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Driving In Thailand

In Thailand, you drive on the left.

Driving in Thailand you will experience frustration, and need patience and you must not expect international driving rules to be followed. There will be plenty of traffic jams, little parking and you will need to either know the layout of the city or be able to read a map (free ones are usually available from local tourist police stations).
Positively, driving is good for small numbers of people to get around and see parts of Thailand you might otherwise not see. You can change your plans and you will experience the people of Thailand more. Thailand has a good network of well maintained roads and highways between all main centres. Most of the north-south route is a dual carriage way.

Local Laws

Wearing of seat belts is compulsory.
Drink driving laws apply. All insurance is invalid if drivers exceed the legal alcohol limit.
All drivers must hold a current, full licence. The licence may either be Thai, or from a renter's country of residence (with an English translation) or an international driver’s permit. Licences (and a valid passport) must be carried at all times when driving.

Speed limits

The maximum speed limit in cities and towns is 60km/h (35 mph) and varies between 90 and 120 km/h (52-60 mph) on expressways and country roads. Police regularly check motorists speed.

Driving Hazards

Night driving is not recommended on the open road due to heavy truck traffic, which tends to have a poor respect for cars. Motor bikes can on occasion be a hazard, particularly as they are often ridden into oncoming traffic.
Bangkok has a poor reputation for traffic conditions and this is justified, except on the expressways. The city is very overcrowded with traffic and this makes driving difficult for drivers unfamiliar with the city. Whilst Thai drivers are exceedingly courteous and considerate to other road users (horns are used very rarely), traffic directions, and entry and exit locations often change during the day. These changes are seldom advised by signs, and none are in English, hence unfamiliar drivers can end up a considerable distance from their desired location due to enforced traffic flows.
Sometimes when a driver is overtaking a car, he horns the forthcoming car. This latter has to slow down to avoid any accident. It is especially dangerous in case of buses. Overtaking in hillside roads, without seeing if a car is coming on the other way, is also common for Thai drivers.

Tips

Road signage follows international convention and is in both Thai and English.
Fuel: Unleaded petrol and diesel are sold by the litre. Both fuels are freely available throughout Thailand and prices generally range between Baht 20 to Baht 25 per litre for them. Fuel stations are plentiful and most of the larger ones accept major international credit cards. It's a must to inform your credit card suppliers that you will travelling abroad and to which countries and which dates. This ensures they don't suspend your card if they spot it being used in unfamiliar places, which they sometimes do as an anti-fraud measure. In more remote locations cash will be required.

Don’t Do’s

Drinking and driving: Don't do it. Don’t break the local laws and don’t get involved with accidents even as a passer by as you may easily get involved and blamed in some way.
Remember you are foreigner in a different country and their laws are not the same as the ones you’re used to.

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