Do You Realize What It Means To Drive In Bangkok?
There’s no two-ways about it, to drive in Bangkok is like negotiating a minefield.
One of the biggest perils you’ll face is dealing with the ever -present motorcycles. Read my previous two blogs to see why motorcycles are such a hazard when you drive in Bangkok. Today I’m going to provide the tips you need to keep safe while you drive.
Sadly, most families in Thailand have witnessed a personal tragedy to a family member as a result of a motorcycle accident and yet the beat goes on as it always has. Is it possible for you to avoid being a participant in an unfortunate accident? Is it possible for you to proceed safely amongst the rabble? Of course! Here’s a few tips to ease the transition.
Tips To Be Prepared When You Drive In Bangkok
When you drive in Bangkok be obsessive about checking your mirrors. Check the back mirror and both side mirrors before making a move. Typically you’d be checking these on a regular basis anyway as a part of your driving routine. You want to feel certain there isn’t a bike approaching rapidly which would be caught off guard by your next maneuver. Always assume there’s a chance a bike will be around.
Swivel your head to check your blind spots. My heart skips a beat each time I see a vehicle in the space my mirrors miss while I drive in Bangkok. I feel a sense of surprise each time and it’s enough to remind me to check that spot every time. Remember even your left hand turns, when there should be nothing between you and the curb, can hold unexpected surprises.
When you drive in bangkok use your turn signals well before you make your lane change or turn. This indicates to everyone your intentions and quite often will work to “part the seas” for your move. It also tells the fast approaching bikes they should use a degree of caution as they approach you.
Make your move slowly. This was a difficult adjustment for me as in the west we are accustomed to assessing the situation and then moving quickly while a spot is open. That same approach may result in an accident when you drive in Bangkok because the motorcycles are also moving quickly and may have that same spot in mind. They wouldn’t have time to avoid you given their customary lack of caution. If you slide over slowly they have a chance go around you or find a different path to proceed.
My final tip is to take a final glance AHEAD of you before you turn off the road. Shockingly, some bike drivers decide they can’t be bothered to cross the road to drive with the traffic in the direction they want to go. I think it’s because they figure their journey will be a short one or there isn’t a turning opportunity when they get to their destination.
Either way… you should be aware…there may be motorcycles driving TOWARD you along the curb or on the shoulder. That’s right…they are driving the wrong direction on the wrong side of the road! It’s actually a common occurrence when you drive in Bangkok and Thailand in general. Without a quick glance forward you could unwittingly pull into the path of an oncoming motorcycle. Like most driving situations you’ll be OK if you know your surroundings and proceed cautiously.
Are You Ready To Drive In Bangkok?
Maybe now you’re completely turned off to the idea to drive in Bangkok. Don’t be! It does start to come as second nature after a little practice, the same way it did for you in your home country when you first learned. Could you imagine not driving in your home country? Of course not.
Your Thai friends will expect the same from you in Thailand and they’d be pretty perplexed to find out you’re unprepared or afraid to tackle the rigors of driving in Bangkok. Instead, review these tips, adopt a new mindset and set out on what will be a fun and adventurous journey of discovery. Your Thai friends will be impressed when you drive in Bangkok.