Dying to travel in Thailand?
To put the problem into perspective, around 30 people are killed every day in road accidents and that compares with an average of 5 in the UK, which has a similar population.
I drive frequently here in the Pattaya area, using a range of vehicles (including pick-up truck, saloon car and motorbike). I have also driven to many of the major cities including Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Rayong. I regularly see examples of bad driving, with the most common being speeding, changing lanes without indicating, tailgating and drink-driving. Fortunately, despite witnessing countless accidents, I have only ever seen one fatal smash first-hand.
Here is a photo I took of a recent accident involving 2 heavy goods vehicles on National Highway No. 7 between Pattaya and Chonburi.
But, if you think other means of transport in the Land of Smiles are any safer then you're in for huge shock. Whether you travel by train, plane, boat or bicycle you take your life in your hands.
Why is travelling in Thailand so dangerous?
The Thais have a very laissez-faire attitude to most things in life, which means they fail to take responsibility for their actions, place little value on human life and pay scant regard to issues of health and safety.
The lax and poorly enforced transport laws mean that most vehicles are poorly maintained, a driving licence can be bought for less than 1500 baht (£30), tachographs are virtually non-existent, many long distance drivers rely on drugs to keep them awake and any transport operators who are involved in a fatal accident can easily bribe their way out of a prison sentence.
To quote the inimitable Sir Alex Ferguson......everytime I start my engine I experience "twitchy bum time".