Thailand road hazards

THéo COurant

Travelling around South East Asia


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Thailand road hazards

Every year, it’s the same story. Indeed, every year Thailand stands out for the very high number of deaths on the road.

Thai festivals and road deaths

Songkran is one of Thailand’s most popular traditional festivals, but it is also a time when many road accidents occur. So, in 2018 (the reference year before the pandemic), one number is mostly remembered: 191.
191 is the number of people killed on the road during the first 4 days of the festival. In addition, there were 1,808 people injured. In 2017, for the entire Songkran period, in 7 days, there were 322 deaths and 3,225 injuries.


These statistics are a sad Thai reality. Indeed, Thailand is the 3ᵉ country in the world with the most road deaths. Only Eritrea and Libya are ahead of Thailand… but these countries are not tourist countries.

To understand the horror of these statistics, just compare the number of deaths in France which in 2014 was 3388 people and Thailand with over 16,000 deaths for the same period.
It should be noted that the total population of France and Thailand are very close. Below, we have made a synthesis of 3 countries - France, Thailand, Brazil - these data are from a study conducted by the World Health Organization.

Fatal accidents between 3 countries

Number of deaths per 100 000 inhabitants38.16.422.5
By motorbike73.5%23.9%24.8%
By bicycle3%3.7%4.2%

These statistics show that the main victims in Thailand are motorcyclists. It should be noted that helmets are not always worn. In addition, the consumption of alcohol or drugs, the non-use of seat belts, the use of mobile phones and above all speeding contribute to a high rate of death on the road.

From time to time the authorities seem determined to enforce the basic rules of road safety, but their motivation fades very quickly. No major prevention campaign has been implemented for years. The statistics are very important every year and do not shock many people.

Driving in Thailand

Driving in Thailand is dangerous and requires special attention. The best advice is obviously to wear a helmet when renting a motorbike or a scooter. And above all to be vigilant whether as a driver, a passenger or simply a pedestrian. Just because there is a pedestrian crossing or a traffic light giving you priority does not mean that you have priority. The bigger one wins, the smaller one gets out of the way…

To better understand this issue of road safety from a global perspective, you can follow this very well done link. It is an interactive map on the number of deaths, causes, etc :