Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Car crashing in Thailand

20th I drove to Phuket to pick up my laptop. Luckily the techies had managed to save most of my data from the protected hard drive so I could be a happy camper again. The official diagnose was a faulty RAM chip. On the way back I had a misfortune to collide with a motorbike.

Not this bad though...

I was cruising on a straight double carriage road abt 80km/h and at one point I met a motorbike that just turned in front of me. As soon as I realized that they are turning to right over the road I slammed my brakes and veered to left. By this I managed to avoid a frontal crash but the motorbike did not stop or try to avoid us so they hit my right rear tire. I could see people flying like ragdolls in my rear mirror. Because of the impact I swerved 90 degrees to starboard and stopped in the middle of the road. The engine died at the same time, I just pressed the clutch to roll back a bit in order not to be in the way of other oncoming traffic.

Once off the road I got out of the car to survey what had happened I discovered 3 youths lying on the road with minor scratches and torn clothes. I had actually stopped in front of a road rescue station so I asked Jira to ask them to call for the police and her to call for the Insurance Company. The rescue people loaded the 3 boys in a car and sped them away to hospital to be checked.

After awhile a constable arrived on a motorbike to take the initial reports and photos of the scene. I checked the motorbike myself, it was a total loss. The rear drive gear had split against the road surface and my rear tyre. I had bits of metal in my flat rear tyre too as well as dents on the whole right aft portion. After a couple of hours the Insurance Company guy arrived to the location and took his photos of the scene. I drew up a picture of what happened and Jira wrote it in Thai. Once we had our tyre changed we headed for the local police station to sign their reports.

It turned out that the 3 boys and the whole kin was there too. They requested Jira if we could handle our repairs so they would handle their repairs. We said it was ok on our behalf. We learned that the boys were only 15yrs old and had borrowed the motorbike that was only 2 days old. The father of the boy that had driven was ashen probably due to the extra expense of having to buy a new motorbike. The boys came and apologized to us in person for their reckless driving. I told them they were lucky today. After awhile we were called in by the head sergeant of the station and he read th law for the boys and their parents as they were still minors under Thai law. The boy got a 400THB fine for driving without a license.

After everybody had signed the police report we were given permission to leave. We arrived home late in the evening.

This was my first real crash in my life and it was in a sense scary as I could not control the events in any way as the boys on the motorbike had other things to do than look at the oncoming traffic so they almost acted like a person jumping in front of a train. Luckily the result was not the same and no fatalities occurred. I just hope they learned a valuable lesson.

The Thai traffic statistics are terrible reading, the fatalities in a year goes to thousands and the accidents to tens of thousands, all mostly due to drunk driving, underage driving and speeding. It seems at times that Thais start driving a motorbike when they can reach the handlebars and the parents allow them(!). No wonder accidents happen.
One never knows how your day will turn out when you wake up in the morning.

No comments: