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Safe Highway U-Turns – ‘If U Don’t Know, Don’t Go’!

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Safe Highway U-Turns – ‘If U Don’t Know, Don’t Go’!




Anyone who has spent time on the roads of Thailand would have seen an ‘Accident Ahead’ sign which probably resulted in a wry smile; understanding this is a hazard warning rather than a dire prediction.


However U-Turns on major highways are a real predictor of an awaiting accident. Negotiating U-turns on the highways of Thailand have a major impact on the horrific road fatality statistics of the Kingdom. Thailand’s already dismal road safety record sank to new lows over the 2017 New Year holiday as more than 400 people lost their lives in traffic accidents. In all, 426 people died on Thailand’s road between December 29th and January 3rd up from 340 for same period last year.


Featuring as the world’s second highest country (behind Libya) for road fatalities per head of population, means that almost three people die on Thailand’s roads every hour. Road safety remains one of Thailand’s greatest public health challenges. As far as we are aware there are no specific statistics about fatalities or other serious crashes relating to highway U-Turns, but it’s a fair guess to say they are very significant. With underpasses or overpasses being few and far between in our region, getting to your destination on the other side of a highway means negotiating a U-Turn.


A prime example is the highway between Hua Hin and Cha-Am. Frequent commuters on this stretch of six lane highway will know this as a relatively straight road with a good surface. At last count there were 14 designated U-Turns from the airport overpass heading north until Cha-Am. That means 14 ‘accident ahead’ zones with far too many crashes on this main link between the two towns. With continuing growth of condo and resort developments on both sides of this highway so the hazards increase. Imagine if (or when) 6,500 vehicles from ‘The Energy’ returning to Bangkok all need to make a U-Turn after a holiday weekend!


So Why Are U-Turns So Dangerous?


This is because there is a genuine risk of the vehicle making the turn being hit by on-coming traffic. Not only being hit, but being hit at speed! Crashes in built-up areas at low speeds still have risks to life and limb, but when vehicles on highways are travelling at speeds well in excess of the 90 km per hour legal limit, crashes are likely to result in disaster. The highway U-Turn is an unfamiliar traffic hazard for many foreign drivers to carefully consider. In line with an April televised message from the Prime Minister suggesting that more information be provided about how to stay safe on Thai road rather than just dwelling on the problems; here are some of the ways you can consider U-Turn safety.


The Golden Rule Unless you are absolutely sure that you can complete the U-Turn in safety, Don’t Go! Do you really know what’s coming?

With U-Turn lanes usually accommodating traffic travelling in both directions, clear vision of oncoming vehicles may be blocked when both turning lanes are occupied. Additionally vehicles may be in the ‘shadow’ of a vehicle in another lane. Clearly seeing oncoming vehicles is not always easy but vital. If you can’t see what is coming there is no choice but to wait, despite the urging of those behind you. Becoming a ‘lane creeper’ means there’s every chance that a vehicle which has not adopted a defensive mode will be unable to avoid impact on the way through. Arrival time of oncoming vehicles.


Full Story: http://www.huahintoday.com/local-news/safe-highway-u-turns-u-dont-know-dont-go/

-- © Copyright Hua Hin Today 2017-6-14
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BANGKOK 23 April 2018 12:34