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Important rules and behaviours for driving in Thailand


Thaiger

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The first rule of the driving in Thailand club is you do not talk of the driving in Thailand club. 

The second rule of ……

The third rule of ….

If you do mention the driving in Thailand club you will get out your wallet, open it and pay the officer 500 baht 

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As for "good roads" - nothing could be further from the truth - the design engineering and construction of even the newest roads in Thailand is very poor. It often leads to the false sense of security expressed by the author - they are NOT SAFE and the surfaces ae not good. The width and straightness encourages higher speeds yet the surfaces are of cheap materials that allow cars to lose control easily in emergency situations, they flood easily are poorly demarcated and lit and night. They are poorly maintained and subsidence and adverse cambers are common. The bad construction can mean holes and rifts can suddenly appear on a seemingly fine roads and it may take days or weeks before it is patched up (not properly repaired).  This includes the clearing of debris. In a sense rural roads are safer as the winding nature and rough surfaces discourse high speed driving. BTW – the speed bumps and poor surfaces mean that many Thai vehicles are running with severely damaged suspension and running gear.

The environment on the sides and medians on many roads also leaves a lot to be desired - with inappropriate barriers, or none, and obstacles like rocks and trees ditches etc, which will demolish any car that has the misfortune to leave the road. It also makes it very dangerous to those living and working at the side of a road. Another hazard is that wildlife and domesticated animals can easily roam onto the roads.

There are seldom proper width hard shoulders and curbs are usually indistinct and soft meaning that broken down vehicles still intrude into traffic.

Junctions don't not have proper filter lanes meaning that traffic joining and leaving the roads have to brake in the traffic rather than on the exit lanes and are travelling too slowly when they join the traffic on entry lanes.

 

Then there are the legendary “U-turns” - they are being phased out but are still responsible for hundreds of collisions and deaths over the years. The main reason they are there is because they are cheaper and take up less space than building proper junctions with bridges and roundabouts.

 

 

 

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"Thai Traffic Laws state that when 2 moving vehicles reach a junction spot head on, the car in the left lane is given the right of way. Unless there is a designation of a principle roadway mark, the vehicle on that mark has the right of way."

Has this come directly from Google Translate? Or just a poor journalist?

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7 hours ago, Soidog said:

...place several large branches and leafs at least 20 yards behind your vehicle in order to warn other road users.  

Yes and when you're ready to get going again, don't forget to just leave the branches in the road for people to swerve around. Keeps them on their toes. Don't bother putting them back.

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7 minutes ago, SSimpson said:

"Thai Traffic Laws state that when 2 moving vehicles reach a junction spot head on, the car in the left lane is given the right of way. Unless there is a designation of a principle roadway mark, the vehicle on that mark has the right of way."

Has this come directly from Google Translate? Or just a poor journalist?

t

the 1979 Highway Code has this.

Unfortunately Thai road signs are so poorly designated and inconsistently positioned, it is very difficult to see which road has priority...for instance in most towns a "Sai" has priority over a "Soi" - but as this is usually only written on the small blue sign at the end of the road, you need to be VERY careful.

 Many countries in Europe had, or still have this system - except of course it is priority to the right. France in particular was famous for this, but now almost all highways have priority, but beware when you enter a town or village as it switches back.

Because of this rule they have replaced as many crossroads s they could with roundabouts and now have the highest number of roundabouts of any country.

 

Edited by Khunwilko
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"Front seat passengers are required to wear their seatbelts at all times. Kids under 12 years old are legally required to use a car seat, while only being allowed to sit in the back seats of a car."

 

I believe this is incorrect too. From April  2017, ALL passengers in a 4 wheeled private vehicle have to wear seat belts.

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"Many drivers that aren’t used to the customs in Thailand will notice many cars honking their horns for no apparent reason. But, if you take a quick look around, you will see that horns are being pushed when driving near a temple"

 

This is not accurate either.

The reason for honking is Spirit houses - it is to appease ghosts or spirits. So you may see no temple there at all.

in general Thai drivers don't hoot - in huge contrast to Cambodia where they follow French/Italian customs.

In Thailand you could be forgiven for thinking a Thai driver would rather actually collide with you before using his/her horn.

The main hooting you hear in Thailand is from buses approaching pick up points.

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7 hours ago, ThailandBob said:

I'm sorry but, I was hoping for more facts and less bloviating. The writer goes into detail about what a roundabout sign looks like and talks about right of way when two vehicles approach the same point "head on", but does not state who has the right of way when in a roundabout. I've observed different behaviors by traffic entering a roundabout. Some entering vehicles give way to exiting cars, and other vehicles charge into the roundabout, forcing the exiting car to give way. 

Anyway, this article was not helpful to me.

I agree usually you give way to traffic on your right, if they’re on the roundabout- but in Thailand it seems it’s the opposite but maybe I’m wrong. I’m just going by personal experience 

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7 hours ago, palooka said:

It would be nice if anyone abided by the rules, but they don't.

They do follow the rules quite closely, just not the rules as written down. When I drive in Thailand I can happily do things that, had I done them in the US, would get me shot. That's because there are only two rules: Karma and mai bpen rai. It comes down to accepting that the world we live in (that of unwritten rules) is different than the world as it's supposed to be (with its written rules). It's always safer/better/easier to choose the first and you'll do fine.

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16 minutes ago, JamesE said:

They do follow the rules quite closely, just not the rules as written down. When I drive in Thailand I can happily do things that, had I done them in the US, would get me shot. That's because there are only two rules: Karma and mai bpen rai. It comes down to accepting that the world we live in (that of unwritten rules) is different than the world as it's supposed to be (with its written rules). It's always safer/better/easier to choose the first and you'll do fine.

foreigners driving in Thailand are particularly at risk because they simply don't understand how road safety and the Highway Code works here. 

they also think that driving the way they do back home is how everyone should drive and fail to adapt to the driving environment in Thailand.

If you find yourself shouting and cusing other motorists, it is probably you who's got it wrong.

In fact driving in a 4-wheeled private vehicle in Thailand you are no more likely to die than you are in the USA.

Edited by Khunwilko
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2 hours ago, RJBT said:

How do you tell Thais you do not overtake on a solid red line

They seem to think when it is a solid red line and a sharp corner it is the place to overtake

Even a double red line does not stop them overtaking

What about parking on the wrong side of the road with the car facing oncoming traffic.

 What about accelerating when a pedestrian crossing is being approached.

You waste your time trying to drive carefully here .You need luck  and common sense to realise you are in Thailand with some of the worst drivers in the world

Where do you see red lines on Thai roads?

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"The legal age limit in Thailand in which to drive is 18 years old.  

You can ride a motorbike up to 110cc at 15 years. 

This accounts for a lot of step-troughs being 110 cc,not 125.

 

Larger and specialist vehicles have minimum ages up to about 25 years.

Edited by Khunwilko
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8 hours ago, whitesnake said:

MY rules for driving in Thailand: 

1/.Honk your horn for a long blast at lunatics pulling out in front of you!

2/.Use the middle finger out of the window many times!! (or sounds like 'banker' gesture!)

3/.Use expletives like "You fricking A- hole" at the top of your voice with the window down so they can see and hear!

4/.Don't give way to anyone trying to push their way into moving traffic (see honking rules!)

5/.If being tailgated, slam the brakes on and put the living S@#t up them!  

You must be popular with the locals....

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14 hours ago, Thaiger said:

stay safe when cruising around the Kingdom.

Ohh...Ann...what do you mean...!?

 

😂😂😂😂

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10 hours ago, whitesnake said:

MY rules for driving in Thailand: 

1/.Honk your horn for a long blast at lunatics pulling out in front of you!

2/.Use the middle finger out of the window many times!! (or sounds like 'banker' gesture!)

3/.Use expletives like "You fricking A- hole" at the top of your voice with the window down so they can see and hear!

4/.Don't give way to anyone trying to push their way into moving traffic (see honking rules!)

5/.If being tailgated, slam the brakes on and put the living S@#t up them!  

OK so that's just in Tesco's car park, so what are your rules on the open road ? 😉

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All would be well if...Thai drivers actually obeyed the driving rules of the road, knew the rules in the first place, received some proper driver training and actually showed some patience and consideration and whilst driving. Scooters pulling out without looking, no helmets, speeding, tailgating, licences ( or lack of them) and roundabouts absolute mayhem. No enforcement by "police" unless it's time for the monthly tea money. There's a reason why Thailand has one of the worst driving safety and fatality records in the world. That said I have encountered many sensible drivers but they are sadly in the minority.

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11 hours ago, whitesnake said:

5/.If being tailgated, slam the brakes on and put the living S@#t up them!  

A gentle push on the pedal to illuminate brake lights while maintaining a steady speed usually sorts tail-gaters.

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Just now, KaptainRob said:

A gentle push on the pedal to illuminate brake lights while maintaining a steady speed usually sorts tail-gaters.

Absolutely. What also works well if you just flick on and off the high intensity rear fog lights

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5 minutes ago, gummy said:

Absolutely. What also works well if you just flick on and off the high intensity rear fog lights

Haha, reminds me of a crazy mate in Aus who installed a flame thrower for showing off at the Drags.  It utilised a small lpg bottle and solenoid valve operated in tandem with a spark plug inserted in a dummy exhaust pipe.  Short press of button shot a big flame out the back and worked well against tailgaters on the open road.  😎

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13 minutes ago, KaptainRob said:

Haha, reminds me of a crazy mate in Aus who installed a flame thrower for showing off at the Drags.  It utilised a small lpg bottle and solenoid valve operated in tandem with a spark plug inserted in a dummy exhaust pipe.  Short press of button shot a big flame out the back and worked well against tailgaters on the open road.  😎

Can we import them ? sounds like a winner 😂

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3 hours ago, Rain said:

You must be popular with the locals....

Dont care! Not when my life and car are put at risk by some numpty who is probably drunk at the wheel.

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This article should be in the funny section.

Important to know....

The bigger the car the more right of way.

For foreigners rules apply, for Thai people they are a bit more shady.

Be aware motorcycles and mopeds can come from every where except from above or underneath.

At a traffic light or intersection GO SLOW for not everyone knows how to stop for a red light.

With that said I can tell you I got a huge pickup truck and till now no problems driving. The article might tell the rules but real live is always different.

Richard

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  • KaptainRob changed the title to Important rules and behaviours for driving in Thailand
6 hours ago, Khunwilko said:

I've spent a bit of time on the rivers of Thailand and Laos and I wouldn't use th tim loony. If you know how currents flow and obstacles under water etc the methods make perfect sense. I think people are far too quick to dis its things they don't understand as "loony".

A case of "me first" but on the water:

https://www.bangkokpost.com/thailand/general/1089080/seven-killed-in-ayutthaya-boat-crash

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What a poorly written article.

 

Pretty pointless really and inaccurate.

 

Not got the time to pick holes in every paragraph. Suffice to say it neither gives much information on the law and no information on the reality.

 

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Very educational article. but just a pipe dream; forget about tourists and even expats.

In 35 years here in Thailand my observations of driving on the roads the majority of Thais rarely obey any of these rules.

That is even if they have a valid license; significant numbers drive with no licence or under the table purchased licenses. 

If you don't think my observations are valid just spend a day watching Thai driving habits.

I think Thailand's shocking annual road toll statistics speak to the problem of Thai driving habits.

The message to tourists should have been look out for Thai drivers as most don't observe or obey any of these listed road rules. 

Always drive defensively in Thailand and anticipate the exceptions of events and actions around you by Thai drivers and always be ready to react accordingly.

And never, never get angry as road rage can be terminal in Thailand.

Finally, pedestrian crossing are death traps here, never step onto one in traffic as Thai drivers rarely ever stop to allow people to cross. 

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