The problems of the lady driver

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Dear Hillary,

I have just recently come to live in Pattaya with my husband on a two year overseas posting. Normally back home I like to be fairly independent and drive myself everywhere, but I am a little afraid of the traffic here. My husband’s company supplies a driver, but I don’t like to think of him sitting around in the heat while I do my shopping. Do you think it is safe enough for Western women to drive here and at night too? Timid Theresa.

Dear Timid Theresa,

Your husband is right. If you have a driver be eternally grateful. Thai drivers really do not mind waiting. One of the bonuses of being a driver is that they get paid to sleep while they wait. Yes it is completely safe to drive around Pattaya both day and night compared to Bangkok traffic which is chaotic and not so much fun, as long as you have insurance for the odd bump and scrape. Though, as your husband says, why bother to drive if you have a driver? That is what he is there for. If you are concerned about your independence or the driver being suddenly unavailable, then practice driving here so there’s never a problem. And think yourself lucky you’re not in the Middle East, where women are not allowed to drive.