Staying safe whilst driving over Songkran
Every year the people of Thailand celebrate the traditional Thai New Year from April 13-15 but can start as early as April 11 and not end until April 17. It starts out with a visit their local temple and their grandparents home to receive blessings dressed in new clothes. Then it is on to the fun part of the Songkran, which is the world’s largest water fight that lasts three days. If you do plan to take place in this water fight and are not from Thailand you will need to carry your passport at all times but it can be photocopies so they are not ruined when they get wet.
Although many people choose to drive during Songkran, it is advisable that you do not. The time of the Songkran is known as the Seven Deadly Days because traffic accidents spike eighty percent during that time.
Since there are so many people on the street during this big water fight and many of the streets will be closed it is important that you remember to stick to the main roads if you are driving. Some other important points to remember if you are driving include:
- Do not wash your car before or during the festival because your car will be plastered with white paste.
- Your windscreen wiper should be topped off with plenty of water because you will be using them often
- Make sure that you keep your doors locked at all times because if you are caught in a traffic jam or stop at a traffic light the people will try to open your doors.
- During the festival and the New Year period many people drink day and night so make sure that you are not drinking and driving. Most of the deaths that occur when drinking and driving or being with someone who is driving drunk occur in the evening and on the side roads
- Drive the speed limit and do not speed because most of the accidents on the main roads are due to speed and drunk drivers.
- Take extra care when you are driving sober and watch out for speeders and other drunk drivers and do not drive too far.
If you are celebrating Songkran in Chiang Mai, you should just plan to walk everywhere you want to because of the bad traffic. If you are celebrating Songkran in Bangkok, it is safer and faster if you use public transportation or taxis. In the Islands, use the traditional Song-Thaew. If you choose to rent a scooter or motorbike, make sure that you wear a helmet at all times. Most will get around on the Thai Islands this way.
If this is your first trip to the Songkran make sure that you have made plans on how to get around during the festival. You could rent a car but it is still best to use public transportation, rent a taxi, use a scooter, or walk. Following these simple rules will make sure you have a safe and enjoyable visit.