Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adventures in Crossing the Street

Thailand makes the third country for Terry and I with right hand drive. The driving part of things has not been too much of a challenge for us to date. In the past two and almost a half months, ye we are nearing the half way point, we have only chosen to 'hire' cars abut five times. Those five times have been in Australia exclusively as the bus and train systems were not adequate enough for us to get to many of the sights we wanted to see. I think the big advantage of starting late with driving was walking in a world of right hand drive for a period before driving. the walking was what we had to work at adjusting to the most.

Growing up in a country with left hand drive causes you to develop certain patterns of crossing the street. Think about this for a moment as you don't really think about crossing the street you just do it. When you cross the street at home which way do you look first? Yes, that's right, you look left first and step off the curb. Looking left first, seeing no cars and stepping off can get you killed in a right hand drive world. So for the past two months we have been re[eating the mantra, :look right first," then comes Thailand. Now Thailand is not that different from most right hand drive countries it just adds a new dimension, the motorcycle.

We had already learned that most countries give the driver the right of way over the pedestrian, so being cautious and patient is key. But the motorcycle of Thailand is a whole different game. Even when you have been patient and cautious and look to the right first you can still encounter the motorcycle from an unexpected dimension, yes dimension. The motorcycle could be coming inside two lanes of traffic. It could have been on the inside lane when you first looked but switched to the outside lane. It could be coming from the left instead of the right, it could make a uturn right after it passed you. Just because all the traffic is completely stopped is no indication that there will be no motorcycle coming towards you. And, yes ladies and gentlemen, even when there is complete gridlock you can encounter the motorcycle, as we have several times, on the sidewalk! Here´s looking all directions in Thailand. Wes

No comments:

Post a Comment