Car Hire Tips: Important Guidelines For Driving In Thailand
If you are a foreigner and want to drive in Thailand with a hired car, it is important that you observe the traffic rules and adapt to the local style of driving. Just like in your home country, you want to be a careful driver â staying cool and going with the flow, while expecting the unexpected. In fact, if you practise this, you will just be fine. Here are sure-fire tips to make it easy driving in Thailand with your hired vehicle:
Have a driver's licence
If you don't have a driver's licence, you need to obtain one. Your motor skills will be assessed through the basic test. Otherwise, all you need is a copy of your passport, driver's licence, medical certificate, proof of address and visa while applying for the test. And you can be allowed to obtain the local Thai driver's licence through simple procedures, if you already have an international driving licence. You can read this helpful article on getting an appropriate licence for driving in Thailand.
Watch the road literally
Although most Thai roads are decent to drive on, there is more than one can say for the traffic. In fact, you will find yourself sharing the Thai roads with heavily laden and brightly painted trucks, slow-moving street carts, jaywalking pedestrians, zigzagging motorbikes and towering buses. Other times, you might even see snakes, cows, monkeys and stray dogs on the road. You want to keep safe, so always watch the road because there are so many other users.
Drive on the correct side of the road
In Thailand, traffic flows on the left side of the road. This is very different from some foreign countries, such as the US. Other traffic rules are obvious: use your turn signal, stop at red lights and don't drive when you are drunk. Just be watchful because some local motorists may choose not to follow these rules.
U-turn with caution
Turning around in Thailand requires a U-turn to be made in the central reservation. This happens even on fast stretches of the road. You will be required to move into a fast lane and then slow down to make the turn. Choosing the right moment in order to make the turn is recommendable because chances are high that other vehicles will be barrelling along from the other direction at high speed. And because U-turns are not allowed in all places, it is imperative that you keep your eyes peeled for the No U-turn signs.
It is always important to look both ways
As a driver, it is prudent to always expect the unexpected, even in Thailand. Make sure that you check anything that may be coming from a wrong direction. It is not uncommon to find a few law breakers using the wrong side of the traffic, especially in the countryside when you are exploring the Chonburi suburbs.
What to do when the police pull you over in Thailand
It is mostly at the checkpoints that you will have encounters with police, as they are usually looking for drunk drivers. If for instance you are instructed to pull over because of a minor offense, expect to pay a nominal fine on the spot. You may want to negotiate, but don't show that you are angered.
Honking the horn can be a sign of respect
You may think that it is a sign of imminent danger, but honking the horn in Thai can often be a polite way of asking you to get out of the way. There is also this quirky aspect of driving in Thailand where every driver beeps their horn at the same point on the road. It is said that this could be a sign of paying respect to the local spirit shrine situated nearby.
These are some of the tips that can help make driving in Thai an easy endeavour, especially for the foreign expats. And with some practice, you will find yourself used to it and even have fun driving in Thailand.
At Long Term Car Hire Pattaya, we specialise in long term car hire services in and around Pattaya for expats. We can also provide advice on road usage, especially if you are a foreigner. Contact us today, for all your long term car hire needs in Pattaya.