You wouldn't think riding along in a straight line would present too many challenges, but highways can be one of the most demanding places to ride. There are many reasons not to use highways on a motorcycle, but if you want to make a longer trip they have to be considered.
The main thing to take on board is the extra speed. It's dead easy to think you're riding at a lot slower pace than you actually are, even when you're getting a move on. But if something goes wrong and you need to react to it, you'll soon realize just how quickly you're going – possibly way too fast.
Staying alert and extra vigilant is a real key to keeping out of trouble on highways. That in itself can be tricky, especially after a long spell running along a two- or three-lane route. It's all too easy to become mesmerized by the monotony of a highway. They can and do put people to sleep, so be especially careful on them late into the night or very early in the morning.
Use your mirrors regularly. Tailgater, and wannabe small-engine-motorcycle racers are common on highways and can cause unsafe situations. Look well ahead to give yourself a better chance of dealing with changes in pace or direction of traffic, and not just what's directly in front. Always be on the look out for the start of congestion – it can rush up on you quicker than you think. A upcoming roadside market or a line of brake lights give a good clue, If you see debris in the carriageway, don't stare at it, otherwise you'll hit it. Concentrate on an alternative line and miss it.
Highways in Thailand are rarely empty these days. Think of yourself as a jigsaw piece and move yourself around to fit into safer gaps of the puzzle. Don't stay at the same speed for long periods.
Filter through slower moving traffic very carefully. A sudden lane change by someone can be hard to avoid. And when traffic has been at a complete standstill for a while, watch out for people getting out of their cars. Hitting an opening door or an emerging occupant rarely has a happy ending.
If you need to use the hard shoulder, then park your motorcycle as much as possible of the road. Drivers hitting stationary motorcycles is common, not to mention extremely destructive. As long as you look at the whole picture, anticipate and observe carefully when you're riding on highways, you'll be fine.