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Bredbury Blue

Passed Thai Driving Licence Test (colour-blindness)

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I am posting this to give a bit of hope and encouragement to all fellow colour-blind folk who are worried about the taking the Thai Driving Licence Test which includes a colour-blind test.

 

I passed the driving tests and have a driving licence for the UK and Australia, and been I’ve been driving for over 30 years in the UK, Australia but mainly in Thailand.

How have I been driving in Thailand without passing the Thai driving test and getting a Thai licence? Well by using my UK licence with an International driving permit (IDP). Every year I have applied by post to The Automobile Association (The AA) in the UK for an IDP. I have been doing this as I am a *colour-blind, and in order to get a Thai Driving Licence it is necessary to take a colour-blindness test which I thought may or may not fail so better not to take the risk.

*Colour blindness, also known as colour vision deficiency, is the decreased ability to see colour or differences in colour. In my case I have decreased ability to see differences in colour. I am a Strong Protan (Protans are people with protanomaly, a type of red-green color blindness in which the red cones do not detect enough red and are too sensitive to greens, yellows, and oranges. As a result, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns). Just as well I’m a Man City supporter then!

As a result, greens, yellows, oranges, reds, and browns may appear similar, especially in low light. It can also be difficult to tell the difference between blues and purples, or pinks and grays. Red and black might be hard to tell apart, especially when red text is against a black background.

Just to clarify that when driving I have absolutely no trouble distinguishing red / yellow (amber) / green traffic lights or warning lights, yellow / white / blue car headlights, etc., and I have never had any trouble with colours when driving. I do have a problem though distinguishing shades of colours and/or certain colours. I see all the colours, but I will see each one slightly differently to the those with normal colour vision.

This annual palaver of sending away for an IDP finished recently. I needed to apply for my new annual IDP, but when I looked at the AA’s website to download the IDP application forms I was shocked to read it says, "The way you apply for an IDP has changed – we can't issue any IDPs at all (including by post or at our Folkestone / Eurotunnel shop) after 31 January 2019". Damn!

As I need to be able to drive here for work and leisure, I therefore had no choice but to bite the bullet and go take the Thai Driving Test.

I got all the information I needed about the Test from various websites. I found this webpage gave me most information I needed https://www.expatden.com/thailand/thai-driving-license/

Armed with all the documents and photocopies I needed, the wife (Thai) and I arrived at The Department of Land Transport (Sukhumvit 62) at around 8.30am – not sure when the office opened for the day, but it was busy already.

We joined the queue to the main information desk. They checked my documents (a very brief check), told me to sign each photocopy of my documents, gave me a form (for the officials to fill in) and a queue ticket.

Next step was to go to a counter window to have my documents properly checked and another form given – all my paperwork was stapled together – and then I was sent opposite to the ‘Physical Test’ room (that’s what it said above the door).

The ‘Physical Test’ room was pretty full, ok it was absolutely full. Lady at the entrance counted people in to the room in groups of about 10 and then we did the tests together – no privacy in Thailand. She explained the tests in Thai, then after the Thai speakers did the test and moved on to the next test, she explained the tests in English to two Indians, another farlang and me.

First test station machine has two tests:

1. Depth Perception Test – Sit and press a green button to align a moving pin with one that is in a fixed position, in a small box, that is set around ten meters away for the seat. Bloody difficult and a bit of a joke. I was asked to do it a second time and was helped by the Indian lady, who was stood next to the box, speaking out an involuntary voice “a little bit more”, so I pressed the button one more time – perfect.

2. Reflex Test - Applicants take a seat behind a simulated brake pedal and accelerator pedal and push the accelerator until the green LED lights on the panel in front of them start to light up. The red light comes on and you hit the brake pedal before the LED lights enter the red zone. Very easy for anyone who drives.

3. Next up was the Peripheral Test. Applicants need to put their head on a test station (a desk with an indent for your chin so that your eyes are on level with the desk top), pointing their eyes ahead to an official. Then, you are required tell the exact traffic colour light which comes on, on your left or right side, without moving the eyes. THIS WILL BE VERY DIFFICULT IF YOU ARE COLOUR-BLIND! You are supposed to look straight ahead and see the colours that appear either side of you without moving your head or your eyes. The colours that came up are just red, yellow and green. When I sat to do the test, I found I had no problem with green (I found it to be a very bright green so no problem for me) but I struggled to see the red (it didn’t seem very bright to me). If you are not colour-blind this will all seem very strange to you no doubt. First colour up I got wrong. In a way this was good as the tester official and my wife both seemed unsure if I understood the test – I did, I was just struggling with it – and both started explaining it to me again which gave me a moment to get my head together after my first mistake. We started again AND AMAZINGLY I GOT ALL COLOURS THAT CAME UP CORRECT – LUCKY BASTARD! Seriously I was really struggling and taking as long as I could to try and work out each colour. I was also cheating a little by flicking my eyes to the side to get a better look at the colour and getting berated by the tester official and my wife for not keeping my eyes looking forward – simply put, if I hadn’t taken a quick look sideways to get a better view I would probably not have passed.

There is one more test. On the wall in the Physical Test Room there was one of those colour-charts made up of different coloured dots in which colours display a number (an Ishihara test). I’d got the wife to test me the night before and did no better than 50/50 on all the different colours she picked and asked me to name. So, I was dreading having to do this colour-blind test – the official picks random coloured dots and you have to name the colour – so I was so relieved when I was NOT asked to do this test. Phew!

I was then told it was over, I had passed, go to the queue room to have my photo and get my licence; no sitting through any driving instruction videos required. 

I was convinced I was going to fail that bloody colour-blindness test, have to retake it again and again until I passed, but I got my Thailand Driving Licence (Temporary) which is valid for 2 years.

When I go back in 2 years to change the Temporary licence in to a 5-year licence, apparently, I will have to do the same tests again – the dreaded colour-blindness tests all over again. I think I was lucky to get through it this time and would say I am 50/50 to get through it next time, but I understand it is possible to get corrective glasses for colour-blindness from Enchroma in the USA ( https://enchroma.com/collections/indoor ) or Pilestone in the UK ( https://pilestone.co.uk/collections/colour-blind-glasses) and contact lenses from Colormax (https://colormax.org/), and while they are pricey, as I need to be able to pass this bloody test, I will check out the contact lenses (it may be that glasses may need to be removed for the Thai Driving Licence tests) sometime during the coming 2 years to see if they work fully or help at all.

I contacted Enchroma to enquire about their glasses, their reply:

“We do ship to Thailand and offer free shipping, all you would need to do though is prepay for import fees and customs taxes.

Color blindness is such an individual thing that we are unable to say with 100% certainty if our technology will be able to assist with a potential customer's color vision - results do vary and they work for 80% of the customers who try them overall.

We have a 60 day return policy on all of our glasses which starts the day the glasses are shipped out to you. So, you may return the glasses back for any reason within those 60 days for a full refund back…”

 

Well I hope the above helps my colour-blind brothers and sisters and good luck to you if you have to get a Thai Driving licence. Any questions, PM me.

 

 

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I am on my third Thai licence, the 1 year (now 2 year), the 5 year and now another 5 year. Each time I only passed the colour test with help from other applicants, all falangs, who whispered the colour to me as it was being pointed at, otherwise there is no way I would have passed. There is no way to fake a colour test, you either see the colour or you don't.

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Well done, glad it worked out for you !

When I did my test first time i had no problem but an older Thai gentleman was definitely struggling with the colours, his wife shuffled up to his side really slowly as if no one would notice if she went slow [emoji848]

They gave the old fella another go and sure enough his wife prompted him by saying the colours out of the side of her mouth, i was almost crying with laughter it was like the worst ventriloquist act you had ever seen [emoji23][emoji23]

But, all the Thais watching leaned forward with the excitement of it all !! , there was a deathly silence in the room only broken by a big cheer from the crowd when the tester official nodded in acceptance and I couldn’t help but join in with the cheer !!

It was an amazing scene of cheeting and solidarity in one act !! [emoji23][emoji23]

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My God......did we really need this?

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Thanks , that is very interesting for us colour blind people. I am encouraged to go and try the test.

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I am not colour blind but cannot folk who are learn at home what colour red green and yellow looks like to them and attach red green or yellow to the colour they see, or perhaps it doesn't work like that...🤔

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I have slight problems with my left eye. When I took the test for my 5 year licence in January I reported green as blue. The lady conducting the test merely said: "Silly man, is green!" She then handed me my pass certificate.

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I too am colour blind, particularly reds, greens, and shades of blue. This was how I passed the test in Cha-Am last November.

Went to the centre and filed all the papers. We all went upstairs for the test, and same as the Op, we were lined up along one wall with the brake test machine, and circle of dots on the wall. The lack of privacy was actually my saviour. When I looked at the chart, all I could see was about five shades of dots, ranging from black to light grey, and white. As the people in front of me were doing the test I watched which dot he pointed at, and what colour was called out. It was easy to identify that for me black was red, grey was green, and white was yellow. He only ever used those three colours. When I took the test if he pointed to a black dot I said red, grey dot I said green, etc.......

The peripheral test was even easier. He held a large box with six buttons on it. Two at the top, two in the middle and two at the bottom. I correctly assumed they were Red, green, and yellow respectively. You could tell which buttons he pressed because the box was so big, and his hands were small, so he had to hold the box either at the top, middle, or bottom. He held it in the middle, so I said green, and passed !!

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20 hours ago, Bredbury Blue said:

This annual palaver of sending away for an IDP finished recently. I needed to apply for my new annual IDP, but when I looked at the AA’s website to download the IDP application forms I was shocked to read it says, "The way you apply for an IDP has changed – we can't issue any IDPs at all (including by post or at our Folkestone / Eurotunnel shop) after 31 January 2019". Damn!

While not relevant to you, the U.K. IDP is available from the post office and if you, or some one you can know, can go to the post office it is still available though not by post.

https://www.postoffice.co.uk/identity/international-driving-permit

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I only had 2 physical tests for my initial 2 year licence, the brake test and the peripheral vision. I have a bad squint in my right eye from birth so was dreading the peripheral test. When the transport guy kept asking me to look straight ahead i had to constantly say ' I am ' which they found amusing. When my left eye looks straight ahead, my right eye looks right, making this test very difficult, I just hit buttons randomly and passed! Had to watch the 1 hour video in Thai and collect my 2 year card. It's due again in Feb 2020 so I need to be lucky again. 

 

I believe it helped that I am always the sole farang where live and never deal with any officials outside the immigration office who speak even a little English. I am pretty sure they just feel sorry for me 🙂 Have to renew in February, no idea how that will go. Fingers crossed.

 

By the way I am not colour blind so that test wouldn't worry me.

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I tested these Enchroma lenses. They don't work for me.

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1 hour ago, transam said:

I am not colour blind but cannot folk who are learn at home what colour red green and yellow looks like to them and attach red green or yellow to the colour they see, or perhaps it doesn't work like that...🤔

No, it doesn't. I identifying different colours when they are separate from other colours isn't too much of a problem. I see red, green and yellow on a traffic light without any problems, but when you mix a lot of colours together as in the colour chart at the Transport dept., that's when it gets tricky for me.

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I am colour blind but not totally and passed my 5 year renewal last week.

It was just someone pointing at a chart full of coloured dots and you giving the colour of the dot indicated.

I must have got at least one wrong but no problem encountered. 

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17 hours ago, Andrew Dwyer said:

Well done, glad it worked out for you !

When I did my test first time i had no problem but an older Thai gentleman was definitely struggling with the colours, his wife shuffled up to his side really slowly as if no one would notice if she went slow emoji848.png

They gave the old fella another go and sure enough his wife prompted him by saying the colours out of the side of her mouth, i was almost crying with laughter it was like the worst ventriloquist act you had ever seen emoji23.pngemoji23.png

But, all the Thais watching leaned forward with the excitement of it all !! , there was a deathly silence in the room only broken by a big cheer from the crowd when the tester official nodded in acceptance and I couldn’t help but join in with the cheer !!

It was an amazing scene of cheeting and solidarity in one act !! emoji23.pngemoji23.png

Im happy that everybody liked it and thought it was funny , untill he slams into another car at high speed because he thought his light was green .

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16 minutes ago, Andycoops said:

I am colour blind but not totally and passed my 5 year renewal last week.

It was just someone pointing at a chart full of coloured dots and you giving the colour of the dot indicated.

I must have got at least one wrong but no problem encountered. 

Then you aren't truly colour blind if you can distinguish the colours.

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