Although many of us drivers may have years of experience in driving, do not be surprised many may not know certain things they do violates traffic rules.

I would like to mention 8 things a driver, irregardless of whether he or she is an experienced driver or one that just recently obtained his “P” license, are expected to know.

Nevertheless, even though some of the traffic offenses mentioned may have been touched upon in other earlier articles, I feel making a mention of them for yet another occasion is not a waste of time.

1. Do not switch on vehicle cabin lights when driving.

How many of us drivers are aware of this ruling? Unless you are of the old school, and taught by driving instructors some 25 or 30 years ago, don’t be surprised if you are not taught this ruling. I was taught by my instructor, Mr. Tiew Hock Lai, in the late 1960s, was reminded again and again about this important ruling.

2. Brake lights not functioning.

Some drivers may assume brake lights are insignificant items of a vehicle. In actual fact, brake lights are indeed very important. As such, drivers are advised to pay special attention to it. If you are stopped by either a police officer or a J.P.J. official, consider yourself infringing one of the laws of the Road Transport Ordinance 1987.

Drivers are therefore advised to see to it that your brake lights are in good working order. The same also applies to number plate lights of your car. These 2 things maybe little things, but in this case, little things may mean a lot. Believe it or not, you can be summoned by the authorities if you are unlucky.

3. Changing lanes less than 100 m or so at traffic lights.

In Singapore especially, traffic cops down there are very strict pertaining to this traffic law violation. Traffic conditions on the island are very heavy on most roads. The authorities down there cannot afford motorists and drivers flouting such laws. It would, I believe, led to chaotic conditions.

A driver therefore who decided to change lane less than 100 m from a traffic light junction will without a doubt be waved down by a traffic officer and cited for infringing a traffic offense. I am not implying that Malaysian drivers do not commit such things here. The only different thing in Malaysia is that even though Malaysian drivers likewise commit such atrocities, traffic officers condone such things.Malaysian drivers therefore lucky as compared to their counterparts driving in Singapore.

Whatever it is, Malaysian drives are advised against committing such traffic violations if you possibly can. Do not test your luck too far. Who knows, you may one day soon be cited for changing lanes near a traffic light.

4. Making a U-turn around a traffic lights junction.

I am sure, drivers of today, be it in Malaysia, Singapore or Thailand, may not be aware of the fact that making a U-turn around a traffic light pole is indeed an offense. Surprised?

Should you be living in one of the bigger towns in Malaysia, like Georgetown, Kuala Lumpur, Johor Bharu, Ipoh etc, where traffic is rampant, you should in fact have knowledge of this traffic violation.

Malaysian drivers, in the early days before Merdeka in 1957 used to follow the British system of driving, whereby making a U-turn around a traffic light was disallowed. However, do not despair. Modern traffic rules and regulations at times permit a driver to make such designated turns.

Traffic conditions are such nowadays that the authorities have little choice besides allowing drivers to do such illegal things. So drivers should beware. If there aren’t any traffic signs to denote that you can turn at a traffic light, do not do it! If there are traffic signs specifically advising you not to perform it, then do not do it. Unless you are ready to be summoned.

I hear, especially in Singapore, if there are no signs prohibiting you doing it, go ahead and do it! It is then not a traffic offense.

5. Overtaking on the left side.

Even today, I am sure some drivers especially those younger motorists do not seem to realize the danger of attempting to overtake on the left! It is in fact, a dangerous thing to do. Should you in doing so, is crashed into by say a “L” driving school student out on his or her practical driving lesson, then obviously you are at fault.

One, all drivers and motorists should ideally stay clear or away from vehicles providing lessons to potential drivers. Two, overtaking on the left, especially on the road going out of town is obviously a “no-no”.

Steering control of a new student wavers from side to side. It is unsteady. That’s why instructor out on a mission with a new driver, have to control the steering from time to time to adjust it, so to say.

Therefore, if say a motorcyclist chooses to overtake on the left side of an “L” vehicle, then I can only retort, “you are living dangerously!”. Take my advice, do not overtake a driving school car on the left, ever. It’s dangerous!

6. Motorcycle pillion rider who do not sit straddling the machine.

Some motorcyclists who carry pillion riders may not be aware of the law which requires a pillion rider to sit straddling on a machine. Unlike in Thailand, where a pillion rider is allowed to sit sideways while riding a motorcycle, a pillion rider on Malaysian roads is not permitted to sit with his or her legs facing sideways.

The reasons why Malaysian laws in enforcing such a law or requirement is that according to surveys carried out, the straddling position of pillion appears to be safer as it permits him the opportunity to hold on to the rider’s torso or another part of the machine. There is also less likelihood for a pillion rider falling off the machine when emergency brakes are applied or when fast and dangerous corners are taken or performed.

For all those motorists and pillion riders who may not be aware of this ruling, hopefully will hence forth take note. Police and J.P.J. officers can arrest offenders who commit this infringement.

7. Crashing into a telephone or lamp post.

Are you as a driver or a motorcyclist, aware should you knock into a utility pole or post belonging to Telekom or TNB, you could be fined for destruction of public property by the authorities concerned. Unfortunately, not many drivers are aware of such a ruling.

8. A vehicle that breaks down in the midst of heavy traffic.

Should your vehicle happen to break down suddenly in a busy area in town for example, the driver of the vehicle is considered as having caused inconvenience to the public as well as to the police.

I have often been told by those experienced in such things, that the authorities possess the right to cite a driver for such offenses. The authorities argue that drivers of such vehicles have failed to maintain his or her vehicle in good mechanical order.

Above are 8 things you should keep a look out for. Keep a note of it and hopefully you will not be summoned for some of the things I have written.