Road markings and traffic lights

Dividing lines

A yellow line indicates the division of a two way traffic road (it’s the center line), whether a white line indicates a lane. A solid line can’t be crossed, whereas a broken line can be crossed if it is safe to do so.

Parking spaces

White squares indicate parking spaces. There can also be specific parking space for motorbikes.
Big yellow “X” marks on the road means no stopping on this area (usually so as not to block an intersection while waiting at a traffic light).



A red and white curbside means no parking. A yellow and white curbside means no parking, but temporary loading/unloading of goods or passengers is allowed. Curbsides can also be painted in black and white, to help distinguish them. Parking may be allowed, watch for the signs (and also watch for anyone who might be upset if you park).

Pedestrian crossings

Pedestrian crossing are those white stripes on the road that all vehicles ignore and that pedestrians sometimes venture on, usually ending up running for their lives.


Drivers must pay attention to arrows indicating where their lane is going, especially in Bangkok. Some lanes are for buses only.

Traffic lights

The good thing about traffic lights in Thailand is that many of them have a counter indicating how many seconds remain before it changes colour. Of course everybody tends to rush when there are only a few seconds of green light remaining! But when it is red you know exactly how much time you have to wait, and you can relax. The not so good thing about traffic lights is that they are not always to be found at the same place. Sometimes they are just where you stop, or they can be accross the intersection, or hanging over it. You also have to pay attention to the arrows. So, mastering the traffic lights take a little practice.

7 Comments on “Road markings and traffic lights”

  1. My (Thai) wife told me the same thing about the black and white markings for curbside parking. Today, I parked by a black and white curbside and received a ticket to show license and reg docs!

  2. Hi Antony, yes sometimes it’s hard to tell if you can park or not. There might be a small sign in Thai farther away that says parking is not allowed during certain times or certain days. One time I was in doubt and I asked a shopkeeper nearby, she said it was ok to park. I came back and found my car was clamped. A moto-taxi was waiting for me, ready to take me to the police station…

  3. watch out for amber/yellow
    lights. you can get fined 800thb for running them. Khonkaen and Udon are well known places for this money making practice.

    1. The cops themselves run not only a yellow light (which internationally is a warning the light is about to turn red and not an offence to drive through) but they are the worst offenders when it come to behaviour at traffic lights! I have just been sent a photo of me doing a U-turn at a designated (U-arrow), permitted place, while the light was yellow, carrying a fine of 500Bt. They make their own rules as they go along! Also, internationally, white road arrows are for information, yellow ones being commands. Not here! Going to court is a waste of time if you are a foreigner, especially as the judges very seldom speak English and the interpreter (if there is one!) cannot interpret correctly.

  4. Where I live, there are some road lines that really need to get repainted. I think it would be a good idea to have someone come and do that as I don’t have the means to do it myself. As you said, there are many different things that could be painted so I’ll have to find out exactly what needs to be done.

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