Friday, October 5, 2012

What the Thai motorcycle test should consist of

As I mentioned in my previous post the Thai practical motorcycle test consists of driving around a short course with a slalom, a few corners and two stop signs. This does not, in any way, test your ability to survive on Thailand's roads!

This blog will prepare you much better; or put you off entirely which is probably the safest option anyway.

The test I would make prospective drivers take is as follows:

Practical Test 1 - Driving down the wrong side of the road. Simply drive a little bit slower than normal and keep to the far side of the wrong side, if you know what I mean. Beware of other people coming towards you at night time on your side of the road with no lights on. Stealth mode as it's known in Thailand is perfectly acceptable if you are too poor or lazy to get your lights fixed.

Practical Test 2 - Motorway driving

This test will involve the examiner riding on the back of your bike while you weave in and out between cement trucks, lorries and other traffic without slowing down. You will be required to drive in the left hand lane to demonstrate your ability to avoid the cars and other bikes pulling out of side streets without looking and veering wildly across several lanes. Or sometimes pulling out in front of fast moving traffic and driving really slowly.

You will be required to demonstrate your ability not to swear and make rude hand gestures at the people who cut you off or nearly run you off the road. Keep a calm head at all times as road rage attacks are common here and have been known to result in shootings and stabbings.

Written Test - Sample questions from the section on signalling. Three questions to answer.

1 - The car in front of you is signalling left and slowing down. Do they intend to
a) Turn left.
b) Continue driving slowly and signalling left indefinitely
c) Pull out back into traffic and speed up
d) I don't know

2 - The car in front is driving in two lanes and signalling right. Do they intend to
a) Move into the right hand lane
b) Move into the left hand lane
c) Continue driving in two lanes indefinitely
d) I don't know

3 - The car in front has their hazard lights on but are still driving in the middle of three lanes. Are they
a) Experiencing a mechanical fault and signalling their intention to pull over and stop.
b) Carrying a heavy load and mistakenly think having their hazard lights on is the right thing to do
c) Drunk and have hit the hazard light button while hunting for their lighter
d) I don't know

The correct answer to all three questions is I don't know. Never ever trust signals in Thailand. People here think they're just pretty flashing lights used for decoration.

I'd also introduce a psychological, Catch 22 style test. You will have to prove you are sane before you are allowed to drive on Thailand's roads. The catch is that by wanting to drive here you are automatically pronounced insane and therefore unfit to drive. Everyone goes back to riding bicycles and we all get fitter, and die from heat exposure/skin cancer instead of high speed impact. Shut up about the economy, bicycles save the planet man.

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