|Subject||Date page reviewed||Date page updated|
|Driving and vehicle rental||21-11-2011||18-05-2009|
There are many places round town to rent the vehicle of your choice, but make sure is it properly insured as if you have an accident, you will be responsible for ALL the costs for repair and loss of business until the vehicle is available to rent again. If you cannot take a Thai friend to read the document, pay a translation service to do it for you.
Remember that the owner will get the vehicle repaired and bill you whatever he says it costs. They will not waste time getting competitive quotes. Downtime will also be charges. If an Accident Bond is offered, take advantage of the offer. Well worth the small extra cost.
In Thailand, there are two types of insurance, class 3 and the Optional EXTRA of Class 1 damage cover. Every vehicle has class 3, to which you have to add class 1 if you want it. Check if the Class 1 covers hire of vehicle. Most "Roadside Operaters" DO NOT have No 1, no matter what they say. Even if they do have No. 1, it may be for Private use and not for a Hired Car.
A "Reputable" company will request a copy of your passport, the Visa page and TM card, plus sight of your driving licence from back home or an international licence. "Sidewalk owners" often insist in holding your passport as surety. Remember that by law, you should have your passport on you at all times, so, if effect, this practice is illegal. Give them a photocopy only.
For peace of mind, go to a known company or choose a company that advertises in the many Newspapers or "Tourist Magazines".
Driving licences: Bring your home Driving Licence or an International Driving Licence with you. You are likely to be stopped and asked to show your Driving Licence and sometime even your ID or Passport. A Driving Licence with photo is often accepted in place of a passport. If you want to apply for a Thai Driving Licence, you will first need an Non-Immigrant Visa before you can start the process, which is simple and you can do yourself.
SAFETY FIRST: Thailand drives on the Left, same as England and Australia. Coupled with the fact that Europeans and Americans drive on the right, makes this a dangerous situation. Thais are not as skilled as we are in driving, but usually more tolerant. But this lack of road skill accounts for some of the reputed 2.3 deaths a DAY on Pattaya's roads. Many tourists are included as they come and rent a bike to impress, and make the wrong impression - Usually in the back of a Noodle wagon that has no lights at night. If you are American or European, a small lapse of concentration and you could drive up the wrong side of the road and kill yourself or someone else. Thais will drive on whichever side of the road they find convenient - not wanting to go all the way to the U-Turn, or too much traffic to cross the road to the correct side.
DRINKING AND DRIVING. Don't! - you will spill it. (Sorry for the old joke!). Seriously, like all countries, there is an alcohol level limit in Thailand. A little known fact that should you get caught and go to court, and because the maximum sentence is Custodial, which means that you will be DEPORTED after you pay your fine or sentence and marked "Persona Non Gratis" on the Immigration list, so can NEVER return. The days of bribing the police are over or VERY VERY expensive.
WHATEVER HAPPENS, YOU ARE IN THE WRONG. Please remember that under most circumstances, whenever there is an accident, YOU are at fault. The precedent was set in the Thai High Court, which ruled that "Had the (farang) driver not been in the country, the accident would never have happened". If you run into someone coming towards you on the wrong side of the road (Normal in Thailand), you are at fault as you were driving without due care and attention.