Some Tips on Driving in Thailand
I’ve got used to it. Thai driving used to scare me but I now “go with the flow.” Drive defensively, assume others will make mistakes. Whichever country you drive in you will soon — or at least eventually — get accustomed to their particular way of driving.
Large trucks will always assume precedence, as if they have right of way even when they do not. Drivers of expensive looking cars will often push their way through. That’s the power of hierarchy for you. All Thais know their station in life and some take full advantage of that.
In the West one car may turn at a junction in the face of oncoming traffic if it is safe to do so. Following cars usually stop. In Thailand, when one car goes all the rest will follow. I now do the same. It is understood that the cars will wait for all the vehicles to turn.
I do not miss the lack of misunderstanding that one gets in western countries when someone flashes their headlights at you. In Thailand, flashing one’s lights only has one meaning: you are coming through. 99.9% of the time. I’ve only once seen a driver flash to let me through and his intention was clear as his vehicle was stationary. He was a tourist.
At a four-way junction some Thais will put on their hazard lights to show they are going straight on. Quite a good idea.