Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Thailand
Reload this Page >

Foreigner driving in Thailand using friend's car

Foreigner driving in Thailand using friend's car

Old Sep 5, 19, 1:57 am
  #1  
siw
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: SE England
Programs: AF-KL FB Plat.
Posts: 307
Foreigner driving in Thailand using friend's car

I (UK citizen) will be visiting a friend (Thai citizen) in Thailand in Decemeber. My friend has a car and we plan to drive to visit places out the city, we are staying in Nonthaburi. So that my friend does not do all the driving I hope to share the driving equally (e.g. since I am the foreigner my friend could drive in the towns/cities and I drive on the long boring motorways). I have a full UK driving licence since 2003 and have no penalty points or other driving notices on it. I have read that I will need an International Driving Permit (IDP) to suppliment my UK driving licence and I can get that from my local UK Post Office about two weeks before travelling. Fortunately, in Thailand they drive on the left hand side of the road, the same as in the UK. I have only ever driven overseas in Spain and New Zealand using car rentals.

For those with the knowledge:

1. Is this possible?
2. What is the best options for car insurance?
3. Is there a Thai Highway Code (similar to the UK Highway Code, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Highway_Code) I can read before I depart to give myself prior knoweldge of the rules of the road.
4. Anything I have forgotten to ask.

Thanks
siw is offline  
Old Sep 5, 19, 6:03 am
  #2  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 11,531
1. Yes
2. Your friend has insurance
3. 5-5-5
4. Make sure your legal affairs are settled

You should be fine until you aren't.
travelinterpreters likes this.
transpac is offline  
Old Sep 5, 19, 8:36 am
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Omaha
Posts: 1,592
I don't know the going rate, but make sure you have a bunch of 100 baht (500?) notes on you while driving.
CrazyInteg is offline  
Old Sep 5, 19, 3:25 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lincoln UK/BKK
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by CrazyInteg View Post
I don't know the going rate, but make sure you have a bunch of 100 baht (500?) notes on you while driving.
Why? For bribes? I've never had to give anything to Police, although I've only been stopped at one road block in Kalasin on a local road near the GF's village, they were stopping everyone. They just said "licence" flashed him my UK card, didn't even look at it (it was still in my wallet even) and waived me on. Driven through loads of check points and always waived through other that one time.

To the OP
I don't think you really need an International Driving Permit, I've never been asked for one. The first few times I hired a car, it was from Thai places. When I booked a car at Avis, I decided to get an IDP any just in case, only £5, I think. Neither Avis or Budget have asked to see it. I got mine from the Post Office opposite Kings Cross Station in London on my way to Heathrow.

Beware, even highways are NOTHING like driving on our A1 or M1 etc. or any dual carriageway, they can still be challenging and need your wits about you. No lane discipline, tailgating, pulling in front of you, slow traffic in any lane, fast traffic in any lane, pedestrians.

I enjoy the challenge of driving in Thailand, especially Bangkok. Its not for the faint hearted, you need to be confident, aware and relaxed.
manymany is offline  
Old Sep 5, 19, 4:17 pm
  #5  
 
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: Upcountry Maui, HI
Posts: 12,012
Originally Posted by manymany View Post
To the OP
I don't think you really need an International Driving Permit, I've never been asked for one.
According to the law you need one. Despite the fact that you never had to show yours, you could have problems if asked to produce it and you don't have it. It's trivial to get one, so why not carry it?

Yes, I've done it both ways myself, but it's really silly not to just get it. (I have to do it by mail with AAA in Honolulu, so it's a bit of a PITA, but not really.)

-David
MSPeconomist likes this.
LIH Prem is offline  
Old Sep 5, 19, 4:47 pm
  #6  
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Olde Dominion
Programs: AA Gold - ooooh!
Posts: 701
Originally Posted by transpac View Post
3. 5-5-5
5-5-5
Kamalaasaa is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 1:28 am
  #7  
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lincoln UK/BKK
Programs: BAEC Gold
Posts: 324
Originally Posted by LIH Prem View Post
According to the law you need one. Despite the fact that you never had to show yours, you could have problems if asked to produce it and you don't have it. It's trivial to get one, so why not carry it?

Yes, I've done it both ways myself, but it's really silly not to just get it. (I have to do it by mail with AAA in Honolulu, so it's a bit of a PITA, but not really.)

-David
My comment was based on research not just experience. And Iím not advising against getting one. As a lot of Thai law, it is open to interpretation especially after being translated to English. But for the sake of £5, and as I was hiring from a legit international company (as opposed to a random desk at a Nakhon Nowhere airport) and walking past a Post Office in London I decided to get one.
manymany is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 6:54 am
  #8  
siw
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: SE England
Programs: AF-KL FB Plat.
Posts: 307
Thanks for the replies.

I will get a IDP as it is cheap.

So, no Highway Code.

What is the advice for car insurance? Can it be added to an annual travel insurance policy?
siw is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 10:04 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Omaha
Posts: 1,592
Originally Posted by siw View Post
Thanks for the replies.

I will get a IDP as it is cheap.

So, no Highway Code.

What is the advice for car insurance? Can it be added to an annual travel insurance policy?
Of course there is. 555 (in Thai) == jajaja (in Spanish) == hahaha (in English). But you will quickly find out that many people do not follow the rules, just like anywhere in the world. There's a certain flow on the highways of Thailand, which I guess you would call the unwritten rules of the road. The most dangerous (in my opinion) are the people turning across your lane and U-turns. Especially from people coming from or going to street-side vendors.

The highways shouldn't be too bad though.
CrazyInteg is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 10:09 am
  #10  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Minneapolis: DL DM charter 2.3MM
Programs: A3*Gold, SPG Plat, HyattDiamond, MarriottPP, LHW exAccess, ICI, Raffles Amb, NW PE MM, TWA Gold MM
Posts: 82,610
I'd want more reassurance in this case than just "friend has insurance for the car." Are you sure it's adequate and covers other drivers, including foreigners or drivers without a local license? A foreigner believed to have deep pockets could be a very tempting target. Don't even think of trying this without the required international license (about $10 and a brief visit to my local AAA office for me, not a big deal at all).
MSPeconomist is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 6:52 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Programs: QR, AC, EVA, UL and PAL
Posts: 431
There is the Highway code that is Official and the Highway code that is used. The driver with the high end car has the right of way. Also the bigger the vehicle the reluctance to give way. Best way is to keep to your lane and never trust the other driver or the motorcycle rider to follow the rules or for that matter any rules. It is the law of the jungle. You are going along according to the speed limit and suddenly out of nowhere you see a high end car undertake you on the inside and actually on the emergency stop way on the highway. So please be careful of everything and anything.
dav662 is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 8:57 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 11,531
Car insurance here covers damage to the car. It covers any driver. I guess a foreigner could be excluded, no experience here as I've never had an accident, or been stopped by RTP. Occasionally they wave cars through a road station, but again, never been stopped or had to display my DL.

Everything else gets negotiated, in the event of an accident.

Assuming you survive the accident, and the resulting angry crowd attempting to beat you to death (this why most Thais do a runner), and the pick-up truck ride to the hospital, you'll probably have to fork out hundreds of thousands of baht to the police, and anyone else nearby.

No level of insurance will cover everything. Pretty much just repairs to your own car.

I think the IDP is "legal" here, but of course, that is subject to interpretation by the police in any given instance. Many folks say their home country DL is more likely to be acceptable. There may be some caveats re: long-term usage when one should probably get a local license. The fact that you can get an IDP at a post office, or AAA, for a spot of cash doesn't exactly instill confidence. I don't think you can convert an IDP to a Thai DL, but you can convert some country's DLs. I was able to get Thai DLs based on my U.S. State DL.

Yes, I imagine there is a driving code, maybe more than one even? It is hardly relevant. You can root around in the DLT (Department of Land Transportation, part of the Ministry of Transport) site for something.

http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0140_5.pdf


When I renewed my car and motorcycle licenses recently we had to watch a one + hour video. In this video, the drivers did not wear seatbelts, and it mostly dealt with courtesy. Wai to the other driver, etc.

Thais can buy a license quite cheaply. Not so long ago people got lifetime licenses.


The number one rule: Don't hit anything or anyone.

Other advisories...
Avoid driving at night
Avoid driving in inclement weather
Watch out for motorbikes passing on the left, right, approaching on the left and over the top.
On divided highways heed the upcoming U-Turn signs, and slow. A tandem trailer, or farm jitney, could be cutting across all three lanes.
Thais love to arrive at the narrowest part of a road simultaneously, and odd coordination of multiple motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses and trains.
Approach level RR crossings carefully

Driving in Bangkok is hardly challenging, traffic moves at what, 6 Kph?
transpac is offline  
Old Sep 6, 19, 11:41 pm
  #13  
 
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 1,500
Originally Posted by transpac View Post
Car insurance here covers damage to the car. It covers any driver. I guess a foreigner could be excluded, no experience here as I've never had an accident, or been stopped by RTP. Occasionally they wave cars through a road station, but again, never been stopped or had to display my DL.

Everything else gets negotiated, in the event of an accident.

Assuming you survive the accident, and the resulting angry crowd attempting to beat you to death (this why most Thais do a runner), and the pick-up truck ride to the hospital, you'll probably have to fork out hundreds of thousands of baht to the police, and anyone else nearby.

No level of insurance will cover everything. Pretty much just repairs to your own car.

I think the IDP is "legal" here, but of course, that is subject to interpretation by the police in any given instance. Many folks say their home country DL is more likely to be acceptable. There may be some caveats re: long-term usage when one should probably get a local license. The fact that you can get an IDP at a post office, or AAA, for a spot of cash doesn't exactly instill confidence. I don't think you can convert an IDP to a Thai DL, but you can convert some country's DLs. I was able to get Thai DLs based on my U.S. State DL.

Yes, I imagine there is a driving code, maybe more than one even? It is hardly relevant. You can root around in the DLT (Department of Land Transportation, part of the Ministry of Transport) site for something.

http://thailaws.com/law/t_laws/tlaw0140_5.pdf


When I renewed my car and motorcycle licenses recently we had to watch a one + hour video. In this video, the drivers did not wear seatbelts, and it mostly dealt with courtesy. Wai to the other driver, etc.

Thais can buy a license quite cheaply. Not so long ago people got lifetime licenses.


The number one rule: Don't hit anything or anyone.

Other advisories...
Avoid driving at night
Avoid driving in inclement weather
Watch out for motorbikes passing on the left, right, approaching on the left and over the top.
On divided highways heed the upcoming U-Turn signs, and slow. A tandem trailer, or farm jitney, could be cutting across all three lanes.
Thais love to arrive at the narrowest part of a road simultaneously, and odd coordination of multiple motorbikes, cars, trucks, buses and trains.
Approach level RR crossings carefully

Driving in Bangkok is hardly challenging, traffic moves at what, 6 Kph?
Under you "other advisories" ... it almost seems like "Avoid Driving" is the best advice !!!! LOL
SQTraveller is offline  
Old Sep 7, 19, 11:10 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Somewhere warm
Posts: 120
The best advice I received about driving in Thailand that has served me well for the last 15 years + driving there is:

1. 100% defensive driving at all times, anticipate that every car/bike/truck will do something unexpected.
2. As a foreigner, you will be "wrong" in any accident that occurs. It doesn't matter if you are not at fault.....you will be responsible.
nzed is offline  
Old Sep 7, 19, 11:17 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Programs: Delta Gold, Alaska Gold 75K, LATAM Black
Posts: 3,273
Originally Posted by Kamalaasaa View Post


5-5-5
5555555
Mauibaby2008 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread