Songkran road deaths are way down this year!
Songkran, in case you don't know what it is, is a massive country-wide celebration that rings in the Thai new year. I do not pretend to know why they choose this time of year but I would imagine that it has something to do with Lunar cycles - someone correct me on this if I am wrong.
What it really means though is that people get a bunch of time off work and go outside and have a nationwide water-war. It really is a lot of fun
The problem with a lot of this is that just like with any holiday in most places around the world, there is normally a lot of drinking involved as well. I know that there is for me. Also, one of the major traditions of this is to bring the people from the outlying villages into the cities in pickup trucks loaded up with kids and water barrels and they do "drive by's" in the crowded areas throwing water at people standing on the sides of the road.
What could possibly go wrong when you mix wet roads, distracted drivers, and alcohol together?
Every year this festival results in hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries and in my mind it kind of boggles the mind that a festival that is basically guaranteed to kill hundreds of people over the course of days would be allowed in any country - but it is. I presume it is mostly because the government could tell the people they aren't allowed to do this but they would do it anyway.
I recall a story someone told me about a beach area where the officials blocked off the popular "ring road" that vehicles traditionally would do loops for hours on and angry locals got out of their pickup trucks, argued with the officials and then burned their little "checkpoint Charlie" booth and gate to the ground. I don't know if this is true or not, but it does sound like something that would happen.
This holiday is a massive tradition and not even the fact that it is the deadliest week on the roads in a country that already had extremely dangerous roads is enough of a deterrent for the population. I don't drive on these days but I also have the good fortune of living within biking distance of where a big part of the party happens.
trust me when I say that there are far more gruesome images I could have chosen than this one
This year many of the official parties across the country have been "cancelled" because of yet another Covid outbreak (so they say) but when I tell you that people are going to celebrate this not matter what, I mean it. There are plenty of revelers out in the streets despite the media's claim otherwise. Why they would lie about this is beyond me, since every single Thai person can simply look out their doors and see that the news is definitely lying.
On the first day of Songkran a mere 357 accidents occurred and a mere 30 deaths. This figure alone would be enough to force the festival to be called off in most western countries but here in Thailand this is actually a dramatic reduction in deaths (except for last year where people actually were forced to stay in bc of covid.)
For example, in 2019 the week-long festival had 3,442 people injured and 386 dead total. Of course you can't really trust this statistic because the government is known for not being exactly forthcoming over here and the media is not allowed to do any reporting that is not approved by the government.
So if these trends continue we may actually see a drop in nearly 100 dead people this year and while I realize that death is no joking matter, it is a little bit funny to me that so many people irresponsibly deal with this holiday when there is a really good chance that if you are Thai there has been at least one distant family member that has died because of the holiday... yet everyone still participates in it.