Rules of the Road in Phuket
Phuket Transport | Driving on Phuket
There have been many variations of this over the years but it's always funny. A tongue in cheek view of driving in Phuket has got to be written as the seriousness of driving in Phuket should not be taken lightly. There are many accidents and deaths on the road every year.
Passing or Overtaking
Passing or overtaking is the national pastime in Thailand. Observant motorists among you may have encountered the following:
- The Vertical Triple Overtake (The act of passing three vehicles in one accelerated movement).
- The Horizontal Triple Overtake (The act of passing a vehicle that in itself is in the act of passing another vehicle).
- The Double, Double Overtake (The act of passing a vehicle at precisely the same time that another vehicle, coming from the opposite direction, is also engaged in the act of passing).
The act of being overtaken is an insult not to be endured. The owner of the more expensive/ newer vehicle must always do everything possible to thwart the attempt of the less expensive vehicle attempting to overtake. Usually this involves driving in two lanes at the same time and or speeding up as you start to overtake.
Tailgating is what Phuket drivers do to you when not overtaking. This is also the result of a successfully blocked overtaking manoeuvre.
Rapidly flashing headlights can mean anything including but not limited to any of the following:
- OK to pass now
- Do not pass now
- Get out of my way
- Help, I am in trouble
It takes years or sometimes an entire lifetime to learn this subtle, intriguing, and non-verbal communication skill. Generally however, you have less than three seconds!
Should be sounded loudly and frequently, the horn sets up an invisible energy barrier protecting the vehicle and its passengers from all harm. The faster the vehicle is moving, the more effective the horn.
Seatbelts are unnecessary. Driver and passengers are completely protected by the horn.
Motorcycles (and three wheeled vehicles)
Motorcycles will appear from nowhere and are to be treated with absolute and complete disregard. Three wheeled bikes with a side car will perform the same manoeuvres but at half the speed.
Dogs born in Phuket seem to have developed the natural instinct to leap in front of a speeding vehicle and will do so without hesitation or warning.
Accidents in Thailand and are usually the result of a malfunctioning horn.
Lights on vehicles are not needed especially at night as they are a drain on the battery. However, if lights are used, at least one headlight must be pointing in the air. This will ensure that low flying aircraft are detected and will have the added advantage of blinding all on-coming traffic.
It is recommended that others purchase insurance. This will ensure that any foreigner involved in an accident will be in a position to take the blame and let the insurance company pay for any damage to both vehicles as well as all hospital bills.
Last Updated: 10 Feb 2012