Vietnam is catching up to Thailand fast in the way of infrastructure but, beyond the major cities, you’ll find Vietnam’s roads a lot less drivable than roads in Thailand. As a rough guess, Vietnam’s road network is 30 years or so behind Thailand for now, but catching up quickly.
Beyond the physical roads, the behaviour of Vietnamese drivers is entirely different from Thailand, and the west. The keyword here would be ‘merge’. Just go with the herd and don’t drive defensively. When you come to an intersection the ability for Vietnamese drivers to weave through the traffic is one of the great wonders of the modern world. The busier the intersection, the more amazing it is to watch.
Whilst appearing completely chaotic to an outsider the ‘system’ all works very well.
The actual road toll in Vietnam isn’t much better than Thailand, which is pretty bad! The annual road toll in Vietnam is around 25% less than Thailand.
And then there’s the tooting of horns. Whilst tooting someone in Thailand with your car or motorcycle horn will get some serious looks (and sometimes the cause of serious road rage), in Vietnam it’s common. Actually, more than common, just part of the soundtrack of Vietnam’s roads. Usually just a mere courtesy to traffic you’re passing, Vietnamese drivers will routinely toot a motorbike or car as they’re about to pass them. So get ready for a whole new realm of noise pollution.