In conjunction with my last article where I wrote about the Malaysian new driving curriculum for new drivers, I would like to raise the question of why Malaysian drivers are considered as poor drivers.

There exists many reasons why foreigners regard Malaysians as the world worst drivers. If we should make an in depth study why we Malaysian drivers are regarded as such, some of the reasons must surely be:

1) Malaysian drivers possess poor discipline.

Poor discipline has time and again led motorists to ignore rules and regulations.

For example, even though faced with a red traffic light, there are some who choose to ignore it and beat the traffic light instead. The consequences of such actions have been time and time again reported to have been dire.

2) Some Malaysian drivers do not seem to respect traffic lights.

Again, due to poor discipline, drivers and motorcyclists tend to ignore traffic lights. Elsewhere in another article, I have gave examples whereby some motorists perpetually ignore traffic lights.

At traffic lights, observe carefully and you’ll discover 2 to 4 of those who are waiting at the traffic lights will eventually shoot off after waiting for quite some time. This indicates impatience.

Impatience at traffic lights is dangerous. Accidents can easily happen quite often. Motorists are advised to ponder carefully regarding this factor.

3) Overtaking on the left side of the road.

Overtaking on the left is not encouraged because it is dangerous. But Malaysian drivers seem to adopt this manner of driving. When tutoring students how to drive, I have time and again come across people who overtake on the left.

Just recently, an Indian motorcyclist overtook my female student suddenly on the left. I was shocked and appalled by what had happened. And the above motorcyclist had the audacity to raise his hand into the air as if in show of his disgust, when we nearly knocked into him.

In reality, the motorcyclist himself was at fault for overtaking on the left side in the first place. We were not at fault. It was the motorcyclist who was in reality at fault. He overtook us on the left!

4) Excessive speeding.

Although there is a national speed limit in Malaysia, nevertheless, this speed is unfortunately not followed too rigidly. For foreign readers consumption, trunk roads, for example, Klang to Kuala Lumpur, the maximum speed limit allowed is 80 km/h and 90 km/h. Expressways, which usually connects states, like the North-South expressways from Kuala Lumpur to Penang, for example, has a maximum speed limit of 110 km/h.

However, such speed limits are frequently not observed. A friend of mine, Jack, recently told me he drove a Perdana V6 going at 140 km/h. The above is only one classic example of people ignoring speed limits in the country.

5) Not stopping at junctions.

Many Malaysian drivers and motorcyclists have a tendency not to stop at junctions. More so when it is a junction where no traffic lights are installed. Even though there is a “stop, look, go” sign.

From observations made by me over a period of more than 40 years of tutoring students how to drive, I have arrived at a conclusion whereby most motorists come to a junction and straight away fail to stop at such junctions.

Due to impatience, drivers fail to stop. And instead of giving way to traffic, these drivers will instead shoot off straight into the road ahead and right into the path of on coming cars.

Such manner of driving can very easily cause accidents. If only all drivers, faithfully do their duty of stopping at junctions, then driving in Malaysia would be a dream and I am sure that the rate of accidents in our country would be greatly reduced.

6) Not wearing helmets as required by law.

Although there is a law which requires motorcyclists and its pillion riders to wear helmets, sad to note that especially in kampung areas or remote areas, people seem to ignore this ruling. Most motorcyclists do not bother to don helmets as required by the law. This has resulted in many deaths amongst motorcycle riders and its pillion.

The government on its part has launched many campaigns to encourage the public to use helmets. In one recent helmet campaign, a total of 135,000 Sirim approved helmets were given away to motorcyclists as an exchange for old and worn out helmets.

7) Failure to use indicators and signals when turning.

The use of signals and indicators when turning is essentially very important. What I have observed all these years is that Malaysian drivers and motorists fail to use these 2 items fully.

If only signals and indicators are used to its maximum capacity, then I feel that the number of accidents in the country can be easily be reduced.

8) Overtaking at double lines.

Overtaking at double lines is strictly disallowed. As such, no drivers should ever envisage to overtake at such places. Observations made by me over the years, surprisingly indicate that Malaysian drivers fail to adhere to this particular requirement.

Non adherence to this particular aspect of the law can go on to cause many accidents in our country.

9) Failure to stop at pedestrian crossings.

In Singapore, where failure to stop at pedestrian crossings is a serious violation of traffic laws, in Malaysia, unfortunately, motorists who choose not to stop at a pedestrian crossing are not dealt with as seriously as their counterparts in Singapore.

Unless and until Malaysian drivers are willing to change their mindset over giving way to pedestrian at pedestrian crossings, we will unfortunately continue to see violations at such crossings for a long time to come.

The above are 9 of the most common traffic violations committed by Malaysian drivers as well as motorcyclists.
These are violations observed by me over the years.

The Road Transport Department admits that a few things have gone wrong in our system. For one, poor enforcement unfortunately has to be said to be one of the causes. If enforcement had been effective, this will instill fear in motorists and they will not violate laws. This is why new learner drivers have to be educated accordingly so that they will become better drivers.

Another manner in which Malaysia drivers and motorcyclist can be trained as better drivers is through safety campaigns. Such campaigns must go on, even though they have been seen as not being effective enough.

Finally, the government wants those who are responsible for the above campaigns to be “people friendly” and accessible to the public.

I look forward to the launching of the new driving curriculum which will be introduced very shortly to the Malaysian public. Its aim as reiterated is a move to produce more law abiding, courteous and competent drivers as the P.M., Datuk Najib said himself.

Will our country succeed in our quest with the new driving curriculum? Even though it is believed “you are what you are”, nevertheless, an attempt can be made nonetheless. Who knows, anything can happen. We may very well succeed in our attempt!