5 Top Peculiar Malaysian Driving Habits

Posted by : foongpc | Monday, February 8, 2010 | Published in

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I've been driving for many years now and I still don't think I am very clear about some of the traffic rules in Malaysia. So let me ask you, my dear readers, to help me out here so that I can be a better driver.


Image courtesy of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


1. Is the emergency lights only used when your car is having a breakdown and is stationary? If yes, why do I still see cars in front of me with their emergency lights flashing every time the driver brakes? It irritates the hell out of me!

2. Imagine you are driving on a two-lane road and you reach a junction with traffic lights. You intend to go straight. Is it wrong to stop on the left lane when the light turns red?

The other day, I was given the horn when I stopped on the left lane of a two-lane road. Obviously the driver behind me wanted to turn left and my car was blocking him. So was I wrong to stop on the left lane when I had no intention of turning left?

3. When you are on the right lane of a four-lane road, do you still need to switch on the right signal to indicate you are turning right at the traffic light? Isn't it obvious that you must be turning right because if you are going straight, you might be blocking the car on your left lane which may also be turning right?

Besides, if you switch on the right signal, wouldn't the driver behind you think you want to make a U-Turn?


Image courtesy of Driving School Directory

4. Is it even remotely possible to switch on the left signal light when you want to turn right and vice versa? I have seen this happened so many times there is no doubt that this is very possible but I just don't understand how it could possibly happen! Do you?

5. I am driving on the main road intending to turn right into a small road. A driver on the small road intends to turn right onto the main road. Who has the right of way? I would think I have the right of way, correct? Then why do some drivers force their way out from the small road as if they have the right of way?

FIRST COMMENTER

(91) Comments

  1. Mei Teng said...

    Malaysians have atrocious driving habits!

    February 8, 2010 at 8:40 AM
  2. lina said...

    Aiyah! Miss FC!

    February 8, 2010 at 8:42 AM
  3. lina said...

    Cannot help you on the driving - I cannot drive. LOL

    February 8, 2010 at 8:44 AM
  4. Mei Teng said...

    Yes, I think it's wrong to be hogging the left lane where it's designated for turning left only. But if it's for both, i.e. going straight ahead and/or making a left turn then you're not in the wrong.

    Some drivers irritate me when they don't signal to others when turning left or right. That can be quite dangerous as others cannot anticipate what's going to happen.

    February 8, 2010 at 8:45 AM
  5. T.H said...

    some drivers so crazy just not far away from traffic light they will overtake just to be infront of you and still they are stuck at traffic light.

    February 8, 2010 at 9:21 AM
  6. bluedreamer27 said...

    here in Phil. We all have reckless drivers and drunk drivers too lol gish what a shame..

    February 8, 2010 at 9:46 AM
  7. HappySurfer said...

    Foong, true that some of us are using the hazard lights wrongly. They should be used while the car is stationary not while it's moving.

    In point #2, I'm with Mei Teng.

    February 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM
  8. HappySurfer said...

    #3, I'm with you on this but there are times when drivers who intend to go straight, hog the right fourth lane without a hint of where they are going. That's inviting collision by car at third lane turning right. Dangerous move this one.

    February 8, 2010 at 10:48 AM
  9. HappySurfer said...

    #4 deserves benefit of the doubt but it is dangerous to themselves and other road-users.

    #5 - not sure about the rule on this one but obviously both drivers want to get out quickly and safely. I'm sure all drivers would have experienced being in both situations and felt the exasperation.

    February 8, 2010 at 10:49 AM
  10. HappySurfer said...

    Foong, a great topic for discussion though all this driving talk reminds me of these goofy moments. Oops!

    February 8, 2010 at 10:50 AM
  11. HappySurfer said...

    Have a wonderful day ahead, Foong. And safe driving, this being a busy week and all. Gong Xi Fa Cai!!

    February 8, 2010 at 10:51 AM
  12. iamthewitch said...

    For point #2, if your left lane is dedicated for turning left and you're stopping there, then it's not right.

    For point #5, yes you have the right of way... But of course, most Malaysians are kiasu and don't care about the rules on the road, don't you think so?

    February 8, 2010 at 11:34 AM
  13. kenwooi said...

    yeah.. for number 2.. you shouldn't stop at the left if you're not intending to turn left.. malaysians will usually honkkkkkkkk! =P

    number 4.. why would anyone do that?? haha.. it's either a mistake (by not turning the signal off) or the driver is noob!

    kenwooi.com

    February 8, 2010 at 12:04 PM
  14. ChrisAu said...

    oh..you shouldn't stopped at the left lane if it's meant for turning. Go to the right lane next time to drive straight.

    February 8, 2010 at 1:38 PM
  15. CH Voon said...

    1. That one... just want to have special features only gua...
    sound not good to hear is show off lo

    February 8, 2010 at 2:04 PM
  16. CH Voon said...

    2. This is driver problems! He obtains the kopi O license.

    February 8, 2010 at 2:06 PM
  17. CH Voon said...

    3 & 4. no sure

    February 8, 2010 at 2:08 PM
  18. CH Voon said...

    5. You are right... He dont know to drive at all.

    February 8, 2010 at 2:09 PM
  19. Pete said...

    Our non systematic road system is the cause of all this problem!

    February 8, 2010 at 3:40 PM
  20. Tekkaus said...

    I thing they have modified the lights bro. That's why it keeps on flashing. :p

    February 8, 2010 at 4:02 PM
  21. Tekkaus said...

    Yeah! It is wrong to stop on the left lane bro. I was caught once during Chinese New Year. :p Had to listen to some music from the police.

    February 8, 2010 at 4:03 PM
  22. khengsiong said...

    #2 - not wrong if stop at left lane, unless this is a left-turn-only lane, indicated by an arrow on the road.

    But sometimes we can be more seng mok (considerate) lah...

    #5 The bigger vehicle has the right of way, LOL...

    My own experience is: I turned on the right signal, but other vehicles still overtook mine from the right!

    February 8, 2010 at 4:07 PM
  23. Tekkaus said...

    Well...for the sake of safety...just switch it on bro. :p

    February 8, 2010 at 4:07 PM
  24. Tekkaus said...

    Why? Obviously I thing it is because they took "flying" license and not driving license.

    February 8, 2010 at 4:08 PM
  25. fufu said...

    lol it's been already 7yrs i dont drive in malaysia... but one thing for sure... even you drive properly... those stubborn idiot ridiculous street barbarians will still create problems... just wish you and all drivers there all the best!

    February 8, 2010 at 5:04 PM
  26. fufu said...

    i used public transport or my friends drive me around... i just tumpang enjoying the ride :)

    ops... i did drive once a while in my hometown... hihihi

    February 8, 2010 at 5:07 PM
  27. Medie007 said...

    2. it's not wrong, but it definitely irritates the hell out of ppl. say if you're in his position and u wanted to pee so badly, and that junction turns into your house. wouldn't u honk?


    another annoying thing, putting up a high beam on the highway. what's so high about the highway that a high beam lights is needed? it's a possible hazard-causing thing to do, because the car in front of you just can't see the rearview mirror properly when the high beam's reflecting on it.

    February 8, 2010 at 7:25 PM
  28. chris_lim said...

    That's why they say that if u can drive in Malaysia, u can drive in anywhere in the world.

    Who are they? Maybe that's just my belief.

    February 8, 2010 at 7:30 PM
  29. Bananazക said...

    The proximate cause I would say would be the inconsistency of the system on the control of traffic lights that lead to all these confusion. It could be due to space constraints at traffic junctions or due to the poor efficiency of the authorities concerned.I wonder do the authorities do a routine check on the traffic lights, the drawing of lines etc etc.

    February 8, 2010 at 9:42 PM
  30. Bananazക said...

    Had this experience before, about 100 meters away from traffic lights the road was painted with a straight arrow together with a left turn arrow on the left lane (it was a 3 lanes road). So I took this left lane to go straight. But then when about to reach the traffic lights another sign on the road shows a left turn arrow only. Oh shoot! I just cannot squeeze myself out to the right to go straight. So how? ish ish ish...

    February 8, 2010 at 9:45 PM
  31. オテモヤン said... February 8, 2010 at 10:32 PM
  32. wenn said...

    it is always safer to signal right or left of our intention to turn.

    February 8, 2010 at 11:29 PM
  33. Nick Phillips said...

    This is Malaysia la my friend. In Malaysia, when it comes to driving, Anything Goes (pun intended ... LOL!).

    I'm on the road a lot, one day let me do a post about my experiences with Malaysian drivers and their crazy habits!

    February 8, 2010 at 11:31 PM
  34. King Kong said...

    I've always wondered about the hazard lights one too... why do they have to do that irritating thing? I really can't see any purpose in it. But then again as u quite rightly pointed out, there are just so many silly things happening on our roads!

    February 9, 2010 at 12:07 AM
  35. Monica said...

    M'sian drivers need to improve themselves in many many aspects! :D

    February 9, 2010 at 1:36 AM
  36. Monica said...

    #4 that frustrates me too!

    February 9, 2010 at 1:45 AM
  37. sanjeet said...

    I thing it is because they took "flying" license and not driving license.

    How to make a website

    February 9, 2010 at 4:14 AM
  38. manglish said...

    #1: new fashion? hahha

    #2: you are wrong haaaahha

    #3: a little courtesy wont hurt much

    #4: i think those drivers need to get their left and right correct, or you can fuck them right into it hahha

    #5: repeat #3 everytime u find yourself in a situation like this hahahah

    #6: HAPPY CNYYYYYYYYY haaaha

    February 9, 2010 at 8:51 AM
  39. eiling lim said...

    haha... and i hate people who switch on the hazard lights when it's raining!

    February 9, 2010 at 10:03 AM
  40. Kelvin said...

    Tats why i love public transport.

    February 9, 2010 at 12:29 PM
  41. CheaHS@n said...

    #1. Blinking of emergency lights, Xmas mood?..*shake head*

    #2. We are at a fix if wanna go straight. Keep to the right lane is for turning right and you are stuck behind those wishing to turn right. When take the left lane land exactly like your case. Something not quite right with the traffic system.

    #3. No issue it would not confuse much though not necessary.

    #4. Oh like that also can. "In their left brain there is nothing right and in their right brain there is nothing left."

    #5. Depends on what kind & how big of vehicle they are driving haha & these kind of ppl refer to #4.:p

    #6. Pandu cermat jiwa selamat. [drive safely + carefully] = (safefully)

    February 9, 2010 at 2:41 PM
  42. vialentino said...

    msia driver very furious ler....not safe to drive motorcycle here....then u shud know how bad it is...

    February 9, 2010 at 3:58 PM
  43. saucer said...

    No real answers for your questions, this is BOLEH-land. Everything is possible :)

    February 9, 2010 at 5:34 PM
  44. Rita said...

    #2, I've seen markings on the left-lane indicating "straight & left-turn" - so u may not be entirely wrong. The guy behind just gotta be a little bit more patient lol!

    Another thing that frustrate me is that Msian do not know how to use roundabout! Sigh!

    February 9, 2010 at 8:46 PM
  45. Shopping in Las Vegas said...

    I'm both. I'm a very safe driver because I know just how bad a driver I am. I know all of my mistakes, therefore I know all the mistakes other drivers can and will make, so I can avoid them.

    February 9, 2010 at 8:52 PM
  46. Bengbeng said...

    Malaysians have atrocious driving habits! - me included. i drive too slow

    February 9, 2010 at 9:33 PM
  47. foongpc said...

    mei teng, I totally agree! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 12:30 AM
  48. foongpc said...

    lina, good lah, cannot drive means every time you have a chauffeur to take you anywhere! LOL!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:31 AM
  49. foongpc said...

    mei teng, so if there is no arrow indicating left turn, I am not wrong to be at the left lane even if I want to go straight?

    Good! Then, that man who honked me - he had no right to honk me in the first place! Next time, I'm going to show these type of people my finger, haha! : )

    Yes, drivers who do not signal irritate me also!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:33 AM
  50. foongpc said...

    T.H, yeah I know there are drivers like that. I don't see why they need to do that - it's silly! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 12:34 AM
  51. foongpc said...

    bluedreamer27, drunk drivers are very dangerous! They are murderers!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:36 AM
  52. foongpc said...

    happysurfer, yes I think people who use their hazard lights wrongly should be fined!

    I think those who wish to go straight on a 4-lane road should stay at the middle lanes and not at the furthest right!

    For #5, I have experienced this many times and a lot of the drivers coming out of the small road actually force their way out! For me, if I am on the small road, I will let those on the main road have the right of way - at least that's what I remember learning for my driving theory test : )

    Oh! Those goofy moments are really funny! I can't imagine anyone's car ending up like those! Haha!

    Gong Xi Fa Cai to you too! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 12:44 AM
  53. foongpc said...

    iamthewitch, but the left lane I was on had no indication it was just for turning left, so I think I am not wrong to stop there right?

    Yes, agree most Malaysians are kiasu drivers and they don't observe the rules!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:46 AM
  54. foongpc said...

    kenwooi, but if the lane had no arrow indicating it's for left turn, don't you think I can use that lane to go straight?

    As for the light signal, as I said, I still don't understand how any driver can get it wrong. I mean, how can you turn right and switch on the left signal? Just does not make sense to me!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:49 AM
  55. foongpc said...

    chrisau, but the left lane is also meant for going straight!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:50 AM
  56. foongpc said...

    CH Voon, so those people who misuse the hazard lights are actually trying to show off?

    Which driver problem you mean in #2?

    So you agree I have the right of way? Good! Just too bad Malaysian drivers don't follow this rule!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:53 AM
  57. foongpc said...

    pete, I agree that's also a very important factor! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 12:54 AM
  58. foongpc said...

    tekkaus, yes, they have modified the lights and I hate it!! They should be fined for modifying the lights!

    So did you pay traffic summons? Haha

    Flying license and not driving license? LOL!!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:56 AM
  59. foongpc said...

    fufu, so you only drove once in your hometown? And you mainly use public transport and tumpang your friends' cars? Hmm, should I say you are lucky or unlucky? Haha!

    February 10, 2010 at 12:58 AM
  60. foongpc said...

    medie007, haha, no I won't honk if I know he has the right to be there even if he's blocking my way : )

    Oh, yes very irritating of some drivers to put on the high beam indiscriminately. And dangerous too!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:04 AM
  61. foongpc said...

    chris_lim, really? Somebody said that? So we are really horrible drivers?

    February 10, 2010 at 1:06 AM
  62. foongpc said...

    bananaz, I agree with the traffic light control system and routine check by the authorities do contribute to the problem.

    Haha! The arrow thing is a huge problem in Malaysia. I myself have experienced that before. Blame it on the authorities! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:33 AM
  63. foongpc said...

    オテモヤン, thanks for the spam!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:40 AM
  64. foongpc said...

    wenn, I guess it is : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:44 AM
  65. foongpc said...

    nick phillips, haha! Yes, please post about your experiences with Malaysian drivers : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:49 AM
  66. foongpc said...

    king kong, the misuse of hazard lights really annoys me! These drivers should be fined!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:50 AM
  67. foongpc said...

    monica, definitely! #4 is indeed frustrating!

    February 10, 2010 at 1:51 AM
  68. foongpc said...

    sanjeet, haha! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:52 AM
  69. foongpc said...

    manglish, blinking hazard lights definitely not a new fashion! Haha!

    Hey, I don't think I am wrong because the left lane had no arrows to indicate it's only for turning left!

    Courtesy is good but non existent in Malaysian driving! Haha!

    Oh yes, they should get their right and left correct, but then if you want to turn right, you don't actually need to know it's right, you just need to switch on the right signal, which is in the direction of where you want to turn, if you know what I mean!

    Happy CNY to you too! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:58 AM
  70. foongpc said...

    eiling lim, me too! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:59 AM
  71. foongpc said...

    kelvin, you do? I hate public transport! Cos they are so inefficient! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 1:59 AM
  72. foongpc said...

    cheahs@n, Xmas mood? Haha!

    Yeah, something is definitely not right with the traffic system, but who do we blame?

    For #3, agree it's not necessary.

    #4 - haha!

    #5 - so it depends how big the vehicle is? The bigger the car, the more right of way you have? LOL!

    February 10, 2010 at 2:03 AM
  73. foongpc said...

    vialentino, I think riding a motorcycle in Malaysia is like risking your life!

    February 10, 2010 at 2:04 AM
  74. foongpc said...

    saucer, Malaysia Boleh! Yes! Can have blinking hazard lights when car is moving, can stop at the wrong lane, can jump the traffic lights, can break the rules! Everything is possible, even getting arrested and getting fined and going to jail also boleh : )

    February 10, 2010 at 2:06 AM
  75. foongpc said...

    rita, I guess if there is a marking on the road that indicates straight and left turn, then I am not in the wrong, but if the road has no marking does it mean I am not wrong also?

    Roundabout? Tell me about it! I think they should just ban all the roundabouts! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 2:09 AM
  76. foongpc said...

    shopping in las vegas, you are a bad driver and a safe driver as well? Haha! Well, good to know that you are making effort to avoid those mistakes! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 2:11 AM
  77. foongpc said...

    bengbeng, you drive too slow? It's OK to drive slow as long as you are not hogging the fast lane. Anyway, slow and steady wins the race! : )

    February 10, 2010 at 2:12 AM
  78. Shopping in Las Vegas said...

    O yes that is rarely very informative post for driving.thanks for sharing.

    February 10, 2010 at 8:10 PM
  79. Ayie said...

    I think same with Filipinos!

    February 12, 2010 at 9:24 AM
  80. Ayie said...

    i really think so =P

    February 12, 2010 at 9:25 AM
  81. Shopping in Las Vegas said...

    Yes i understand for Malaysian driving.

    February 13, 2010 at 7:38 PM
  82. foongpc said...

    shopping in las vegas, you are welcome : )

    February 18, 2010 at 4:23 PM
  83. foongpc said...

    ayie, really? Filipinos are like that too? I thought Malaysian are the worst drivers! : )

    February 18, 2010 at 4:24 PM
  84. Shopping in Las Vegas said...

    Enroll yourself in any driving school to learn driving and traffic rules and sit for the test later. Complete package Rm800. You can go around and compare the package price list and make your own decision.

    February 18, 2010 at 4:28 PM
  85. Hanging lamps said...

    What is the Best upgradation in a petrol car to increase milage ,apart from driving habits?

    February 19, 2010 at 6:54 PM
  86. Saiful Haziq said...

    some of points do irritating but ive teached before in driving school to give a signal to right even on the traffic light. so why this need to be irritated? theres much other driving habits is more danger tahn this one.

    May 5, 2010 at 8:06 AM
  87. Joe said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    May 17, 2010 at 3:35 AM
  88. Joe said...

    ISSUE #1: SOME CARS NOWADAYS HAVE THIS FEATURE. IT AUTOMATICALLY SWITCHES ON THE HAZARD LIGHTS WHEN THE DRIVER COMES TO AN ABRUPT HALT. IN OTHER WORDS, IF THE DRIVER BREAKS HARD AND UNEXPECTEDLY, THE HAZARD LIGHTS WOULD TURN ON AUTOMATICALLY FOR A FEW SECONDS. THIS IS TO WARN THE DRIVER BEHIND OF THE IMMEDIATE SPEED DIFFERENCE SO THAT HE/SHE WOULD BE ABLE TO BRAKE IN TIME. IT'S NOT A DEFECT/HABIT OR BAD MANNERS. IT IS FOR THE SAFETY OF THE CARS BEHIND.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:37 AM
  89. Joe said...

    ISSUE #4: SOME CARS, NAMELY EUROPEAN CARS, HAVE THEIR SIGNAL STALKS OPERATE DIFFERENTLY. IN A PROTON CAR, THE SIGNAL STALK IS ON YOUR RIGHT. IN MOST EUROPEAN CARS, IT'S ON YOUR LEFT. IN PROTON CARS, LIFTING THE SIGNAL STALK UP WOULD INDICATE THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO TURN LEFT WHILST PUSHING IT DOWN WOULD INDICATE THAT YOU WOULD WANT TO TURN RIGHT. IN MOST IF NOT ALL EUROPEAN CARS HOWEVER, IT'S THE OPPOSITE. LIFTING UP MEANS TURN RIGHT WHILST PUSHING DOWN MEANS TURN LEFT. THE PROBLEMS THAT YOU ARE FACING MIGHT BE DUE TO PROTON, PERODUA, JAPANESE CAR OWNERS WHO ARE USED TO THE SYSTEM AND WHEN THEY BUY AN EUROPEAN CAR, THEY JUST AREN'T USED TO IT, HENCE THE ERROR. OF COURSE, IT IS NO EXCUSE TO DO SO AS IT IS DANGEROUS. BUT MY PURPOSE IS TO HIGHLIGHT TO YOU THAT THIS PROBLEM THAT YOUR FACING IS POSSIBLE. I HOPE THIS HELPS.

    May 17, 2010 at 3:45 AM
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  91. ann - Driving Theort Test Lerner said...

    Really good article you have posted. It’s peaty good tips for new drivers.

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