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Phuket Opinion: Leaving it to your imagination

PHUKET: This is an opinion piece, however, I want to re late a true incident that happened to me last week and which I believes sums up why Phuket taxi drivers have the reputation they do. For any government officials who might happen to read this, and surely already know this, their reputation is far from good.

opinion, tourism, transport, police,

The Phuket News

Sunday 9 July 2017, 09:00AM

If there is one number you might need to remember while on holiday in Phuket, this could be it. Photo: The Phuket News /file
If there is one number you might need to remember while on holiday in Phuket, this could be it. Photo: The Phuket News /file

I was taking my six-year-old son to school last Wednesday morning (June 28) as is usual procedure every school day. I use a motorbike as I prefer to leave the car with my wife as she has to pick our son up every afternoon and she is not as comfortable as I am with riding a bike, and I am happier for her to be in the car when picking up my son. Purely for their safety.

I was heading along Pattana Rd approaching the Wirat Hongyok Rd intersection, planning to go straight through.

As I passed the stop line for the traffic lights there was still three seconds left before the lights were to change to amber. I happened to notice that a taxi was also approaching from the opposite side of the junction. However, he was some 20-30 metres away from the stop line, so I believed he would stop.

This was not to be the case. Rather than slowing down to stop, he went full throttle, went through the lights, at the last second indicating that he was turning right.

This taxi driver’s actions forced me to suddenly brake to an emergency stop to avoid crashing into him and forcing my son to slam into the back of me, as he was riding pillion behind me.

British International School, Phuket

Luckily, it was a dry morning and I was able to stop. Had it been wet, I’m 100% sure myself, my son and my bike would have slid either into or under his vehicle.

I would like to make it clear that I have lived here long enough to know not to react to situations like this, especially when they involve taxi drivers.

I’m sure most residents would understand why. I will also give the driver the benefit of the doubt that when he made this life-threatening manoeuvre he was unaware my son was behind me.

But what I cannot accept is what he did next. He half made his right turn, stopped his Mitsubishi Pajero at a 45-degree angle to the road, wound down his window, laughed and at the same time shouted “f*#k you”.

I knew better than to retaliate, but maybe some people here don’t. If I had, I dread to think what situation that would have led to. But I will leave that up to your imagination.



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Jor12 | 12 July 2017 - 08:24:52

Christy...according to the posts here, that never happens?

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Christy Sweet | 11 July 2017 - 08:08:22

 Seems measures meant for "safety" like sudden police road blocks on highways where vehicles are doing 100 kph are also hazardous.  So is the sudden blocking off of a right lane to facilitate wide U turns. There's a real lack of logic in these practices. 

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malczx7r | 11 July 2017 - 00:20:02

I too am looking for somewhere else to live as I've had enough of the taking your life into your own hands whenever you venture out, though it's not in your hand's it's in the life of the other drivers!

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LEAVINGTLND | 10 July 2017 - 07:36:20

This is exactly why I am leaving Thailand. There are laws, yet not one single bit of enforcement, unless you consider police roadblocks enforcement. 

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Foot | 10 July 2017 - 06:29:04

-->  Discover Thainess.  What many don't understand is these drivers are the authorities.  There is no one that enforces the rules besides them.  It must be remembered who is really in charge.

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SueOriginal | 09 July 2017 - 19:57:37

This is part of everyday life and deep-rooted culture, that can not and will be not extinguished short term.

From personal point of view the one can take steps to mitigate such risks, first, by the mean, spending less time on the roads of Phuket, i.e. moving less by better planning roots,,and fusing venues in close proximity, and second, opting for more impact resisting vehicles, i.e. heavier ones, like SUVs.
Not much else you can do, as whatever your driving skills and sharp reactions, blatant disregard to traffic rules and common sense while on road, will generally prevail over individual vehicles that happened to cross their way.

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Noquarter | 09 July 2017 - 16:24:02

Many taxi, van and tuk tuk drivers are same in Phuket. 

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CaptainJack69 | 09 July 2017 - 14:01:25

Your permissiveness in this incident is understandable, especially since (I presume) you are Caucasian. Being "just a farang" means in situations like that you will always lose.

What I can't so easily accept is the absolute permissiveness of the general Thai population. Every day in traffic here I see people doing things that are so dangerous as to warrant police intervention, and local drivers simply allowing it without a hint of complaint. It's entirely BECAUSE their culture teaches them to be so, I can only use the word 'weak' here, that thugs and bullies like the one you met think they can do what-ever they like.

To be constructive, if you're going to be riding in traffic a lot, I hope you invest in a small action camera and mount it to your helmet. Footage like that would be huge on YouTube, and as we've seen many times recently, it takes videos going viral on the internet to push the authorities into taking any action.

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Discover Thainess | 09 July 2017 - 11:46:14

I am sure most of your readers have similar experiences daily on the roads of phuket, and it's such a shame that these people believe this is the way to behave in a civilised society. Just recently, outside starbucks on beach road in Patong, I stopped for two minutes to drop my elderly disabled mother off for a coffee and whilst helping her walk across the pavement we were descended on my a pack of what I can only describe as savages shouting that I couldn't park there. Even shouting at my elderly mother. It's an absolute disgrace, certainly the authorities should enforce laws and ensure these taxi drivers cannot do whatever they want, but also a civilised society should also not allow these people
To behave as they do. Families, friends, colleagues should all help each other to behave nicely to their fellow man. It should be a national shame to Thai Society.

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marcher | 09 July 2017 - 11:10:01

Waste of print space. Everyday type of happening in Phuket

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