No announcement yet.

Driving Tips for Thailand

This is a sticky topic.
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Driving Tips for Thailand

    Rules for Driving in Thailand
    Click image for larger version  Name:	Elephant-Auto-Rainforest.jpg Views:	0 Size:	124.1 KB ID:	1884

    Many tourists who stay in Thailand may wonder what rulesand behaviours are needed in order to traverse the roads safely. As Thailand’s road rules are similar to other countries in Southeast Asia, one thing that sets Thailand apart, is that their roads are quite good. Driving down a road in Thailand can actually make one forget that they are in a developing country. However, there are still rules, laws and behaviours that need to be followed.

    Legal Driving Age
    The legal age limit in Thailand in which to drive is 18 years old. And, in order to obtain a driving license in Thailand, potential drivers must take courses in a driving school before gaining a driving license. For motorbikes up to 110cc one must be 15.

    Speed Limits
    On urban roads, the speed limit has been set at 50 kms/hour. For rural roads, it is set at 90 kms/hour. And, for motorbike users, the speed limit is set at 120 kms/hour unless. As traffic laws can change at anytime, it is important to keep up to date with the speed limits set on the different types of roads in Thailand. Although going over these speeds is illegal, going under these speeds is recommended when encountering heavy traffic, rain, sand and other dangerous road conditions.

    Traffic Road Signs
    Thailand has 5 different road signs. And, it should not be hard to read them as they all feature English language in addition to Thai language. One traffic sign is the roundabout sign. This sign is circular in shape and features an arrow in a clockwise direction. This means it is illegal to change lanes. Drivers must also yield when necessary. The Warning Signs in Thailand notify drivers of potential hazards in the area. Mandatory Signs mean you should adhere immediately to the posted rules. Information signs are most used by citizens, with many of them only being written in Thai language. Prohibitory Signs ban certain actions on the road. Priority Road Signs give the right away on specific sections of a highway.

    Right of Way
    Speaking of right of way, 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.

    Overtaking Law
    Attempting to move ahead of another vehicle without a warning signal comes with fines of up to 1,000 baht. So, it is wise to avoid overtaking without having a valid reason. If you do decide to overtake, use a signal. And, remember, that the driving side is on the left in Thailand.

    Although it may seem that locals honk in certain situations, it is actually considered very rude to honk out of frustration. And, any honking you may hear is likely due to cultural behaviours. A mere beeping sound is a way for locals to notify other drivers that they should give way for them to go ahead first. It is a form of asking for permission from other drivers when you slightly beep your horn. When approaching blind curves and narrow streets, drivers often honk just to notify other drivers that, they too, are on the road. 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 done to signify respect to the inhabitants of the temples, not to just make noise.

    Switching Lanes
    In the event that you need to move over on a narrow road or actually switch lanes on a highway, using a turn signal or waving your hand is vital in preventing an accident. As Thailand is full of motorbikes, making a sudden lane switch could cause an accident if you aren’t aware of your surroundings.

    Thailand has designated lanes for every type of vehicle. And, as the outdoor culture features many pedestrians, it is important to recognise the crosswalks. If you encounter a pedestrian lane in front of your car, stop first and allow any pedestrians to cross the road before moving forward. Although crosswalks are commonly featured in major cities, many people make their own, resulting in jaywalking. Regardless if this is the correct way in which to cross a road, it is your responsibility as a driver to yield to pedestrians. Those with an international driving permit should always keep it with you in the event of someone failing to observe a crosswalk, resulting in an accident.

    Parking Rules
    When parking, make sure you park in a designated parking area. And, make sure your car is in a safe place with security officers around. Also, there are additional rules that dictate when you can park. Such rules as not parking on even or odd days and no parking from 7-9am do exist. If the curbs are marked with red and white paint, you cannot park in that spot.

    Seatbelt Laws
    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.

    Drink | Driving
    Thailand’s general, legal blood-alcohol limit is .5 grams per litre of blood. For those drivers who have had a driving license for 5 years, their limit is set at .2 grams unless they are okay with getting their permit seized by the officers who may cite them. As with anywhere you go, it is important to keep a calm attitude and expression upon getting pulled over in Thailand. As the Land of Smiles is known for its people having a subdued attitude, getting upset and arguing will only cause you further problems. Safety is the number 1 reason to adhere to the rules and behaviours above, as it is important to observe the rules when driving in a foreign country.

    Left-Hand Driving
    Thailand drives on the left and the vast majority of cars are, therefore, right hand drives. You will likely see some vehicles, especially scooters, sometimes driving on the wrong side towards incoming traffic. Don’t try this yourself – it’s not only illegal but also very dangerous!

    Car | Motorbike Rental
    When you rent a car, the rental company will almost certainly want to see your driving license. It’s a different ball game, however, with scooters – very often the company only wants to see (and often hold as security) your passport. Remember though that not only does driving a vehicle without the proper license invalidate your insurance but it is also the individual, not the company, who gets into trouble should there be any problems on the road. All vehicles must have valid tax and compulsory motor insurance. Visitors can only drive rental cars under these provisions for up to 60 days. People wishing to drive for longer will need a Thai Driving License. People who are living in Thailand, as opposed to tourists, need to obtain a Thai Driving License. As soon as you have a non-immigrant visa you must get a new license issued in Thailand. Don’t worry though – this doesn’t usually mean that you need to take a test here! As the forms are all in Thai, it helps to have a Thai speaker with you. You need to show your passport with the relevant visa, proof of your address, driving license, and a certificate of good health. You may also need to complete a short written exam as well as a vision test.​

    Both rider and passenger on a motorbike must wear a helmet. Although you will see many Thais riding without a helmet this is both very dangerous and also makes you more likely to be stopped by the police, especially as a foreigner. Seatbelts should be worn by those in the front of a car.