Stop for a Deadly Accident in Thailand? Nope.

We were taking a van from Krabi to Phuket. I hate taking vans or buses – or any damn thing really where a Thai is driving me around because all van drivers, bus drivers, and taxi drivers that I’ve experienced in 6 years – could give two shits for safety. That’s not a joke – that’s my opinion 100%.

We were 10 minutes from the Phuket airport. I’m in the first row of passenger seats holding our 1 year old and my wife beside me. The driver was a total fuckoff from the time we got in. He knows the road – that’s obvious. What he doesn’t know is any out of the ordinary circumstances that could have happened since the last time he drove the road. He drove with absolutely ZERO margin for error.

He took almost every single bend at 120 KPH. Many of the bends were marked – 60 KPH. Sure – 60 KPH is a joke too as they can be taken at 80 or 90 maybe, safely. Not 120 though, of that I’m sure.

So – we were just minutes from the airport when our driver said – OH!!! Loud – and I was also looking at the road ahead and saw a big dirt cloud kick up about 150m ahead of us as a Red Mercedes launched itself up over a 10 inch curb up onto a hill median with trees and SLAMMED into a tree. There was no other car around that one that crashed. The driver likely just fell asleep.

Our driver was all worked up about it – as we drove by. We could plainly see – someone was really hurt in that vehicle and yet all he did was beep a couple of times – for what reason – I’m clueless… We drove right to the airport and he dropped us off.

Did he stop to help the people in the accident? Fuck no. Would you want someone to stop to help you if someone saw you drive your car into a tree at 100 KPH?

Yeah, me too.

I don’t know what the law is in Thailand about stopping for accidents you didn’t cause – but, this is about the 4th one I’ve seen while driving with someone else  – in which the driver didn’t stop at all.

This one was pretty tragic, but I’ve also seen some horrible accidents before this that my driver didn’t stop for.

Anyone else have that experience in Thailand?

I’m not saying nobody stops – there were people outside their houses and store already when we drove by the totaled vehicle – but nobody was making a run toward it either.

WTF?

Things That Made Me Say – WTF Today

Just a couple things going on in my head…

1. There is a guy catching cobras near Nong Khai that can’t tell what a monocled cobra is, versus a King Cobra. He has two of them setup in what appears to be a nice big enclosure for them. How does someone catch cobras and yet not know what kind are being caught? There are cobras here that spit in your eyes 2-3 meters away and fark up your eyes REAL good. You could literally go blind. Could he tell that kind of cobra from 2-3 meters away?

I’m not mentioning any names of course, it just make me go – WTF – real loud when I got the photo of a cobra with a monocle on the back hood – VERY clearly – and he asked whether I knew if it was a King cobra.

People catching snakes that can kill them in 10-30 minutes shouldn’t be asking those questions I think.

What do you think?

2. On the same road that I saw a brain laying on – I’m assuming human, I saw 3 accidents today. WTF? I went over 2 years without seeing one accident where I live. As soon as I travel on this road to Nakhon – bang – accidents all the time. It’s strange.

3. I saw my first Thai person with obsessive compulsive disorder. She was selling me something and counted the money, recounted the money, wrote down my purchase, wrote down my discount, did it all again, did it again. Did it again. And, did it two more times before I left. You don’t usually see people with OCD in Thailand. I see them much more often back in the states.

4. This wasn’t today – it was 1-2 nights ago. Nights are running together now, not enough sleep. I went into the garage. There was a snake hanging out of the ceiling. It was exactly the same size and type of snake that I have in a plastic container that I got a few days before. EXACTLY. I have never seen another snake of that size – baby – about 15 inches long – before in Thailand. And I look OFTEN.

I checked my container – and there it was. I looked up at the ceiling – and there it was. WTF? Cool, we’ve got Golden Tree Snake babies at the house! I tried to catch it but he saw me coming and pulled up into the crack in the ceiling.

You got any WTF”s you want to share?

Thailand Motorcycle Driving: Keeping Your Brain in Your Head

During this morning’s motorcycle trip to a city 170 km away I experienced what was, without a doubt in my mind, the oddest, and maybe most unexplainable thing I’ve ever seen…

Riding down the road – doing 120 kph on the motorbike… through Thai countryside. Sunny morning about 9:30am. Ambulance flies by me doing about 150 kph. Wow. I sensed it was something real bad. I haven’t seen any really bad accidents in about a year in Thailand and I was due.

In 10 minutes I came up to the scene… cars stopped in lane, other lane too. Guy trying to wave people through – but those on motorcycle stopped and wanted to know who was under the blue plastic cover.

I didn’t want to stop – never do. I look quickly, but make sure I’m not going to become another statistic as people have their heads in their arse staring at accident scenes instead of driving.

Strange – there was nothing around. No cross roads, nothing. A rubber tree plantation on the left. Dead Thai motorcyclist in the street, motorbike down and destroyed. Just one.

Everyone was looking at the body and beyond and as I drove by I noticed, just to my left… 1.5 meters from my motorcycle’s front tire was a human brain.

It was intact… but missing the head it went with. It was pinkish red with some blood at the base, and whitish grey I guess… it looked just like a brain in the street.

Now why this part wasn’t covered up and the person’s body was – can only be explained by Thais. I don’t really get it. Everyone was quite curious about seeing the brain in the street though because as I passed I noticed another group of people staring at it and me for my reaction to it.

As I passed it I didn’t react at all. It took 20 minutes to come to grips with it fully. It just didn’t make sense. Not sure what happened but my own brain had a tough time admitting what it just saw.

Motorcycle accidents are horrorshow to some nth power. I’ve seen some real doozies here in Thailand – and seen brains on a couple of occasions. Not whole brains outside the head though. Must have been quite an impact.

So – if you must drive a motorcycle in Thailand think really hard about it – are you a safe rider? This person (male/female?) maybe hit someone from behind that was walking? Maybe plowed into the back of a truck that disappeared immediately after? Maybe hit someone that pulled out in front of them? The tarp was large that covered the body – so it may have covered 2 bodies and the other motorbike for all I know.

But the brain in the street got all the attention.

Drive safely…

Thailand Tips #17: I’ve Been Hit and I Can’t Get Up

This is an extension of tip 16, but it deserves it’s own post.

IF for some reason in Thailand you’ve been hit by a car, truck, bus, or anything big enough to kill you if it ran over you a few times…

PICK YOURSELF OFF THE GROUND QUICK.

Why do I say this?

Certain unscrupulous Thai drivers of huge dump trucks, buses and other vehicles have been known to back up over someone laying in the street that they just crashed into.

Why?

To make sure they’re really dead and can’t press charges in court.

Why?

In Thai accidents if you’re judged to be responsible for someone’s injuries and they’re severe and put the person out of work for a while – or a lifetime – the court will insist you pay for that person’s living expenses for however long it takes to get back to normal.

There are well known – reported cases of even Bangkok bus drivers doing this.

Bang, they smack into a motorbike rider or a pedestrian. They hit the reverse and make sure they really flatten the person so there is no court case.

No, not joking. No, it’s not an urban myth. The frequency it happens might be partly myth – but the actual practice is real.

I wrote another post about this same crazy Thai driver phenomenon and more about driving in Thailand earlier.

How can you stay safe in Thailand?

You can start by getting Thailand Survival Guide 101.

Thai Black Book.

For a current state of the country – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand

Thai Black Book information site- >

Thailand Tips #16: Traffic Accidents

In my opinion your best bet in a traffic accident is to offer some money to the other person(s) involved and get out of there quick.

You might think you’re covered by some insurance. You might be, you might not.

Thais assume that the foreigner was wrong in most (any?) accidents. There’s a good reason for that – Thais think you can afford to pay for it, is the general assumption.

Don’t ever run away after an accident as you’ll be caught and beaten AND pay for all the damages, hospital bills. Better to offer some cash – a few thousand baht and wai a few times – making sure everyone is smiling and OK with the arrangement. If it’s a huge crash the police will likely be involved and you’re better off to get a Thai lawyer that speaks excellent English or you’ll be paying for the whole mess.

Remember, the general rule of accidents is that the farang (foreigner) is responsible. You can call the police and plead your case if you like – but I think much, much better to offer some cash and call it a loss. Probably you were doing something that contributed to the crash anyway!

What do I mean by that?

Driving a motorbike on the roads of Thailand for 100,000 km I’ve learned some things about the way Thais drive. I know when to compensate for someone ready to do something stupid because I have to do it almost everytime I drive. It’s part of the safe way to drive in Thailand – know what idiots are about to do and compensate for it before they do it and run you off the road, smack into you or worse.

Another reason to bust out the cash and hit the road again as soon as possible is because if the police DO come there will a bunch of Thais explaining in Thai to the police what happened and you speaking in English attempting to sway someone into believing your perspective.

How can you stay safe in Thailand?

You can start by getting Thailand Survival Guide 101.

Thai Black Book.

For a current state of the country – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand

Thai Black Book information site- >

Accidents in Thailand? Get Away from the Street!

I watched a youtube video of a traffic accident from Bangkok, Thailand not long ago.

Thailand Car Accident Video at Youtube – amazing footage…

Someone was filming the aftermath of an accident at night when there was another accident as someone ran directly into the pickup truck that was taking away the wrecked motorbike in the first accident. More people were hit (killed?) the vehicle hit hard and more people were needlessly hurt.

Yesterday I was riding the motorbike and saw a truck run up over the median, knock over a tree, and spin around to face oncoming traffic where another car hit it. The woman, her leg injured, got out of the truck and hobbled across the street to get help.

I sat and watched for a second from the side of the road away from the traffic that was building up. Many people were standing on the street to see it. Cars were slowing down… Then a huge double dumptruck came flying up the road – oblivious to what was going on – as they usually are. He beeped his horn as if he expected the stalled truck to get out of his way. He then ran directly into the truck, smashing the hell out of it and almost flipping it on it’s side. What was originally a couple thousand dollars in damage (usd) was now an absolutely totaled truck – $25,000 total loss.

Amazing drivers here in Thailand. Be careful, get AWAY from whatever accident you see because there may be another one shortly. If you’re too close – you might become part of it.

How can you stay safe in Thailand?

You can start by getting Thailand Survival Guide 101.

Thai Black Book.

For a current state of the country – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand

Thai Black Book information site- >

Driving During the Holidays, Thai Attitudes…

Just like Americans – I guess Thais are stressed during the holidays. I’ve had more rude interactions with Thais in the last week than I’ve had in a year. Mostly it involves cutting me off while driving – they’re in a car or truck and speeding up from 10 meters behind me to make a left hand turn in front of me and cutting me off.

I’ve also had an air container taken from me by a 60 year old – as I was using it – he must’ve been drunk… but the entire truck of people that watched him do it thought for sure I was going to lose it with him… I didn’t… but I remember his face exactly, every wrinkle… the stupid way he twists his mouth as if he’s chewing something – but, must just be his unique and strange expression.

Last night it was 3 guys on a motorbike that cut me off initially as I was making a left they jumped in front of me… then I must have somehow got caught between two motorbikes full of assholes because the one in back of me with two guys on it after the first one cut me off, thought that I was intentionally trying to get in his way. He must have… he pulled in front of me and locked up the brakes on the motorbike, skidding in front of me. I didn’t have time to react – and yet he was going fast enough that I didn’t plow into him.

When someone puts me in danger, and my g/f – it tends to amp me up a bit. I briefly considered pulling next to the two and running them off the road into the crowd of gwit diao soup eaters… but, I kept my cool because my g/f was on the back. I got the license number and I’ll wait patiently for karma to come around… and when it does, and where there aren’t 4 other guys to help him I’ll put a stick to the back of his head – Thai style.

:)

Happy holidays! Be careful driving…

How can you stay safe in Thailand?

You can start by getting Thailand Survival Guide 101.

Thai Black Book.

For a current state of the country – see the ultimate Thailand Guide – Thai Black Book – your guide to staying safe in Thailand

Thai Black Book information site- >

Accidents in Thailand: Accidents happen when they want… yeah, Jing Jing!

Accidents in Thailand
Accidents in Thailand:
On the Road or Hiking in the Forest…

Accidents happen anytime. Never planned for and not able to be seen before they happen. They’re not logical. You can’t not wear your helmet because you think you won’t have an accident going a short distance. Many accidents happen on short trips.

Since being in Asia I’ve seen the results of many motorbike accidents… victims laying in the road still… nobody moves them… they are usually bleeding from some orifice, but not always. Sometimes you’d guess they’re sleeping. There is no attempt made by bystanders to revive the person or wake them if they happen to be just unconscious and not dead yet. I’ve not seen any efforts anyway.

After an accident they linger around just standing by the person or persons that are dead or unconscious. They don’t look at the person and often times they are laughing softly.

The Thais’ have a culture that accepts death more easily than we westerners do. They believe it’s karmic fate – a buddhist concept – and that if it’s time, it’s time. There is no sense worrying about when it will come -it will just come. This attitude is reflected in their driving. Many drive montorcycles or cars and trucks without regard to themselves or others.

In America everything is more dramatic. If we have an accident there we have people screaming, we have 19 police, firemen, ambulance, onlookers… everyone taking part in the drama. The Thais’ just wait for a pickup truck to come and pick up the body or the unconscious person and take him/her to the hospital.

I spent a night in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a major hospital in the northeast of Thailand just a couple months ago. I was there from 6 pm until 8 am the next morning. I was there because my American friend had a motorbike accident at 2 in the morning and ran into 3 Thai teenagers on a motorbike. Not sure what happened but witnesses said the 3 teens didn’t have lights on their motorcycle at the time of the accident. My friend went to the ICU unconscious and didn’t wake up for 6 hours. Anyway, this story isn’t about that.

So, sitting in his room in the ICU I keep seeing a dog come into where the patients are. One of the staff brought her dog to work as she usually did. In America even unclean people are not allowed in the ICU. Usually visitors can stay only minutes before being rushed out. Here my friend was in an ICU room with a dog visitor. Incredible. Then I saw a cat. No lie… Anyway – the animals stayed out of his area.

As I sat there that night I watched 4 people die on the tables. Particularly disturbing was a child, a girl about 9 years old. When she was brought in she was not breathing. She had a cervical collar on her neck and they were squeezing a plastic balloon to fill her lungs with air. Apparently her heart was still beating because I could read the heart rate monitor and see when it changed. The HRM went to zero multiple times during their efforts and they switched from chest compressions and breathing help to just breathing help as her own heart began to beat. I could also see her breathing rate monitor and sometimes she was OK and sometimes nothing.

Sometimes her breathing was OK on her own and her heart wouldn’t beat… so they did chest compressions. They did this for 30 minutes until the doctor there told them to stop. The heart did not show any signs of improvement. They then used the electrical stimulation to attempt to start the heart, and tried multiple times – but nothing worked. The doctor then said “die”, took out a form and wrote down time of death. They took her pulse in neck and wrist. They checked the monitor. Nothing for heart rate… but, the girls chest was still going up and down a little bit. The breathing rate monitor said 12 for a while after they stopped chest compressions… then 10…9.. 4… and then finally zeroed after over 30 minutes.

The mom, father and sister arrived just as they were pronouncing the girl dead… and they watched as the breathing slowed down to nothing. The mom was crying – but not sobbing. Just quiet tears and holding onto her husband tightly. The father cried lightly. The sister was in shock and didn’t cry just held onto the parents and looked wide eyed at her sister covered over by the sheet.

Accidents are anytime and absolutely any place. .

I drove to a waterfall 2 weeks ago. As we were just getting started across this open field we saw this house (see photo) with a tree that had fallen through it years ago. We then heard a loud ripping of something through the forest and coming down the hill. Just in back of us – 20 meters away was a large roundish boulder that shot out of the woods and flew across the freshly mowed lawn. Had we been any slower one of us might be dead…

So… wear your helmet. Use your belt. Take your kids to see an ICU ward or a mortuary sometime. Give them a taste of death… the hollowness… the suddenness… the unexplainable taste that will put the fear of caution in them.