THAILAND A PERILOUS PLACE TO DRIVE – Thailand is one of the more dangerous places to drive and I would totally concur with that statement due to direct experience. According to research Thailand is ranked No.6 in the world for the worst death rates on the roads with a staggering 42.6 per 100,000 road traffic accidents. To put this in perspective the United Kingdom has a death rate of 4.8 per 100,000.
Thailand is not the most dangerous place to drive as Namibia takes the top slot with an appalling record of 53.4 deaths per 100,000 road traffic accidents.
Many of Thailand’s road deaths are attributed to the lack of training and the fact that the majority of accidents occur on motorbikes where the driver and pillion passengers, adults and children alike, do not wear helmets.
Read: – WARNING: The link below provides contains some highly graphic images of people killed in road traffic accidents in Thailand. This is not designed to sensationalise the issue but rather provide a clear and unequivocal realisation of the dangers.
As with most things this could be avoided by simply educating people properly and not bribing officials to obtain driving licences. There are driving schools, but these are not well utilized by the Government and little or no enforcement is in place to stamp out operating a motor vehicle without a licence.
It is common knowledge that anyone stopped by the police that is not able to produce a valid driver’s licence is merely fined, which goes in the pockets of the police, and then allowed to continue on their journey.
Many people come from the villages and drive in Bangkok in the same maner as they would in the village. There are no proper road markings. No lane discipline. No looking ahead at the traffic conditions – foot on the accelerator or the break, no easing off, just one or the other. No idea of safe breaking distances. Lane dodging at fast speeds. Jumping red lights and so it goes on and on.
Road rage exists more than it ever did. Selfishness abounds. The ‘me first’ attitude is paramount here in Thailand. The concept of danger does not exist at all – leave a safe gap and it is immediately filled without hesitation, often with no signalling at all. It is as if it costs money to signal. Motorcyclists are downright dangerous and cause a lot of the traffic problems and certainly the congestion.
Every year at Songkran, the Christmas and New Year period, so many lives are lost. The Government have campaigns but never get to the root cause of the accidents and loss of life – no proper tuition on how to drive; resulting each year, with more lives being lost. It is a widely accepted fact that there is no need for the number of fatalities and could be drastically cut with the right training initiative.
Considering the vast number of accidents each year you might think that the Insurance Companies would lobby the government to take action; even the Insurance Companies could initiate programs that would reward drivers with valid driver’s liences or better still ‘advanced driver’s licences’.
On of the biggest issues many have with driving in Thailand is with the so-called ‘professional’ drivers; the operators of coaches, lorries, mini buses and taxis. However it is widely accepted that few have any real idea how to control a large vehicle and their appears to be the attitude that ‘size’ determines who has command of the road.
Along side these professions there is also the Royal Thai Police and with the love of flashing lights they are never shy of putting their foots down with almost none having any real formal training to drive at high speeds.
In reality the Government could sort the issue of driving quality with ease and in doing so generate legitimate revenue, save live and reduce traffic congestion. Of course that would require a proactive Government that was more concerned about the people rather than just themselves.