Thailand is a developing country with a diverse vehicle fleet on the road. As a general rule, it’s essential to be cautious when driving. If you’re from a nation where traffic laws are strictly enforced, you might be shocked at how frequently drivers in Thailand break the law. The issue in Thailand is that the test to earn a driver’s license was so simple that many untrained drivers just went to the roads without ever truly knowing the law.
Here are few things for you to know while driving on the roads of Thailand.
Why do you need to drive on Thailand roads?
• To drive on Thailand’s roads, you must be at least 18 years old. Although, if you wish to rent a car, you must be at least 21 years old, this varies from one rental company to another.
• Ensure you have an English driving license from your native country if you are a tourist or a license from Thailand with a photo.
• If you’ve been in Thailand for more than six months, make sure you have an International Driving Permit (IDP) from your local automobile association or a Thai driver’s license on hand, along with your passport.
• Failure to do the above might lead you to pay a huge fine.
General rules to know before hitting the Thai roads
• The speed limit for city roads usually is 60 kilometers per hour. On rural roads, the speed limit is 90 kph, whereas, on the highway, the speed limit is 120 kph.
• Seat belts are essential for both drivers and passengers. Those who do not follow the rules may be fined.
• Before you go behind the wheel in Thailand, be aware of the changes in driving etiquette. Overtaking and cutting people off has become far more widespread and accepted.
• Drinking and driving are highly prohibited. Those who break the rules could face fines or end up in prison.
• It is prohibited to use your phone while driving in Thailand unless you have a hands-free phone. If you are caught doing so, you risk getting a ticket and taking your driver’s license away.
• When a car in Thailand flashes its lights, it means they are not planning to stop and would like you to move out of the path. Another reason to drive cautiously is because of this.
• Despite the heavy traffic in some regions, you won’t hear much honking in Thailand, other for a few fast, pleasant beeps to alert vehicles to the presence of another driver. Locals frequently beep their horns as they pass shrines or holy locations.
• In an emergency, dial 191 for police, 1155 for Thailand tourist police in case of an accident, and rescue or ambulance call at 1554.
What should you do?
• When making a turn or changing lanes, take it slowly and carefully.
• Motorcycles and bicycles will appear out of nowhere in Thailand. Be alert!
• Keep your eyes fixed as stray dogs occasionally wander into the road.
• Avoid driving at night since traffic is highly congested.
• Keep an eye out for roads that turn into one-way roads at specific times of the day.