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Thread: How to drive and survive Thailand road rules

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    Frequent Flyer kaptainrob's Avatar
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    How to drive and survive Thailand road rules

    This little gem was found by my friend Ton of ProAuto Tyres, in Chiang Mai...

    Traffic rules in Thailand and how to avoid traffic accidents - Chiang Mai Locator, Wiki
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    Cheers, Rob.
    Lifes journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well-preserved body, but to skid in sideways totally worn out, shouting: holy s.h.i.t what a ride!

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Thai road rule no 1.....give way to ME!

    this one is not right. so that they don't have to cross paths, red is correct. diamond turn?

    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน OZZYGUY's Avatar
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    I was thinking of sending that article to my friends that we are riding with in CM in March. They have never ridding in Thailand.

    After reading and watching the videos I think it would just put them off...55

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    It really is the best I've seen on Thai driving.

    Good preparation for anyone coming over here.

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    I found this to be true, and it was the reason why I ALSO failed my first motorbike license road test in Canada. To me it makes more sense if you actually pay attention.

    2. Adapt to each other rather than follow rules

    Another important implicit feature of Thai traffic behaviour which has everything to do with Thai culture is that Thai drivers continuously adapt to each other rather than rely on real traffic rules. In other words, it’s more important to watch and adapt than to trust the rules.

    This collective implicit understanding in Thai traffic actually made me fail my Hong Kong motorcycle driving test, because I picked up this Thai habit of stopping or moving very slowly when the traffic situation appears unclear, while in international context you are supposed to rely on other drivers acting according to the rules and keep your speed.

    Adapting to each other continuously is an Asian cultural feature that can be witnessed to its maximum in Vietnamese traffic, that consists of rivers of scooters flowing down the streets like a school of fish.

    In Thailand, typically you can observe that normal traffic rules don't apply to intersections without traffic lights: traffic from the left is supposed to have priority, but in practice people just watch each others behaviour and the one who pushes first often goes first.

    It not only shows that Thai people don’t trust the rules, don’t rely on laws, and don’t trust each other, but instead they are flexible to the situation and adapt.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for that, KaptainRob. There is some pretty funny stuff in that essay... but true.... like the police who obstruct traffic flow while trying to improve it.

    The only thing that has really helped my driving/riding in Thailand is EXPECTING the unexpected. Tourists tend not to do that, and that is where they get into trouble. Tailgating is horrendous in Thailand, but you have to account for it all the time. No matter how fast you are going there will be someone who wants to go faster and stay sit inches from your tail light. Pickup trucks and silver vans are the worst for that.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Uber Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Cuzzy's Avatar
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    I think being a motorcycle rider prepares people for driving, especially in unfamiliar situations or surroundings.

    The first time I drove in Asia was an eye opener. I quickly realised that all the conditioning I had for driving in western countries was out the window. Now I can comfortably drive in Thailand without hesitation. Bangkok I haven't done except for when me and two mates tried to drive ourselves to Chiang Mai. It took us about 3hrs to get out of the big smoke after going round in circles 555.

    It was a great experience, took us about 5 days IIRC. Stopping here and there, getting invited to stay the night by locals along the way.

    Definitely expect the unexpected as Ian says... it will happen. Always look well ahead, behind and either side. It's like you really need 6 eyes sometimes.
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    I will know soon enough how the Thais drive on highways. The weather north of Chiang Mai looks reasonable, so as soon as I pack and load my motorbike I'm heading north on Hwy 118 towards Chiang Rai, and then cutting over on Hwy 120 to Hwy A1. I love that ride. I'm off to see Pui for the first time since I got here. The weather has been too crappy to go sooner.

  9. #9
    Platinum Mick's Avatar
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    Found the video interesting…… in the aftermath of the accidents we see the survivors getting up, but don't see anyone who didn't survive.


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    I had a good ride to Phan and back in sunny weather but not too hot. I didn't see any accidents or too many idiots on the road. The only injury was my sore butt. Those D-Trackers are not made for comfort for a long ride. I passed everyone on the mountain areas, but couldn't stay up with trucks that want to drive 140 + km/hour on the A1 highway.

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    Cadet Gold OzzyDamo's Avatar
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    only one rule! anywhere you drive, sail or fly; give way to anything that could kill you, scan like a strobing gyro- make the motorcycle licence the entry level for everybody; can't ride catch the bus!

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    Cadet Gold OzzyDamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Forbes View Post
    I had a good ride to Phan and back in sunny weather but not too hot. I didn't see any accidents or too many idiots on the road. The only injury was my sore butt. Those D-Trackers are not made for comfort for a long ride. I passed everyone on the mountain areas, but couldn't stay up with trucks that want to drive 140 + km/hour on the A1 highway.
    maybe you should change your bedtime habits Ian? that or take the tony abbott, wisdom pill


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    My 5 days with Pui in Chiang Mai is coming to and end so I'm renting a car to drive her home tomorrow. Pui lives in Phan, 50 km south of Chiang Rai, so I might take the circle route... 118 up to the T-junction with hwy A1 before turning south, and then my favourite hwy 120 through the mountains on the way back. I'll try to keep track of all the crazies I meet along the way. There are always a few. However, in a rental car I'll be taking it easy. You can't slide by on the white line between vehicles... despite all the Thai guys driving utes that THINK they can.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Cippy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Forbes View Post
    My 5 days with Pui in Chiang Mai is coming to and end so I'm renting a car to drive her home tomorrow. Pui lives in Phan, 50 km south of Chiang Rai, so I might take the circle route... 118 up to the T-junction with hwy A1 before turning south, and then my favourite hwy 120 through the mountains on the way back. I'll try to keep track of all the crazies I meet along the way. There are always a few. However, in a rental car I'll be taking it easy. You can't slide by on the white line between vehicles... despite all the Thai guys driving utes that THINK they can.
    My Last Drive to CM from Loei Ian it was raining and we went through the mountains. It is as fast going south then west, and north on the Major Highways, but we wanted to see the scenes and the mountains are beautiful. Probably a mistake, we saw no less that three accidents, including one in front and one that occurred seconds before we came 'm around the corner. We also narrowly avoided a D Max coming around the corner that had lost control and drifted into our lane, I still have that Isuzu burned into my brain. I managed to get out of his way, but I am surprised he didn't take off out mirror. The same Mirror was taken out not too much later when the wife was driving, I wasn't there. And she's nervous about driving in America. 555
    Never argue with an idiot, he will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience. M.T.

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    Cadet Gold OzzyDamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuzzy View Post
    I think being a motorcycle rider prepares people for driving, especially in unfamiliar situations or surroundings.

    The first time I drove in Asia was an eye opener. I quickly realised that all the conditioning I had for driving in western countries was out the window. Now I can comfortably drive in Thailand without hesitation. Bangkok I haven't done except for when me and two mates tried to drive ourselves to Chiang Mai. It took us about 3hrs to get out of the big smoke after going round in circles 555.

    It was a great experience, took us about 5 days IIRC. Stopping here and there, getting invited to stay the night by locals along the way.

    Definitely expect the unexpected as Ian says... it will happen. Always look well ahead, behind and either side. It's like you really need 6 eyes sometimes.
    Yes- the 125 scooter is a big bike' can fit half the family on it and they can find there own way to school as opposed to here where the middle upper bogans all taxi their kids to separate schools- then self defence lessons before dinner and yoga before "beddy bi's, SO THEY CAN BASH and rape THE POOR, THEN THEY grow up......meanwhile any poor workclass here have to leave the family at 4.30am to get to work at 5.30, using the gramps look after the kids and they wait till the traffic dies down- after 1900hrs

    My first time in the kingdom, was less of a culture shock then NZ cuz!

    So cold and to the peak'

    Sad to see an immigrant Sth Korean family, almost begging FOR CUSTOMAGE, the son was busking out the front and serving food on cheap tables, the food was crap, but I pretended it was great.

    so much for alles!

    Kang my old work college, would be hurt to see it.
    He is WAS a panda bear of a man, from the the otherside!
    Last edited by OzzyDamo; 3rd February 2017 at 09:20.
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    While taking Pui home to Phan in the rental car I explained to Pui all the mistakes I saw made by other drivers. There were LOTS of errors: driving too slow and not pulling over to let others pass, passing on blind corners, straddling the white divider line, tail-gating other slower vehicles, and passing into oncoming traffic expecting others to give way for them. And, what pisses me off is the people who pull into the passing lane... but don't fucking PASS! Then I'm stuck behind a slow truck or slow driver.

    I'm a reasonably fast driver and pass 70% of the traffic, but I'm not a crazy. I won't pass where I can't see far enough ahead to make a safe pass, and certainly not in a car that takes up far more room than a motorbike. I always wonder about the passing on blind corners "thing" that I see so frequently. Most of the time, the oncoming traffic just pulls onto the shoulder of the road to let the impatient idiot to go by. But, what if there are TWO of these blind corner passers coming the other way at the same time? Then you would have FOUR vehicles coming at each other on a two lane road! Maybe that is why Thailand has such a terrible accident rate.

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    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Moo Uaon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ian Forbes View Post
    I always wonder about the passing on blind corners "thing" that I see so frequently. Most of the time, the oncoming traffic just pulls onto the shoulder of the road to let the impatient idiot to go by. But, what if there are TWO of these blind corner passers coming the other way at the same time? Then you would have FOUR vehicles coming at each other on a two lane road! Maybe that is why Thailand has such a terrible accident rate.
    FACE YOUR FEARS LIVE YOUR DREAMS

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    For some odd reason, my provider at my hotel does not allow me to see your photos or video, Lew. All I get is a big, black rectangle. Same for some of the other member's pictures here.

  19. #19
    เมืองเชียงราย Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน Rivo's Avatar
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    I've done about 400km in the last few days in rural Thailand ..........early mornings and evenings.........big issue for me was motorbikes with no tailights (or reflectors 555).........and scooters riding on the wrong side of the road when your coming towards them at 90kph...........still no one wears a helmet, including my family here, except Wednesdays when the Police have a crack down 555


    The big difference in speed locals want to travel at.......either 40kph over the limit or 40 kph under........both create issues we have to deal with.......and thats half the reason for accidents IMO
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  20. #20
    Uber Star Soi wanderer Thai Dreamer ผู้เพ้อฝัน
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    The big difference in speed locals want to travel at.......either 40kph over the limit or 40 kph under........both create issues we have to deal with.......and thats half the reason for accidents IMO
    Ain't that the truth. My observations exactly. 555

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