5 Tips for Driving in Thailand
Unlike what most foreigners would like to think, driving in Thailand is not always as challenging as it might appear at face value. And it can be the most viable option if you wish to explore some of the off-beaten tourist trails or commute to far flung regions of this nation.
However, as in any country it is always prudent to be extremely cautious when on the road as a high number of motorists think of nothing else but themselves.
Thailand is served by an extensive road network most of which are paved and in relatively tolerable condition.
The main highways connecting major cities across the 76 provinces feature 2 – 4 lanes on each side of the road, which naturally facilitates for easy access to whichever destination you may be headed to.
It is important to note that traffic moves on the left side of the road.
The following are some 5 critical tips that can make your driving experience in Thailand infinitely more convenient and rewarding.
Get an excellent Thai road map
Driving in Thailand can be a major pain in the back if you don’t have a working knowledge of the lay of the land. To which end, it is highly recommended that you procure a good road map that can be a veritable godsend as you work your way through the traffic maze.
Undoubtedly one the best of such products happens to be the Thailand Road Atlas published by Lotus images advertising. This road book comes with comprehensive and well detailed maps of all the major cities, and is bilingual, which can be a lifesaver should you wish to seek directional assistance from the locals.
This book also contains accurate road distance guides, and they are tabulated in kilometers like most other countries that utilize the metric scale.
Get enough fuel before hitting the road
As would be expected most Thai roads are dotted with numerous filling stations, but it is highly advisable to opt for the major brands where the risk of been duped is less. Most reputable petrol stations also offer extra services like checking your tyre pressure or even cleaning your windshield at no extra cost.
Further, they often have shops, eateries as well as decent and clean toilet facilities.
Always be alert when driving
Road in the main cities such as Bangkok are unfortunately “every man for himself” zones. You should always think twice before stopping at a red light as you stand a chance of having your back fender rammed by a speeding motorist behind you.
Always be wary of motorcyclists many of whom don’t pay regard to traffic regulations, and meander from one lane to the next to get ahead of traffic. You should also not assume that other motorist will acknowledge your right of way at intersections or junctions even if stop signs are in place.
Many drivers blatantly ignore them and you can get involved in a grisly accident.
Be extra cautious at pedestrian crosswalks
Most Thai road have designated pedestrian crosswalks some of which are even paired with lights. The rule of thumb when navigating such areas is to cautiously proceed while keeping on pedestrians that might be attempting to cross even if the lights turn red.
Be prepared for encounters with the traffic police
Traffic police are rare on tollways, but you will encounter many on major roads between the cities. Most especially during holidays where they put in place roadblock to intercept drug traffickers coming from the North/ North Eastern regions of this nation.
In most circumstances be prepared to pay fines (usually not more than 200 baht) for offenses like speeding or driving in the wrong lane.