My motorcycle mechanic is a Thai fellow in Chiangrai who rents out motorcycles. He's expressed concern about people who rent his bikes who don't realize the particular riding hazards in Thailand, so I wrote up a document for him to print and use. I thought it might be helpful for anyone who has contact with riders who are inexperience in riding in Thailand. I'll copy the document below. I have it in Microsoft Word format also, but don't see anyway to attach a document. Feel free to make copies. Recommendations For Safe Motorcycle Driving in Thailand Thailand now has the 3rd highest rate of traffic deaths in the world. Part of the reason for this is the high rate of hard alcohol consumption (4th highest in the world); another reason is the easy-going attitude of most Thai people that leads to careless driving. Poor driver-education is another factor, as is the relatively strong economy that leads to many people having their own transportation vehicle, so there’s often a lot of traffic. The following is a list of recommendations for safe driving in Thailand, especially for those who are renting motorcycles or have not driven in Thailand for very long. (1) Always wear a helmet. Most serious motorcycle injuries are head injuries, and a helmet is therefore the most important piece of riding gear; it can save your life. Be sure to strap it on firmly, so that it doesn’t come off in the event of an accident. (2) Pay attention. It’s important to always be watching the road ahead, and checking to see if any vehicles are coming out of side streets. Check your rear view mirror at times. Don’t get distracted by interesting things on the side of the road; accidents have happened when riders have done this. (3) It’s wise to drive more slowly than you do in your home country, as Thailand’s roads are full of obstacles - lots of dogs roam free, motorcyclists commonly shoot out of side roads onto main roads without looking first to see if any vehicles are coming, and roads often have potholes or uneven surfaces. On two occasions, I’ve come around a corner on a country road and encountered a herd of cattle in the middle of the road. Both times I was barely able to stop in time. (4) Be especially careful at intersections. Most accidents happen at intersections. It’s not uncommon for vehicles to run red lights, especially shortly after the light has turned red. Traffic lights in Thailand are typically timed very long, so people will run through the light so they don’t have to wait several minutes. (5) Braking: We recommend that you use both the front and rear brakes when you brake. Be especially careful to not squeeze the front brake lever suddenly; you should squeeze the lever gradually so that it takes a full second to reach the full braking point. If the front brake lever is squeezed hard and suddenly, it can cause the motorcycle to skid and crash, or even to flip forward. When approaching a curve, you should brake to slow the motorcycle down before entering the curve, go through the curve at a slow, safe speed, and then you can begin to accelerate as you come out of the curve. If you find it necessary to brake when you’re already in the curve, you should primarily use the rear brake; using only the front brake can easily lead to skidding and crashing. You can use the front brake along with the rear brake if you are careful to squeeze the lever gently. (6) Also be careful in blind curves (where you can’t see far ahead). It’s not wise to take a blind curve as fast as the motorcycle can safely go through it, because you don’t know what’s up ahead. There could be a dog, cows, an accident, a truck driving VERY slowly, or a vehicle coming toward you. Many Thai drivers will pass in blind curves, or will cut the corner when going through a curve, so it’s common that as you come around a curve you’ll find yourself heading toward a vehicle coming toward you that has crossed over into your lane. If you ride in the left side of the lane to avoid possible oncoming vehicles in your lane, then you have the danger of gravel. On country roads, gravel sometimes accumulates on the side of the road, and sometimes it comes into the outside (left side) of the road’s lane. Hitting gravel when leaning a motorcycle in a curve can easily cause the rider to lose control and crash the motorcycle. (7) Exercise caution if you need to ride in rain. Braking distance increases significantly on wet pavement, so you should drive more slowly. If the rain is obscuring your vision, it can help to raise the visor of your helmet to enable you to see ahead better. (8) It’s better not to drive at night outside of towns and cities, unless you’re an experienced rider and use caution. Most motorcycle headlights do not shine very far ahead, so obstacles ahead are more difficult to see. Statistics show that most serious traffic accidents in Thailand occur between 6 and 9 p.m., when there’s a lot of traffic but poor visibility. (9) If you need to go down a long, steep hill, you should not use the motorcycle’s brakes continually. This can cause the brakes to overheat and fail to work. Find a gear that’s good for the speed you want to go, and then ride in gear, letting the engine help brake the motorcycle, and only use the motorcycle’s brakes intermittently.