Driving in Thailand

Street conditions, traffic and rush hour

Driving in Thailand

The first important thing you need to know is in Thailand cars drive on the left side of the road. Driving in Thailand can be an adventure for expats, but for inexperienced or timid drivers Thai roads are very daunting.

Thai drivers tend to be very polite and they hardly honk their horns in contrast to much of SE Asia. You will notice many drivers or motorcyclists don’t always respect the rules of the road. In Thailand, a lot of accidents occur because of the poor condition of the roads.

The Thai government is obviously aware of the high number of accidents that occur and the chaos on the roads, therefore they are trying to improve the conditions. However, they are manipulating the flow of traffic by switching the direction of one-way street signs. Unfortunately, this only causes more confusion.

Here is what you should do if you get involved in a motor vehicle accident or if you have seen an accident:

  • If a traffic accident occurs, the vehicle should be left at the place where the accident happened. It is better to move the vehicle after the police or insurance company has arrived.
  • Call the Thai emergency number 191 or call 1155, the Thailand tourist police if any English-speaking assistance is needed.
  • An accident report should be reported at the local police office.


The quality of the roads, especially in the cities, are of a very good standard. All major cities are connected to the highway network which consists of four-lane wide freeways. The speed limit on the highway is 100 km/h (62 mph) or 120 km/h (75 mph) depending on the road.

The speed limit signs are quite vague, since they only say, “Reduce your speed limit” and don't specify the actual speed limit for a particular zone. Take care on Thai roads, since speeding is a serious problem, and it causes a lot of accidents.

The motorway network is largely concentrated in the Bangkok area and most of these roads are toll roads, however the tolls are very (20-40 baht per section). They are definitely worth paying to avoid the traffic jams.

Throughout the year, new roads are being built or upgraded. Roadworks or diversions aren’t often clearly marked which causes confusion for drivers.

The rush hour starts in the morning from 6am to 9am and in the evening from 4pm to 7pm since the majority of workers are heading back home.

Further reading

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