Driving motorcycle

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Driving car or motorcycle in Thailand.

Traffic rules are there for traffic to function without major problems, and road signs are not placed randomly, they are carefully placed where there can be dangers.

Human facts

A normal person can only absorb between 2-4 signs at once, and unfortunately it is usually the least important we perceive first. 

An experienced professional driver may possibly perceive up to 6 signs.

That is something traffic planners have to think about, put out the most important signs closest to a crossing, and the others a little before. Preparatory signs are always good, such as signs that tell you that soon a crossing or a sharp curve will come. etc.

If there is a sign that the speed is 50 then run in 50 for then there is certainly a reason for it. There may be settlements and there are always children who can suddenly run out of the way. Or it can be a sharp curve or something else that means that the traffic planner has reduced the speed. If you do not care about it, but continue to drive at a high speed, you must expect an accident.

In my home country, an elk can suddenly run up in front of the vehicle, and in some areas of Thailand an elephant can come up on the road. And it's not that fun to crash into an elephant in 90 km/h. But at such places the traffic planner has lowered the speed and even if there was no elephant when you drove past there, it does not mean that there will be no next time either.

If you drive in the mountains around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai then you have to count on wet asphalt, where it can be cold and slippery on the road. Wet road with falling leaves creates unpleasant slip. If the road shines in the sunshine then count on a slippery road. It doesn't have to be snow and ice, it can be wet by rain too.

If you drive in Bangkok and feel that you master your motorcycle well. Drive after a motorcycle taxi as he crosses between the cars, they are very skilled and you learn to drive fast in Bangkok. But be careful, keep a little distance and be 100% concentrated on the driving all the time.

Keep your eyes as far forward on the road as you can so you get the best wide angle and you can see upcoming curves and slopes.

To all foreigners who driving a motorcycle in Thailand

In Thailand, it is left-side traffic, but if there are more than two files in the same direction, the majority drive the right-hand traffic, this creates unnecessary problems in traffic, when drivers are forced to drive on the wrong side.

You must have a Thai driving license. it is not difficult to take if you have a driving license from your home country. You do some health and reaction tests, look at a movie about traffic rules in Thailand, it will first appear in Thai then in English. That's all it takes a few hours and most of the time it takes to copy documents. You must have your passport as well as your home country's driving license and an international driving license for driving in Thailand, and a healt document from a doctor with you, prepare to take several copies of all documents before you reach the Traffic Authority. You may not drive a Thai registered vehicle with only your home country's driving license and an international driving license in Thailand, this also applies to rented vehicles. The driving license is valid for 1-2 years depending on what you have permission from your home country. Then you have to do the whole procedure again and then get a driving license that is valid for 5 years. Then it is 5 years intervals. 

You must be 18 years old to take a driving license, but you will see small children flying on motorcycles, they have no driving license and cannot the rules.

If you do not care to take a driving license but think that you can take the fine, then you must also include a possible accident. If you are involved in an accident without having a valid Thai driving license, then the debt will end up on you, no matter whose fault it is, and if it is a serious injury or death to Thai people it may be very expensive to you. The insurance will not cover you if you are driving illegally, which it is to drive without a Thai driving license.

But keep in mind that it was mandatory for everyone to have a driving license at the end of 2016, so it still drives people on the roads without a driving license, they have never learned about traffic rules but are driving according to their own rules. Which usually gives benefits to themselves.

If you want to buy a vehicle, you must have a one-year visa that has begun and a document from the embassy that shows that you live in Thailand. You also need a document from the immigration that shows that you live permanently in Thailand. These documents only apply for one month.

Learn the traffic rules and follow them. Why do you think the rules do not apply to you, or that they are the same rules as in your home country. All countries have their own traffic rules, sometimes they are similar, but the majority are special for the country you are driving in. In your home country you would never drive drunk, but here in Thailand you do it. Do you think it's easier to drive in a country where you couldn't learn the traffic rules?

Especially here in Thailand I often see motorcycle drivers driving in thin short trousers, t-shirt and with the helmet on the package holder. I know the reason why you don't have the helmet on your head, where it belongs. The only reason you have the helmet on your head is to avoid a fine. When there are no police officers nearby, you take off your helmet. This procedure is completely incomprehensible to me, if you still have the helmet with you, why not have it on your head, for your own safety.

And often you see the driver with helmet, but the passengers are without a helmet. Even their own children travel as passengers without wearing a helmet. It must mean that you care more about your own safety than about the safety of your children. 

If I had children who would go with me, they would primarily get the helmet if I only have one helmet. But everyone should have a helmet that is adapted to their own head.

When I point this out to my Thai friends, they say this is Thailand, so we do here.

Yes, of course it is Thailand, and people don't do the same all over the world. But people are built equally across the globe, and it hurts for all people to burn bare skin to asphalt, or to crack their heads when it hits the street. And all people all over the world can die just as easily if they don't protect themselves.

When driving a car, you automatically put on your seat belt, and often tell your children to wear the seat belt. But it is much more dangerous to travel on a motorcycle. And you should wear long trousers and a jacket too, they protect more than just having the skin on the tarmac. 

If you are driving long trips on a motorcycle in Thailand, you should have full clothing, it gets warm, but they protect the skin from the sun and you do not have to drive so far before you burn your skin.

The big difference between Thailand and Europe is that here you have to pay the health service yourself if you do not have insurance, and if you cannot afford to buy helmets for your children then it is unlikely that you can afford to buy insurance either.

Which should mean an obvious reason to protect yourself and your passengers as much as possible.

Certainly, it becomes warm with protective clothing, but rather I sweat than I burn my skin, spend my future in a wheelchair or in a cemetery.

Be extra careful with buses and lorries, often they drive too fast, especially the buses, and the lorries are often overloaded. And overloaded lorries mean difficult to handle, brakes and steering are not adapted to the load weight, the load is often poorly secured and they often overturn in rough curves, the drivers often have more interest in the internet than for the traffic and they often wobble and often they run between 2 files so they get the center line under the vehicle. Be extra careful when driving these, especially if you are driving the motorcycle file, as they can slide down there without warning and get out of the way. You cannot trust that they give signs when they are going to swing so do not drive if there are crossings in front of you, Take it safe before the uncertain, it is often better to lie behind until they come to an uphill and lose speed.

Traffic Rules

If you do not see any signs prohibiting left turn at red traffic lights in Thailand, then you will turn left even if it is red light. But with caution, vehicles from the right have the right of way. And don't trust that you turned left at the same intersection earlier, the police can set up temporary ban signs, so always pay attention to signs.

Picture signs are easy to understand, they are often international, but in Thailand there are also signed signs for only Thai. Be extra careful there.

And in a 3-way junction with multiple files, it may be possible to drive straight ahead in the leftmost file even if the traffic light shows red. But there are either signs that show what you can do, or if the file to the left has a solid line on the right. If you are unsure, always stay and do not trust others to drive, they rarely care about the rules.

It is forbidden to drive a motorcycle on motorways in Thailand, these are mostly around Bangkok and have pay toll. If you arrive at such a toll, you must find a safe way to turn. But there are clear signs before it is slow to turn so when you see that all motorcyclists turn off from the bigger road, just follow them. If you are unsure, always choose the smaller streets.

On the highway, it is mandatory for motorcyclists to drive to the far left, on the narrow file between the road and the ditch, but keep in mind that it is the most dangerous place to drive. Trees can hang down the road, twigs may have fallen down, parked vehicles, road shops, slow vehicles, bumpy vehicles, pedestrians, bicycles, vehicles without lighting, dogs sleeping on the road etc. And if you drive on the main files, there are self-appointed police who try to penetrate you to the motorcycle file.

If you drive in the dark then you should slow down a bit, because much of what you see in daylight disappears in the dark. Search for headlights both in front of you, behind you and from sideways. Sometimes the road can be bad, a hole is not unusual, nor an area with too much asphalt after a repair, these can cause you to lose control if you are not prepared, which you are not if you do not see it in advance.

Daytime, I always run on the main file and go temporarily into the motorcycle file when vehicles approach from behind. At night, I never drive on the motorcycle file, but I have day-light LED in both headlights and extralights so I se more then with a original motorcycle light

The maximum permitted speed for motorcycles is 90 km/h, but often it is lower. Keep track of signs and follow the speed limit. They have speed cameras and they photograph you hidden, when you arrive at a checkpoint they take you in if you drive too fast, the fine is not so high, but they can take your driver's license and seize your vehicle.

The police are good in Thailand, they want to help you, and if you are nice and accommodating then you can continue with only one warning, but do not try to bribe them, the corrupt time is over. You may have more problems if you try to bribe.

Driving motorcycle in colon

Driving a motorcycle in a group is both fascinating and fun, but it is definitely not harmless. It is therefore important that we follow a few simple rules for both our own and others' safety.

The first MC is at the far r at the center line, and then the zig-zag formation is formed. Keep that formation even in curves. Don't bother with the curves. This provides a better field of view and a longer available braking distance. When you are going to fill your "row" it is always done from behind.

Exaggerate your location in the formation slightly. Then there will never be any doubt if you are right or left MC. The distance between the bikes is determined by the speed and of course the road conditions. It usually fits with 1second between the bikes ie. about 15 m at 60 km / h. Keep even distance between motorcycles. Show consideration for those behind you in the colon. If you alternately decrease and increase the speed, it becomes very difficult for those who are further back in the colon.

In order for the colon to stick together as well as possible, it is advisable to make overtaking within the colon if someone runs too slowly to avoid gaps in the colon. Use flashers or signal with your hand as you drive inside the colon. When stopping at a crossroads or the like, the right MC goes up beside the left. This makes the colon shorter so you get a better overview and that you get faster across the intersection.

At the front of the colon, our signpost runs. This MC keeps steady speed and keeps the speed limit. If you are above with colon driving, you should be as far behind as possible. Then you have a greater opportunity to study how the front is doing. If the colon has to stay for some reason, stop the sign (stretch your hand) here and be so everyone becomes aware that the colon stops. When the colon does overtaking, the left MC goes out behind the right MC so that the colon becomes a long line.

If the colon gets into a passing car in the middle, great care must be taken. Make it easier for the car driver to drive over, by leaving the right MC behind the left MC so that the colon stays on the left side of the road. When the car is running, increase the distance to the front MC temporarily, so that the overtaking car is able to hold to the left at a possible meeting. A sign to the driver that he can drive if you are appreciated and it shows that you are using your rear-view mirror and are awake in traffic.

For those who do not thrive in colon driving or think it goes too fast or
Too slow I recommend running free driving before or after
the colon at its own pace so everyone is satisfied and the column run works so good as possible.

In Cambodia is it right side traffic, but people drive where it is most space. It is always dangerous to lose attention in the traffic but in Cambodia it can be more dangerous to lose attention to the traffic. There is rules but people don't follow them.

Read this before you start drive in Cambodia

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