The dreaded annual lemming rush-Songkran

Well its almost that time again when living in Thailand, the preparations are well underway for the annual water fights and soaking, but along with hilarity, fun, excitement comes the dreaded road chaos and carnage which a solution has still to be found….
Its like the Gordian knot, wonder and puzzlement to solve a intriguing problem, though Alexander was supposed to have taken a sword to it, harsh I’d say and not the solution to the current problem at hand. Everyone has had a look at it, from normal people, to ministers, enlightened monks, scholars, academia,  and even us farangs…. there has been stick and carrot methods, massive punishments promised and still the problem gets worse!!
I’m dreading it….. nothing nice about reading of the increased death toll and so many losing loved ones. But how do we stop it? or at lease reduce the numbers being taken for a start?
We seen many changes to laws on Minibuses, and Thai roads are getting better year on year. There’s a drive to reduce the alcohol in the blood for younger drivers, even tv advertisements advising people to take more care, even compulsory seat belt wearing and that is a great step forward…. however there is not just one reason there are many, and all of them have to be tackled.
Helmets on bikes please… a bike in an argument with anything on the road will result one out come. Its a real personal issue, my partners son, if you keep at him every day, might just remember, but the moment you let your guard drop, he’s off on the scooter with out one!!! Not even removing his phone from him for a few days makes any difference or offering a bonus of cash to use a helmet works. I’m dreading that call my partner is likely to get…. Darwin’s theory in action….. so so sad. Yes to get to be old and wise, you do also go through the young and stupid, we have all been there, however circumstances all those years ago were different, in my stupid days, roads were quieter, the obvious brush with the law was another, and I was scared shit less of my dad catching me riding without a lid…. the percentage risk was also much lower.
My pet hate…. driving and using a phone, it has to be the most stupid of stupid things to do. Until it is made either socially unacceptable, and I’m in favor of public flogging for all offenders or fines are so steep (10,000 baht upwards) and loss of phone, then things are never going to change, otherwise its down to car manufactures to not allow the engine to start whilst a phone is on in the car.
Drink driving,…. socially unacceptable in almost every country, its a licence loser in almost every place you care to name. You don’t have to be drunk, just one drink reduces to ability to drive and your reactions are much slower. Responsibility come with us all, if your loved one is drinking don’t let them drive.
Drugs and driving… really its just the same as alcohol, if anything interferes with your ability at the wheel then it must be a 100% no-no. Sure many use drugs to stay awake, and that’s a bad problem. I’d expect most of us have been there at some point driving whilst tired, a special problem for min vans and buses, so if schedules can’t be made more flexible, then there has to be 2 drivers for every trip, with regular rest breaks. Journeys will take longer for sure, but your chances of getting there increase dramatically.
Tailgating…. Having some lunatic on your backside like a bull elephant in full musk! Now that takes a special kind of stupid. Lights flashing, weaving all around, horn honking.. you could train an Orangutan to drive better in 5 minutes. If you had to brake hard, the idiot would not even see your brake lights come on….. This sort of fool, the only solution is to not let them drive… ever!!!
Lane changers or weavers… very common in Thailand, and whilst a bit annoying, the majority are nothing other than a bit impatient. However as we have seen on a few blogs you do get the apprentice dodgem driver, really not funny at all causes chaos all around them…. they are in their own little arcade game bubble. Another that should be parted from the vehicle , and never be seen again. These are sadly the ones you just can’t educate, that have reached their human development stage and that was at 5!
This is not Thai bashing, you will see this type of activity in all countries, the only difference is the death rate…… Elsewhere there is consistency on road traffic law enforcement, and not just fines ( these are handled by courts not police) but actually driving bans, and educational driving courses. Driver training is much better, even in wild Russia ( just watch YouTube).
Controversial bit now…. Remember on your head you have 2 ears… if you are Thai, please learn to use them. If there is my one and only grumble it is that…. You will improve your life by learning how to listen,…. listen not to reply, or not to act, but to listen and only think… it does not mean everything you hear is worth anything, but its a start and you can decide later what will help you and what won’t.
Keep safe over Songkran, its a time for celebrations with loved ones and friends, and just give yourself more time to get to where you want to be. Above all… take care on those roads… if nothing else we want you back reading our blogs after the holidays
About The Author
Volts: Alien, falang, foreigner, overseas guest in the seach of the lighter side of the Thai lifestyle… might not agree with what you say but will accept your right to say it. Age: Old enough to know better

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