Monday, 17 November 2008

A letter published in the Bangkok Post 12th July 2008

Proper driving needed
I am from the UK and lived there for 40 years without seeing a dead body. Since coming to Thailand almost 10 years ago, I have seen about 20 corpses, witnessing the death of two of them. They were all victims of avoidable traffic accidents.
After visiting nearly 50 countries, I believe Thai drivers to be the most ill-informed, reckless and spatially unaware of all. I have had some near misses myself whilst driving and believe that the root of the problem lies in the lack of road user education.
As I grew up in Britain I was exposed nightly to road safety and awareness adverts, the catch phrases are with me yet. "Clunk click every trip", "Look right, look left, then right again", "Speed kills", etc.
I fervently hope that this new government, coupled with a public information TV channel modelled on the BBC, can together help, primarily, to reduce the death toll and, secondly, the tedious traffic jams caused by the long wait for the familiar white spray-painted outlines of vehicle positions involved in minor accidents.
Perhaps we could start with a "make sure there are no surprises" campaign, encouraging drivers and riders to indicate and look before changing lanes or joining a line of moving traffic. If only one person benefits by not being mown down by a pickup truck, surely it would have been worthwhile?


tropicalrob said...

I agree, Thai drivers are pretty bad, but nothing compared to drivers in two other countries I've visited - Cambodia and Sri Lanka.

In Sri Lanka they simply come down the wrong side of the road at you! Bus drivers have a particularly macho culture and on the open road just expect motorcyclists to get the hell out of the way. And, believe me, you'd better! Another irritating feature there is lane straddling, which makes it extremely difficult to overtake.

Cambodia? Well, basically chaos. At least in Thailand there's some semblance of order.

The only place I imagine might be worse is somewhere in Africa.

Phillip Donnelly said...

I'd have to give my vote to Cairo, but Saigon was pretty terrible too, especially for a pedestrian trying to cross the road, weaving through the motorbikes. Yikes!