I have been instructing students how to drive since 1970. That works out to be 42 years. In Malaysia today, most students who take up a driving course, usually end up taking a total of 8 to 16 hours of tuition.
Regarding the above course, there exists a few questions which readers might wish to inquire about. Amongst the questions the public would most probably wish to ask are:-
i) Is the above course sufficient enough to produce drivers who are capable to drive competently?
ii) Does one feel that present day drivers or probational drivers are driving too fast especially along our expressway! As a result, many tragic accidents seem to be happening again and again.
iii) Are the current driving school or institute syllabuses adequate to deal with the current rate of accidents taking place in our country?
Many people including myself hold the opinion that young students who have just obtained their “P” or probational driving licenses are believed to be:-
a) Driving too fast along our expressways. Some are believed to be driving well over 70km/h to 80km/h or even more.
b) It should be kept in mind that students who have just obtained their driving licenses have yet to attain their 18th birthday as yet. They are therefore still immature and very inexperienced.
c) Being hardly 18 years of age, most are believed to be unaware about the potential dangers of modern cars and are therefore incapable of driving safely and competently.
My hypothetical question which I wrote in another article in this blog, entitled “Should the Permissible Age of Obtaining a Car Driving License Be Raised to 18?”
However, this article has received many negative responses from parents and other quarters. Other recommendations which I have made rather frequently include as an experienced driver, parents should see to it that their children who have just recently obtained their driving licenses should be strictly supervised by them closely.
In short, the first few years of a person’s “P” or probational license period has to be monitored closely by their parents. At least for the first two years of the probational period, a constant parental observation has to be rendered.
What in reality do I propose? Obviously, I personally feel parents love their children or siblings too much. This prevents them following my well-intended suggestions.
Why do so many young drivers seem to be involved in accidents these days? Many young people seem to be involved in many accidents maybe because:-
i) Parents fail to realize or are unaware of the fact that their children or siblings are just only 17 years old. Most important of all, they seem to be oblivious to the fact that their children are still inexperienced.
Youngsters should therefore be advised to drive carefully and most important of all, do not speed! To drive safely along our expressways or lebuhraya, ample experiences are indeed required.
ii) To drive along our expressways and lebuhraya, a driver should have the ability not only to drive well but also to realize or know what speeds actually suits them.
iii) In order to be able to negotiate a sharp corner well and safely, a driver has to use the correct gears (in cases of manual cars). Besides this, a driver’s braking techniques are also important too.
One also has to ensure that over-steering does not occur. Over-steering can possibly lead to extreme dangers as the vehicle can go out of control. All these requirements, I believe are all beyond the capabilities of a young and inexperienced driver.
In my next article, I will share my thoughts on the perils of inexperience young Malaysian drivers on the road.
I have recently shifted to Malaysia. I was looking for driving courses and I found your blog. Would you suggest me any effective driving course?
Welcome to Malaysia. If you are in the vicinity of Klang town, we will be able to assist you.
If we want to be a better driver we have to undergo driving lesson. This was a good start because we will noticed the do’s and dont’s in driving.
I cannot but agree with you more regarding your contention that all potential students take up a professional diving course for safety sake.
Hello Cikgu Yap,
I read with great interest how you felt appalled when students who have just obtained their probationary licenses are driving at “well over 70km/h to 80km/h or even more”. In your article regarding buses, you also mentioned that bus drivers should drive at a speed of 60km/h in order to ensure safety.
As someone who has just recently switched from a PDL to a CDL less than a month ago, I do have to ask, with all due respect, whether you have considered that going slow on an expressway would also be extremely hazardous. I am definitely not for the idea of speeding, but to drive at such speeds below the speed limit on, say, the North-South Expressway would be dangerous and impractical if we were to consider a few things:
1. Even as a driver, if you have made the conscious decision to drive below the speed limit, it does not mean that other drivers will follow the speed limit.
Assume this speeding driver was driving at 120km/h, and a student holding a P license drove at 60km/h (I assume it as such as you were already flabbergasted at seeing speeds of 70km/h). This would mean the relative speed of approach is approximately 60km/h. For the driver who was speeding, would he have enough time to cut his speed by half? This is also under the assumption that he is driving on a straight road; I have seen drivers driving at 150km/h (by estimation) even when negotiating dangerous banks. Wouldn’t that be a hazard instead?
2. Consider a trip from Ipoh to Kuala Lumpur, which takes roughly 2 hours and 30 minutes to 3 hours from toll to toll when kept closely under the speed limit. Cutting the speed by half would mean that this trip will be extended to 5-6 hours! In this duration, it is indeed true that the driver is allowed to enter R&Rs and hentians to rest, release, relax, whatever. But it does not mean that the driver is completely free of fatigue. When the driver is tired and he/she loses concentration, he would be even more accident-prone than if he paid attention to the road and drove at ~110km/h in the 3 hours.
3. In a road filled with drivers driving at 60-70km/h, there would be an increased need for overtaking. Lucky you for staying near KL, as most expressways are equipped with 3 lanes for drivers going in one direction. Past Slim River, however, there would only be 2 lanes. Hence, on top of creating jams at peak hours and seasons (especially CNY; imagine a 3-hour trip taking 12 hours instead!), with some less experienced drivers overtaking, there is the heightened possibility of accidents.
4. I have to also mention that lorries and buses also overtake slow drivers. When driving at such a slow speed, these larger vehicles would no doubt sound the horn to gesture you to go faster. Whether or not these inexperienced drivers can deal with situations quickly is another thing to be seen. I have seen friends or other drivers on the road panicking when they are honked, either speeding up or braking for no reason, which has really nearly caused accidents!
I am not trying to brag, but with the guidance of my parents and their pointers, advice, etc I am one of the more considerate and competent drivers on the road despite not even reaching 20 yet (on a side note, I therefore disagree with the fact that age has to do with driving skills; it is really the experience that matters). It is with the trust that they have given me, and the consideration that I have others’ lives at risk, that has driven (pardon the pun) me to drive cautiously at all times, fast or slow. I therefore do not agree with the argument that parents “love their kids too much”; in fact, it is precisely because they love their kids that parents should take up the job of supervising their kids driving, giving pointers as an experienced driver when necessary.
Hence, I find an argument on P drivers or bus drivers operating at 60-70km/h on a road meant for 90-110km/h to be borderline absurd due to the aforementioned reasons. I do however agree with the other points, such as how there should be plenty of experience and practice before driving long distances.
I must also highlight and emphasize the importance of not speeding when the driver is tired! I have seen drivers of all ages dozing off despite driving at 110-120km/h. I would have to give them a long honk to wake them up, as they were already swerving around the road. A danger to all indeed.
The real dilemma on the subject of experience, is a catch-22 situation: inexperienced drivers should only speed up (but below the speed limit) when they are more accustomed to the car, ie. steering, braking, maneuvring, dealing with situations, making judgments etc, but it is precisely due to practice that drivers are more experienced. Where do we then draw the line, and when do we cross it to become more “experienced”? This is where advice should be given.
Suggested speed of 60 – 70 km/h up to individual to consider. Your other comments and observations are all taken into consideration. i agree that experience and not age determine a driver’s ability to drive. If one feels he / she is capable, then he / she can opt to travel faster, especially a long highways. But however, keep to the maximum national speed limit allowed.