While waiting for the traffic lights to turn green, I witnessed at least 3 motorcyclists beating the traffic lights. It was then 3.00 p.m. One wonders what Malaysian drivers would do if it was 3.00 a.m. in the early morning? Would anyone then care to stop at all?
About 2 years ago, three friends perished in a tragic accident near Haji Sirat Road, nearby Klang Utama. A small lorry had beaten the traffic lights. Three innocent lives were lost.
Beating a traffic light carries a RM300 fine in Malaysia. The offender would be punished under Section 119(2) of the Road Transport Act 1987.
In Singapore recently, driver Ma Chi, 31, a Chinese national crashed his supercar, a Ferrari, into taxi driven by Cheng Teck Hock, 52, early Saturday morning near Bugis Junction. Cheng and his passenger, Shigemi Ito, later died in hospital.
Traffic lights are intended to prevent accidents. Non observance of traffic lights will bring about deadly consequences.
It does not matter where traffic lights are beaten. It can be in Malaysia, Singapore or even Great Britain. As a matter of fact, drivers all over the world behave the same way.
To emphasize the severity of ignoring traffic lights, I would like to quote you the case of a young driver in Leicester, England. The dangerous driver ignored a total of 4 red traffic lights during a 80 mph chase. He was jailed 14 months. In the above incident, the police pursued the driver through residential streets. Finally, the police felt it was so potentially risky and aborted the chase. In the above incident, the driver Scott Christopher, was arrested 5 days later.
The 21 year old driver, admitted to driving on roads in Hichley, including Regent Road, Lancaster Road, Leicester Road, Derby Road, Spencer Road and Ashby Road on August 13, 2010. Christopher, who hails from Mount Avenue, Barwell, England was banned for 2 years.
According to Prosecuting Officer, Janet Hall, Christopher was with a friend in Hickley town centre at 3.00a.m. They had in fact passed 2 plain clothes policemen, who were speaking to 2 people in a car. Christopher started to interfere with the conversation. He became aggressive when told to go away.
According to Miss Hall, one of the officers responded by chasing him. They then ran to a nearby car and drove away. The two police officers saw Christopher at the wheels of a Fiat Punto.
The police then followed in an unmarked police car. They were concerned that Christopher had been drinking. Police officers in a patrol vehicle then took over the pursuit Chris then headed out of Hickley on to Leicester Road and overtook a vehicle on a hill travelling at 70 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Christopher then headed back to Hickley Road travelling at 60 mph in a 30 mph zone. In Ashley Road, a residential area, he hit 80 mph. According to Miss Hall, the prosecuting officer, Christopher drove through 4 sets of Red traffic lights. Christopher ignored all police signals to stop.
It was very lucky no one was hurt. On the advice of a police Inspector, the chase was then aborted. The pursuit was considered dangerous. Christopher was however arrested on the 18th of August. In an interview with the police, he made no comments.
A mitigating officer, Mr. James Varley, reiterated, though it was an 80 mph run, the dangers to other road users was nevertheless less as it was 3.00 a.m. Christopher’s action was deemed as stupid. There could be no excuse for it.
It was found that the driver had a full license. He had never been endorsed before. Another thing was that the car had valid insurance. Till the event happened that night. Christopher had been driving properly.
The judge who passed sentence on Christopher said, it was a horrifically ‘reckless’ out of driving at excessive speeds. In conclusion, it was the judge’s contention that anyone who drives through residential areas at 80 mph can expect nothing less than a custodial sentence!
Hopefully, to all Malaysian drivers, this article will go on to remind you that it does not pay to beat traffic lights. Do not ape what Scott Christopher of England had done.
The Traffic Light Junction
Lanes leading to traffic light junctions are either 2 lane or 3 lane. The same applies to roundabouts. Some new drivers are uncertain as to which lane they should follow. They are slightly confused. Thus they have written to this Driving School Malaysia blog requesting some explaination on this subject.
First of all, why this anomaly among new drivers occur? Driving instructors nowadays do not seem to provide tuition to students regarding the mechanics of driving in the town. Lack of practice is therefore the main source of this weakness.
Let’s first take the example of a 2 lane road leading to a traffic light. Going towards a traffic light, a driver should first of all know where he is going. Stay on the left lane if you are going to turn left.
If you are going straight ahead, stay on the centre lane ideally. If you want to turn right, also take the road on the right.
But some roads allow you to go straight, but not to turn right. In this case, you’ll have to Stop momentarily, wait for the traffic light (Arrow sign) to light up, before you can proceed to do the right turn.
Staying on the left lane does not automatically mean you can turn left right away. At times, you’ll have to wait a while before the Arrow lights up, then you can turn left.
Now lets proceed on to the 3 lane leading to the traffic light problem. Again, like the 2 lane example, “stay left” if you’re going or turning left.
Stay in the centre lane should you intend to go straight ahead. You can turn right too if you want to, but then, this is dangerous driving. Your action might cause a minor accident. Actually, the right procedure should be to stay on the right lane.
Then there is the right lane. The right lane is for you to turn right. Sometimes you have to stop a while, wait for the Green arrow to light up, before you proceed towards your destination.
If there are no cars ahead of you, you can use this lane to go straight ahead also.
Understanding The Traffic Light Arrow
One last advice, regarding the traffic light system. If you see a “green round” traffic light, it denotes proceed either straight ahead, turn left or turn right. Correct?
What if you see a “green arrow” pointing straight ahead? There’s another “green arrow” waiting to light up for you to turn Right. Can you in such a situation, turn right without waiting for the green arrow to light up? Are you breaking the law?
Think about this poser. Then maybe contact my blog. Or better still, ask you lawyer friends.
The question of 2 lane and 3 lane leading to roundabout, will be discuss later in another article some other time.