Sam Thompson

Bangkok road rage

Nutters can be anywhere at any time.


Generally, one of the top questions I get asked from people who have never visited Thailand is: is it safe? They automatically assume that, because Thailand is still considered (by some sources) to be a third-world country, it must be at least a bit dangerous.

But my answer is always the same: In my few years in Thailand, I have never once felt unsafe anywhere in our outside of Bangkok... which is a lot more than can be said of various places I've lived in the US. I've always felt secure in Thailand.

Until yesterday.

My girlfriend and I were on the way back from a music venue in a taxi around midnight, and apparently our taxi driver changed lanes too quickly as we approached the well-known [traffic nightmare] Ratchayothin intersection and cut up the driver of a BMW.

It being a red light, the driver of this car jumped out, in the middle of the road, and started waving around something resembling a big iron bar, yelling at the taxi driver and hitting the car with his hand. When his accompanying lady in his passenger seat yelled something to the effect of "That other taxi is filming you," the crazed young Thai guy ran and started threatening the taxi next to us, waving around his iron and beating on the taxi's windows. He then ran back to ours, glaring at us in the back seat as I tried to calm myself and my girlfriend, shouted more, jumped back in his car, and sped off.

Then began the chase. Luckily, we were close to home, so we quickly paid our taxi driver, who used the opportunity to open his boot and pull out what looked like another large piece of metal, and he sped off with the other involved taxi to chase this lunatic. What's with Thai drivers carrying around big pieces of metal? I guess it's better than guns...

My point of all this is, no matter how safe you think you are, you've always got to watch out for crazy people. I have no doubt drugs were involved; this was a young guy driving a Beemer, so you know money wasn't an issue. I certainly hope no harm came to the taxi drivers.

Will my answer change about feeling safe in Thailand? Absolutely not; this is the first time anything of this nature has happened to me in Thailand, and obviously, crazy people aren't specific to Thailand. I've lived in places like Atlanta where these kinds of events are commonplace.

That said, I'd say that everyone should follow the advice most likely given to them as children: be careful, and stay safe!




Comments

I agree with the subtitle. Nutters can be anywhere at any time. I once had a rock thrown at my car in San Francisco, denting it, after I had the audacity to honk my horn at an elderly woman who was having a really hard time parallel parking her car. The rock came from her son who was standing on the sidewalk with a crazy look in his eyes.
HOW DARE YOU HONK AT MY MOMMA!?!?
I was about to get out of the car and confront this guy for damaging my Infiniti C30, but my wife held me back and said, "no."

By Joko, Yangon (25th August 2014)

Thailand is not a magical country where everyone smiles and loves each other.

I feel very safe here but Thais are human beings with feelings and emotions, too. It's very easy to feel too safe. I like the whole smiling and being nice to each other - but it's not a practical system. There is no perfect system anywhere.


I was in a taxi once and my driver honked at the taxi in front 'cos he didn't move forward when the light turned green. We drove around the corner and the taxi in front stopped abruptly. The driver in front got out with a huge machete and waved it like a man man. My taxi driver just sped off while I had my head shaking in my hands in utter disbelief at how stupid and trivial the whole incident was.

A smile and kind words go a long way. But in a country like Thailand, you need to judge people more on their actions.

My boss could smile his way out of a murder charge - and at the same time he'll lie, cheat and steal from the new foreign teachers who will say "I'm just so lucky to have this job"

By Liam Gallagher, Republik of Mancunia (25th August 2014)

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