Driving In Thailand

The very first thing you need to know is that driving in Thailand follows the left-hand driving rule of the road.

That’s the theory. As some of you will likely know theory and practice don’t always converge. So now for the second thing you need to know before you drive here: very often Thai motorists, especially those on motorcycles, will drive the wrong way up the hard shoulder of the road. This behaviour is most often encountered outside of cities and ‘upcountry’.

RULES & REGULATIONS

  • Many visitors to Thailand are surprised by the quality of Thai roads, especially in cities and developed tourist destinations. All major cities and regions are connected by a highway network consisting of 2 and 4-lane roads.

  • Highways will often include junctions and median breaks allowing for u-turns. It can take a little getting used to initially, but do take care of u-turn traffic as often the “biggest car rule” is used – some Thai drivers will expect you to give way if they are driving larger cars or trucks.

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  • Thailand has a small motorway network, largely concentrated in the Bangkok area. Bangkok is also serviced by “Expressways”, many of which are toll roads. Tolls are generally quite low — 20-40 baht per sector — but well worth paying to avoid the infamous rush-hour traffic jams in Bangkok.

  • In Phuket you’ll find that the roads are generally of an excellent condition, with new road constructions to link various districts and towns being added regularly. Do take care at major junctions and roundabouts — especially those at Jungceylon and Tesco Lotus (about 1.5km north of Jungceylon ), and the Chalong roundabout — where the “rules” of the road often depend on who you speak to.

  • Traffic lights are in place across the island, and do take care at night of motorists who run red lights – it does happen from time to time.

SPEED LIMITS

Generally in towns and cities the speed limit is 60kph. When driving on highways the speed limit increases to either 100kph or 120kph depending on the road. The bad news is that actual speed limit signs are rare in Thailand. You’ll often see a sign stating “City Limits – Reduce Your Speed”, but rarely will signs include the actual speed limit for that zone. Take care however – speeding is a very serious problem on Thai roads, and each year many people are killed in road traffic accidents.

WHAT TO BRING ALONG

Here are the compulsory documents and equipment to carry:

  • Warning triangle or hazard warning lights must be used in case of an accident or breakdown (recommended that warning triangle always be carried).

  • A driving licence

  • Car registration papers

  • Insurance documents

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