Driving in Thailand – the Essentials Video

Driving a car in Thailand

If you’re going to be coming to Thailand and do any driving yourself – watch this video.

If you know someone that will be driving in Thailand – send this video about driving in Thailand to them.

I shot this on the way to somewhere I had to drive to today. It’s about 9 minutes long – but packed with good information. If you have had different experiences than I have – leave a comment. If you have had worse experiences than I have – leave a comment – I’d love to hear about them.

I have written many articles about driving in Thailand – mostly as a motorbike rider. Now that I drive a car occasionally I can write from that perspective as well. It’s scary. It’s downright ridiculous…

Much better said in the video below…

Driving a Car is a Horrorshow in Thailand

We’re buying another motorbike. We gave the 4 year old Yamaha MIO with 90,000 KM (one rebuilt engine) to my wife’s aunt on our trip to the northeast. That made me feel good. I don’t make big bank, but, the woman is about 70 and driving a Yamaha from 25 years ago. She has trouble starting it – and could use the electric starter of the MIO to her advantage. Damn I hate to see people suffer through a penniless state.

We got a car, and since i’m the only driver – if you can call me that without cracking a fucking rib laughing – I’ve been driving all over the place.

I’ve come to the conclusion that Thais behind the wheel are completely intolerable on a 1 lane road, and complete fuckmonkeys on a 2 or 2+ lane road.

Yes, this is another Vern rant on Thai people that don’t know what in the world they are doing.

It’s half expected… I mean, Thais have not been driving for too many generations now. But, with the recent advent of 14 million tourists visiting the country, and the rubber prices going through the roof – many people can afford cars. Oh – and credit… if a Thai has a job – the employer can fake a receipt showing years of steady work at a rate the employee will never see in his/her life – and get the car of their dreams in just a couple of days.

Anyway… If you’re contemplating driving in Thailand I strongly suggest you reconsider.

Thais are probably the most ignorant fucking drivers you’ll ever come across. In Thailand. I haven’t driven everywhere… but, in the USA I drove in New York, Miami, Tampa, Honolulu, and Los Angeles a few times. Thai drivers are more fucked up than all of that put together.

I am not embellishing for the laughs either – they are horrendous godawful drivers.

I drove a motorbike in Thailand for 6 years with one minor accident my first year – when a car in front of me – a new driver from a city far from where we were, MASHED the brakes for no reason whatsoever and I swerved and caught the left bumper of her car. I gave her 2,000 THB for a 1,000 THB repair and we said our goodbyes.

Now, I’ve had some near misses on the motorbike that curled my toe-nails. I have had a couple of instances of escaping INSTANT death at 100+ Km/hour on the motorbike… but, since I’m usually paying attention – I lived.

Ok, back to driving vehicles.

Thais can’t follow a curve for SHIT.

That’s saying it VERY politely.

They cannot stay in their lane around a curve of any sort. Just know that – and adjust EVERY time you go around a curve.

If you are beside a vehicle in your vehicle and the idiot next to you puts their turn signal on – regardless whether the fuck they can move over in front of you safely or not, they are going to try. If you don’t adjust and compensate for the assmonkey that’s cutting you off – you will have an accident, and since you are farang – well, you have probably heard how that goes by now.

Thais park wherever the fuck they want to. We pulled into a bank parking lot today. It goes under the building. Bam… some jackass has parked right in the middle of the lane – so their car could be in the shade – there was plenty of room in the back where the sun was shining brightly – but this numbnuts parked right there under the building, blocking not only all traffic coming in – but, 4 cars that, if they wanted to pull out – could not.

To top this off – some ass-strap was hired to DIRECT PARKING in the parking lot!!!!!!! Yeah, so this dumbfucker is getting my 2 minute 45 second stare as I cannot come to grips with how he let someone park in the middle of the fucking road. How does he do that? Fire that jackfruit and make him go do night security where he can sleep off his stupidity.

Today was a real lively experience.

Today I had an 18 wheel truck – which I was in the middle of – at about the 20 foot mark (they are 40+ feet)… start coming over into my lane because the fucker didn’t want to slow down for slower traffic in his lane.

Know this – there isn’t a fuckhead driving a big truck in Thailand that:

1. Knows what the hell they’re doing behind the wheel of a large KILLER truck.
2. Cares whether or not you go flying over the median trying to avoid tires that are higher than your car.
3. Isn’t on meth and with piss-poor judgement.

Know this – Thailand is a country built on agriculture. There are so damn many big fucking trucks lugging palm seeds, and fuckknowswhat, up and down the highways – at all hours – and you cannot have a decent drive without dealing with hundreds of them fucking up the fast lanes of the country as you go from province to province.

We drove from Ubon to southern Thailand and it was horrific. It was like every jackmonkey with a fucking cracker jack license to haul buffalo shit in the 2 dump-truck Killer Trucks was on the road every fucking time we got in our car to drive.

Solution:

We are buying another motorbike and driving that anywhere we need to go within 150 KM. That’s IT. I am so fucking over driving imposters manning vehicles they couldn’t have possibly qualified to drive. I just know I’m going to pull someone out of their truck and beat them with an idiot stick.

Oh, and just for the record, driving a motorbike in Thailand – is about twenty fucking nine times safer than driving any vehicle in the auto lanes. I was worried that our daughter (16 months) was facing more danger on a motorbike!

Hell no!

It’s significantly worse driving anything in the auto lanes.

Trust me.

Someone please back me the fuck up on this.

Please.

Brunty? You had about 185 near accidents yet as you drove your VIOS over the past couple years?

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…

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- >

Motorcycle (Motor-Scooter) Safety Tips for Thailand Visitor

High Season in Thailand? Yep.

I’ve seen a couple hundred fold increase in the number of foreigners on motorbikes here in the south and I expect that it will be just days before I see my first motorbike accident for this tourist season. Man there are some really bloody scenes. I’ve seen heads cracked open and so much blood that I thought I’d be sick and I’m not usually weak-stomached.

I’ve ridden a motorbike here for 3 years and I’ve had one minor accident where the car in front applied a LOT of brakes just as I glanced to the side and rear of me to see if there was anyone in that lane so I could get into it. I hit the back of the car and caused 2000 baht of damage to the woman’s new car. It was my fault. Anytime you hit something – it’s your fault. She hit her brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of her. I lost as I wasn’t paying attention for a second.

There are foreigners that ride straight into the back of trucks here. There are those that are taken out on blind curves. Those that misjudge the speed they should be doing and can’t stop in time. Those that use their front brake hard – and lose all control of the motorbike. There is a LOT to learn about driving in Thailand – and it’s a shame to see people that wouldn’t be comfortable on a bicycle riding a motorbike because they’re on vacation and think it’s fun.

Here are some tips about driving a motorbike in Thailand that I hope you understand and follow:

  1. Your front brake is your RIGHT side lever. Do NOT use it when going around a bend – EVER. Do not use it hard in the rain. Do not use it in any sort of gravel, sand, dirt, oily patch or anything other than dry or wet road without any of the preceding conditions. It’s OK to use the front brake in the rain if you’re going straight and if the road is normal – no oil, gravel and other things – but don’t use the front brake HARD in the rain. The front brake – when it locks up, renders the motorbike totally unsteerable. If the back brake locks up you’re able to steer a little bit.
  2. If you feel the wheels lock up – let off the brakes a bit until the wheels are moving so you can steer again. (must practice – it may not come naturally for you).
  3. Some Thai drivers cut the corners on sharp curves. You may be unpleasantly surprised by a whole car or truck in your lane as you’re coming around a sharp left hand turn. Motorbikes that are racing or otherwise speeding very fast do this a lot too. We’ve ALL had experiences where we thought we’d die in these situations – and some of us did. Stay to the left when making a left hand turn where you can’t see around the bend. Horrible places for these types of near misses are: Koh Samui, Krabi, Patong, and anywhere else where there are hills and very windy roads.
  4. Use your turn signals for everything. Let anyone know what you’re doing before you do it. There are idiots flying up behind me sometimes at 120 kph when the rest of traffic is going 70. If they know what you’re doing by your turn signals then they’ll not hit you.
  5. If you are just moving within the motorcycle lane – or moving left or right at all (not turning) look in your mirrors because moving just 8 or 12 inches left or right can put you in a bad accident if someone is coming up fast – and they do. Hold your line as you drive on the straight and around the bends. If you don’t know what that statement means, look it up it may save your life.
  6. Keep enough air in your tires – but not too much as the more air you have – the quicker you’ll skid and lose control. Better to get a flat tire than die in an accident. I always keep our tires slightly underinflated so I have more traction.
  7. If you have the choice between disc brakes and not – get the motorcycle with disc brakes – they stop quicker and are much easier to judge in the rain – as they don’t change as much as drum brakes which tend to lock up really quick.
  8. Helmets for each person on the motorbike. Not more than 2 people on a motorbike.
  9. Be aware of what is behind you, all the time. BUT, never forget that what is in front of you will kill you more often than what is in back. If you hold your line as you drive the motorcycle you’ll almost always be ok… Often times I’m distracted for a second by something on the side or in back of me… and after I’ve looked and then look back in front of me – something has changed and I need to swerve or hit the brakes. The front is the most important – don’t ever sight-see on the motorcycle.
  10. Check your lights before you leave – headlight, left, right, and brakes.
  11. Adjust your mirrors so you can see to your right and left and behind you a great deal. Forget about directly behind you because that matters least and usually motorbikes don’t follow each other directly behind very close.
  12. Always have 150 baht under your seat to fix a flat tire.
  13. Ride your motorbike on a flat tire – don’t push it or leave it sit – no sense. The tires are VERY strong and won’t rip up – even with two people riding on it for 8 km – as I’ve done. Just go slow and know you’ll need to replace the inner tube, but the outer tire should be fine – just hot as hell for whoever will fix it!
  14. Thais on motorcycles don’t usually look as they pull out into your lane. Thais in cars and trucks usually look, but might pull out in front of you anyway. This is just the NORMAL way they drive. If you don’t compensate by knowing they’re going to jump out in front of you – you may hit them and it may be judged as your fault. Always be ready to compensate for people jumping in front of you in the motorbike lane – you’re expected to move right. DON’T move right until you check your right mirror.
  15. When it rains the oil that drips from cars is more likely to be found at stop lights where cars have sat and dripped for a while. Be VERY careful at intersections when it’s wet because they’ll be the most slippery spots.
  16. Thai people for some damn reason don’t remove debris from the street car or motorcycle lanes. They leave it. Take the time and remove all bricks, rocks, trees, bamboo, and other things you find in the road that could cause someone a really severe accident at night – or even during the day.
  17. Thai construction workers don’t mark the areas very well. My girlfriend’s best friend’s sister died in Ubon Ratchathani on the way from Ubon Ratchathani University back toward Warin Chamrap after 10 pm because there was NO warning the road was out – and she died a horrible death. Only go as fast as you see… and stop within that distance you can see.
  18. Be wary of motorbike riders in back of you. The Thai people are VERY aware when someone is driving close behind them or following them. There’s a reason for this – there are many stories of people on the motorbike being hit with clubs, machetes and fun things like that – and then robbed. It happens everywhere apparently and there is little about it in the papers, but ask ANY Thai person and they’ll tell you that at night time it happens.
  19. Use your horn 9 times more than the locals – because you DON’T know the rules of accepted behavior while driving and if you don’t know what someone is doing – beep. They’ll never verbally say anything about it – and may beep back, but at least you didn’t have an accident.
  20. Fear every vehicle larger than you, because the persistent belief is that “he with the bigger car wins” and usually that’s how they drive. Especially fear the banshee trucks (big dumpster trucks) as they don’t (and can’t) stop very well. Buses too, they don’t stop for anything. I’ve seen many dogs die under the wheels of the bus I was on… and ONE COW broadsided because our bus refused to slow down!
  21. Thai people usually stop at red lights – not always. Don’t even go through a green light without checking the right and left side to see if some punk is flying through the light at 100+kph.
  22. Thai people never stop at stop signs. If you do, you might be rear-ended.
  23. Thai people in cars and trucks WILL cut in front of you, slam on the brakes and make a left turn as you struggle to find the words to call the person. They do it all the time, all kinds of weather. It’s like they think they have the right to or something. This is usually the only time I ever lose it while riding the motorcycle!

Can you think of anymore?

Here’s another couple articles I wrote about driving the motorbike (motor-scooters) in Thailand:

Safe motorcycle driving in Thailand >

Long Distance Motorbike trips in Thailand >

Thailand Road-Kill… YOU! >

Driving in Thailand… Motorbikes, Cars, Trucks, GOD! >

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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- >