Captain Lee from ‘Below Deck’ Shares Interesting Observations About Drivers in Thailand

Being a yachtie means exploring new cultures and customs in a vast number of countries. When Captain Lee Rosbach from Below Deck spent six weeks in Thailand while filming the show last year, he often ventured into the city and local landscape.

Rosbach, who currently resides in South Florida, made one interesting observation about the horrendous traffic in Thailand. Living in crowded South Florida, Rosbach is used to not only the crush of cars racing along the I-95 corridor but also he’s probably also used to the number of angry drivers.

Captain Lee Rosbach
Captain Lee Rosbach |Charles Sykes/Bravo/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Like many congested urban areas, South Florida has a significant road rage problem. So when Rosbach dove into the traffic patterns in Thailand he reports that he was pleasantly surprised about how polite drivers were, even in massive traffic.

Drivers actually let you in

Drivers on many South Florida highways often speed up so that other drivers can’t enter new lanes. But Rosbach said this wasn’t the case in Thailand. 

“You have these horrendous traffic jams. Millions of scooters all over the place,” he told The Sun-Sentinel. “In Thailand, people back off and slow down and let people in. It’s very kind and gracious. Nothing at nothing at all like (Interstate) 95. If there is somebody who had the turn signal and wanted to turn over, they would let me in, not speed up.”

Rosbach added that he was impressed with the people in Thailand too. “The people there are so gracious and so kind. It’s amazing.” 

Polite but dangerous

Although Rosbach observed polite road behavior, travel sites warn that driving in Thailand is not for the faint of heart. Trip Savvy asserted that aggressive driving is commonplace. “Be aware that there are differences in driving etiquette before you get behind the wheel in Thailand. Tailgating and cutting people off is much more common and somewhat acceptable.”

Plus, “Driving around Phuket Island is dangerous,” according to Trip Advisor. “The traffic moves at a constant pace, so as long as you’re aware of your surroundings and drive defensively, you should not have a problem.”

Trip Advisor also added that most drivers are very patient and road savvy. Road rage is also uncommon. In fact, “the most dangerous drivers in Thailand (other than [drunk] drivers) are predominately foreign tourists who can’t ride a motorcycle and quite often will ride two or three abreast, looking at maps, no helmet, completely oblivious to other traffic.”

About those scooters …

Rosbach observed a number of scooters in Thailand, which are more commonplace to see in Thailand than on an American highway. Riding a scooter is extremely dangerous and accidents are abundant.

“If you want to drive a car or ride a motorcycle in Thailand, you’ll need to have absolute nerves of steel to survive emotionally and physically,” according to World Nomads. “The country has an appalling road safety record and there are lots of accidents, despite numerous government safety initiatives over the years.” 

Although riders must have a motorbike license, World Nomads reports that thousands of people still operate motorbikes without one, which is not recommended.