Tips for Safe Driving In Thailand

Many foreigners are amazed when they arrive in Thailand and see the very high standard of roads across the country. Indeed, the infrastructure is on a par with Europe and if you are planning to get behind the wheel during your stay, here are a few tips to ensure a safe and pleasant experience on the Thai roads. 

Never Assume Anything

Unlike a developed country, there are no real restrictions on what vehicles can use the public highways; if it can move, it will be used. This means you might come across a car that is falling apart and let’s not forget buffalo and cattle if you are driving in the provinces.

Road Legal

The Thai police are very active with road blocks and inspection points, and while they may have a bad reputation, if you are polite and helpful, they will be too. Regarding car insurance, there’s one called class 1, or fully comprehensive insurance. Forget any other type of insurance, as you might be run into by a food vendor on a motorbike who does not even have a driving licence, let alone any insurance; your class 1 insurance will cover all damages. Finding a car insurance broker in Thailand is simple using the Internet and you will be covered from the first time you drive. Keep your driving licence with you and also the vehicle insurance papers. Don’t forget your passport and Thai driving licence, if you have one.

Drunk Driving

The Thai police often set up road blocks, looking for drunk drivers, especially during holidays and festivals. We are not talking about someone who’s had one too many, rather rural folk who are very drunk, but should you be tested and be found to be over the limit, this will be an expensive experience and you might even have to spend a night in the cells and have your driving licence suspended. If you don’t drink, you still have the chance to encounter an inebriated local, so bear this in mind and even get yourself insured. The good thing is, there’s bound to be a cheap personal accident (PA) insurance (or ประกัน pa ราคา ถูก in Thai) that can help ease your worries.

Right Of Way

This is the cause of many accidents on Thai roads, often drivers do not give way when entering a roundabout, expecting the car on the roundabout to allow them in, when the opposite is the rule. It is generally accepted that the larger vehicle is at fault when there is an accident, although there are exceptions. If you are approaching a narrow stretch of road and wish to flash your lights to indicate the oncoming car can pass first, this means you are telling him you are coming through. Be very careful in urban areas, where street dogs prevail and anything might come around the corner, and you will always be passed by motorcycles.

Expect everything when driving in Thailand and if that includes driving in Bangkok, that’s a whole different level. Make sure your vehicle is legal and has class 1 insurance, always obey the speed limits and never assume anything and you will enjoy your driving experience in the Land of Smiles.