said the accident was a result of a storm.

Yesterday, the Department of Highways reported that a Mitsubishi Pajero Sport was hit by the overhead traffic sign while travelling on the highway. After the incident, the 66 year old driver and his daughter escaped from the vehicle and stood frightened on the road. The driver told Thai media that they had travelled from Rangsit in Pathum Thani during heavy rain. While passing the sign, he heard a loud sound like someone had struck their car from behind. So he scrambled out of his car to find a sign had fallen and struck their vehicle.

The incident caused a huge traffic jam. Cars backed up for 7 kilometres waiting to pass the scene, while officers from the Department of Highways took about 4 hours to clear the sign from the road.

This ins’t the first time falling objects have caused disruption on Thailand’s highways and byways. There are numerous reports of aging highway infrastructure having fallen on cars in recent weeks. Last month, one netizen even shared that his vehicle was hit by a concrete structure while stopped at a traffic light beneath an overpass.

The man, Natthawit, shared on his personal Facebook page that his car was struck by a concrete block that fell from an expressway in Bangkok. The block broke his car window and fell directly into the left passenger seat. It was lucky that he was traveling alone and no-one was hurt. The driver claimed that the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Company had kept silent about the incident as if nothing happened.

Natthawit said that he had stopped the car while waiting for a traffic light at Marayat Di Intersection near MCOT Junction on Rama 9 Road under the Si Rat Expressway. Suddenly, a concrete brick fell from the above expressway and struck his car. The driver also posted a picture of the block, which was large enough to cause fatal injuries. He said it was lucky that his wife and daughter hadn’t been travelling with him that day.

Although he was safe, Natthawit said he wouldn’t stay quiet and let the story go unreported. He made a call to the Bangkok Expressway and Metro Company and informed them about the incident. The company sent staff to assist him, but they couldn’t agree on the compensation.

He said that around 5 to 6 parts of his car needed to be fixed or changed, which was a big deal for him. He said he never imagined anything like this would happen to him. At the end of his Facebook post, he added a hashtag saying, “If the story doesn’t go viral, compensation won’t be paid.”

According to Thai media, the driver asked for a new car and monetary compensation. The expressway company said his claim was too much and couldn’t promise him further responsibility for the incident or compensation for now. The driver shared with Thai media that he thought he could claim even more money, and what he had asked was a reasonable amount because the incident was a matter of life and death.

In an update on his Facebook page, Natthawit said he had received 700,000 baht in compensation, plus 18,000 for the time he was unable to use his vehicle. He thanked Thai netizens for helping his post go viral, ensuring his compensation.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s report about the falling highway sign didn’t reveal whether the passengers had claimed compensation for the damage done to their vehicle. But it’s certainly a good thing they were driving an SUV.

SOURCE: Dailynews | Thairath | Department of Highways | Natthawit Jrw | Channel 3

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Petch Petpailin

Petpailin, or Petch, is a Thai translator and writer for The Thaiger who focuses on translating breakingThai news stories into English. With a background in field journalism, Petch brings several years of experience to the English News desk at The Thaiger. Before joining The Thaiger, Petch worked as a content writer for several known blogging sites in Bangkok, including Happio and The Smart Local. Her articles have been syndicated by many big publishers in Thailand and internationally, including the Daily Mail, The Sun and the Bangkok Post. She is a news writer who stops reading news on the weekends to spend more time cafe hopping and petting dwarf shrimp! But during office hours, you can find Petch on LinkedIn and you can reach her by email at petch@thethaiger.com.

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