Rules of the Road - Thai Style

driving in thailand
  • A vehicle following you no closer than 10 cm is not considered to be tailgating.
  • If the driver in front of you, especially a truck, flashes his left turn signal a few times, he may be telling you that it is safe to pass. But he may be wrong .. or may simply bored.
  • If the driver in front of you, especially a truck, flashes his right turn signal a few times, he may be telling you that it is not safe to pass. And he will usually be right.
  • If a driver approaching from the opposite direction flashes his headlights it may mean
    • "police ahead, watch your speed"
    • or "don't pass that car, you fool, I'm coming too fast!"
    • or "I have screwed up big time by trying pass this vehicle so please give me some room by heading for the shoulder .. even the rice paddy isn't a bad idea"
  • The largest vehicle has the right of way, except elephants always have the right of way and water buffaloes come second.
  • Expect buses, especially orange ones, to overtake on curves, hills and as you are approaching from the opposite direction.
  • If you are on a motorcycle and see an oncoming bus, expect another bus to overtake it; especially if the road has no shoulders.
  • If you are overtaking a vehicle, expect another driver to decide to overtake you at the same time.
  • If you are on a motorcycle or bicycle, keep as careful a watch behind as in front of you.
  • If you have an accident, you will most likely be blamed.
  • Learn to read the Thai script for "Man" and "Lady" for service station restrooms