If you’re traveling to Bangkok in Thailand, you need to understand how to drive safely if you’ve reserved a car rental ahead of time. Driving a car in a city like Bangkok is a good idea because it allows you to get around more easily without having to rely on others and pay for taxis and public transport. However, it pays to get behind the wheel of your rental car with some key advice in mind.
Are You Allowed to Drive?
The first issue is whether you’re legally allowed to drive in Thailand or not. If you come from another country, you will need an IDP – or International Driver’s Permit. This is easy enough to get before you leave your own country and will legally enable you to drive in Bangkok.
Understand the Basic Road Rules
If you’re from a country like the United States, the first thing you’ll notice about Thai drivers is that they drive on the left side of the road. This is the official side that people drive on in Thailand and should always be followed.
Having said all of that, Thai driving rules can seem very loose and loosely enforced in contrast to many other places. This sometimes means that you’ll see people driving on the other side of the road and not following other basic rules, such as stopping at red lights.
Expect Some Level of Chaos
The thing that many foreign drivers find difficult about driving in Bangkok and Thailand in general is that there is a level of road chaos to be expected. You’ll be sharing the road not just with all manner of vehicles, but also possibly with animals such as dogs and monkeys.
Bangkok is a vivid and dynamic environment and this also means that you need to keep an eye on the road and other road users at all times. The key here is to expect the unexpected when it comes to driving in Bangkok and Thailand. Not every driver will be able to deal with that level of stress, but it’s wise to be prepared.
Road Lanes Are Not Always Followed
You might be used to obeying road lanes slavishly, but the lines are blurred in Bangkok. Many drivers will straddle lanes, for example. You will also find that drivers flit in and out from lane to lane without even signaling. Some large vehicles will even seem to drive in the middle of the road and hog it no matter how many lanes there are.
Be Aware of Pedestrians
One thing that is very different in Thailand is that pedestrians will give way to vehicles. In other countries it’s usually the other way around.
What this means is that you’ll need to keep on going even if you see pedestrians waiting to cross the road. Stopping suddenly for pedestrians can be dangerous for other vehicles who don’t expect it.
Bangkok airport car rental is easy and convenient and will allow you to get around Bangkok and Thailand when you need to. But you will also need to be aware of certain road rules and what to expect on Thai roads.