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Buckle Up! Here are Important Rules When Driving in Thailand
by: The Beat Asia
With estimated fatalities of 100,000 people in 2012, road-related accidents have made Thailand one of the most dangerous countries in the world for drivers. This prompted the Thai government to take measures and help solve the problem by implementing new safety rules and proper road maintenance.
Despite these scary statistics, some tourists, or even locals, may be tempted to rent a car as this is a convenient way of exploring Thailand. To add another layer of safety, read up on our list of important driving rules and etiquettes in Thailand.
Be Nice and Smart During Checkpoints
Always be polite and alert when you get stopped by police at checkpoints, especially if the officer is alone. Assess if he/she is an official cop and negotiate as nicely as possible, whatever the case may be.
Most of the time, cops are checking for illegal drugs, particularly during long weekends or holidays. When you’re given a fine, you can pay at the nearest police station or on the spot.
Beware of Intersections
It has been a common practice to pull out at intersections when driving in Thailand. A polite beep serves as a signal that the car or motorcycle in front of you will cross the intersection even when there’s a stop sign. This situation usually happens at small intersections, so be extra careful and look out for motorcyclists or pedestrians when you’re going to pass through.
Seat Belts and Motorcycle Helmets are Mandatory
Wearing seat belts and motorcycle helmets does not apply to drivers only but to passengers as well. The use of these safety gears is part of legal driving rules in Thailand and applies to all vehicles such as pick-up trucks, mini vans, and buses. For motorbikes, Thai law allows a maximum of two people, who should both wear helmets.
Speed Limit Ranges From 60 to 120kph
The speed limit in Thailand for towns and cities is 60kph and 90kph for open roads. When driving on highways or major roads, the maximum velocity ranges from 100kph to 120kph.
When driving in Thailand, always observe the speed limits of the road type as there are infrequent regulatory signs along the way. Most of the time, you will only see signposts that say, “City Limits- Reduce Your Speed.” Aside from drunk driving, take note that speeding is one of the most serious issues on Thai roads, leading to potential death and injury.
Thailand Follows Left-Hand Driving Rule
Before driving in Thailand, make sure that you know how to follow the left-hand rule. This means that all controls and instruments are on the left side too.
If you’re not used to driving on the left side of the road, you can rent an automatic car, but you must be at least 21 years old (the required age varies according to car category). Most importantly, apply the defensive driving strategy to ensure a safe ride, especially when making a wide turn.
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