September 22, 2023

Video #23 | February 15, 2018

In this video, I’m going to look dangerous Thai driving. At the end of this video, there will be 13 terrifying clips which showcase the worst examples of dangerous Thai driving.

The video will be broken down into 6 sections:

– A brief background into dangerous Thai driving.
– Why aren’t the police crackdowns and road safety campaigns working?
– Thailand’s road laws are not applied equally.
– Addressing core problems.
– 13 terrifying clips which showcase the worst examples of dangerous Thai driving.
– Final thoughts.

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Welcome to the twenty-third video of Bangkok Unmasked! The YouTube channel that helps you get the most out of your visit to Bangkok city! If you’re new here, please consider subscribing! In this video I’m going to look dangerous Thai driving. At the end of this video there are 13 clips which showcase some of the worst examples. If you’re not scared about dangerous Thai driving, you really should be!

Let’s get started…

To start with, some background.

A brief background into dangerous Thai driving

According to the World Health Organization [or WHO], Thailand is ranked second in the world in terms of traffic fatalities. In 2013 Thailand recorded 44 deaths per 100,000 people. This equates to a staggering 5.1 percent of Thailand’s overall deaths! An important note. If you look at Thai government statistics for traffic fatalities, they’re quite a bit lower than those reported by the WHO. The reason for the difference is that statistics taken by the Thai government only record victims who died at the scene. WHO statistics include victims that died within 30 days of the accident.

Anyone who has lived in Thailand for more than a couple of decades will know that there are significantly more vehicles than there used to be. This is certainly one factor in the massive increase in road deaths. However it doesn’t fully explain why in spite of various police crackdowns and government road safety campaigns, terrible Thai driving is getting worse.

Why aren’t the police crackdowns and road safety campaigns working?

According to the WHO, drink-driving is responsible for around 26% of road deaths in Thailand. However, according to reports on the ground things are quite different. A reporter from CityNews Chiang Mai was told that alcohol was involved in around 80% of road accidents during an interview with local rescue services.

While police do run sporadic crackdowns on drink driving, they don’t address a core problem. This is the fact that drink driving is still socially acceptable in Thailand. In Bangkok I have lost count of the times that I have seen people drinking – often to excess – and then get in their car and drive back home. No one says anything if the driver can still walk. This type of behavior would be quite out of the question in the UK or US.

Thailand’s road laws are not applied equally.

There’s also the issue that Thailand’s road laws are not applied equally. Probably the most famous example of this is the case of Vorayuth Yoovidhya. In the early morning of September 3, 2012, Vorayuth ran over and killed a motorcycle policeman in central Bangkok. The unfortunate policeman was dragged under Vorayuth’s Ferrari for 200 meters, and left for dead in the road. When captured Vorayuth failed both alcohol and drug tests. To date he has yet to face justice. So how can this be? Vorayuth Yoovidhya’s late grandfather Chaleo Yoovidhya co-founded the global energy-drink maker Red Bull. The family, led by Vorayuth’s father, Chalerm, is Thailand’s fourth richest, with a $12.5 billion fortune. Vorayuth has ignored multiple police and court summonses, and is currently resident at an unknown overseas location.

More problems…

Government campaigns have been launched to reduce drink-driving. Most Thai will have seen both posters and TV ads showing the results of horrific crashes with the slogan; ‘don’t drink and drive’. Unfortunately, these campaigns don’t seem to be working. Perhaps these campaigns need to be more graphic and hard hitting?

Don't drink and drive. [Thai language sign].

If you’ve spent any time in Thailand, you will have seen police road blocks. In the past only motorcyclists were targeted and fined for not wearing helmets. God forbid a Mercedes or BMW got pulled over! Thankfully police have recently also been checking to see if riders have licenses, and even fining illegal modifications to bikes.

Addressing core problems

Like so many of these campaigns though, the core problem is not being properly addressed. While enforcing the use of a crash helmet is commendable, it would be more helpful to enforce the use of the right kind of helmet. Currently any kind of helmet can be worn, and often they are nothing more than a hard hat that you might see on a construction site. In any serious road traffic accident this kind of helmet would provide little to no protection from serious head injuries. From what I have read, head trauma of motorcycle riders is the main cause of death. The WHO reports 74% of fatalities on the road are motorcycle riders.

Many believe that the test to get a license for driving, or motorcycle riding needs to be radically overhauled. The current test is notoriously easy. The practical part involves nothing more than seeing if you can operate a vehicle. Even if you can’t operate a vehicle, with a payment made under the table, you’ll still likely be given a license.

It’s evident that most of Thailand’s road traffic accidents are the result of sheer negligence on the driver’s part. Sometimes one of the drivers. Sometimes both. Drink-driving, as mentioned above, is also often a factor.

13 terrifying clips which showcase the worst examples of dangerous Thai driving.

Everything that I have said so far is really of minimal value without context. What follows are some examples of just how dangerous Thai driving can be! If you don’t want to see terrible accidents on Thai roads, please stop this video now. Seriously.

Video #1

This is a shocking example of driving by the black Honda. No use of indicators, breaking the speed limit and weaving in-and-out of lanes.

Video #2

In this case it seems both parties are in the wrong as they are both in the process of crossing lanes.

Video #3

A horrific accident that resulted in the death of an 18-year-old female EMS volunteer. The 10-wheel truck went through the flashing red light without even slowing down!

Video #4

This video is a clear case of what you can expect when tailgating. The truck completely loses control trying to swerve into the outside lane and smashes into a black SUV.

Video #5

This example beggars’ belief. The road conditions are already dangerous yet the bus driver still decides to pass another bus on unbroken yellow lines. Neither the bus or the truck appear to have turned on their headlights.

Video #6

Driving without due care and attention is clearly the core issue in this clip. While the traffic light was apparently green, this is little excuse to plough into the motorbike.

Video #7

Motorcycles running red lights is common in Thailand. This is the inevitable result.

Video #8

Excessive speed and careless driving by both parties led to this shocking crash. I think that it’s highly unlikely that the motorcyclist can have survived the incident.

Video #9

Tuk-tuks are inherently unstable, even at low speeds. I won’t get into one. This video is shows how it doesn’t take much for the driver of a tuk-tuk to completely lose control.

Video #10

The bike rider doesn’t appear to check his mirrors before changing lanes. This video is a clear example of why so many bike riders lose their lives on the Thai roads. It must be said that if the truck driver was driving defensively, this accident was likely avoidable.

Video #11

In this video both the police officer and other motorcyclist were driving on the wrong side of the road. Both parties are at fault.

Video #12

This is an epic crash, and completely avoidable. It seems that both drivers ran flashing amber lights.

Video #13

I’m going to close these horrific videos with a compilation of footage that showcases why you must use extreme caution when crossing pedestrian crossings in Thailand.

Final thoughts

It’s unlikely that a solution will be found to dangerous Thai driving any time soon. Realistically, a starting point would be to not allow anyone to drive on the Thai roads without first passing a rigorous driving test. That said, even if there was a proper driving test in place, until road laws are properly enforced by the police, and the Thai are educated on the potential consequences of their actions, a better test probably wouldn’t be enough.

Stay safe out there when driving in Thailand 2018!


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