Safety Driving Tips – Don’t Take Chances

A Good Driver In Fact Does Not Take Chances

As a young lad playing football, I sometimes take chances. Playing as a centre forward, the moment I observe the opponent goalkeeper out of position, I take the opportunity of slamming the ball at the goal. Of course, my attempts are sometimes successful and sometimes not.

But today, we are not discussing about the game of football. This article is all about driving safety.

In driving, a good driver is advised not to take chances. Taking chances, in driving school circles is deemed as flaunting one’s luck. In Bahasa Malaysia, this is termed menguji nasib.

Let’s take the example of overtaking for instance. As a lecturer for the Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu (K.P.P.) course, I always emphasize upon a driver to overtake only when the situation is safe.

As such, my students are advised that they should never at all attempt to overtake a vehicle especially when there is an on-coming car approaching ahead.

The maxim to remember is, “you only live once”. A good driver should always keep in mind, make a mistake and you are as good as gone, they say.

So, dear readers, in driving do not assume certain things. To be safe, in reality, a driver should always insist upon a 100% certainty, before he does something.

In this article, I will try to think of instances that support this maxim of not taking chances while we drive.

Case 1

This is about the question of spare keys. Although I have often advised my students that they should always have a spare key with them as they drive every where all over the place, in fact, I myself have never followed this advice. Because I have always ascribed to the belief that nothing unfortunate would befall me. Until it happened one day!

While going to the latrine one fine day, my bunch of car keys slipped into the toilet bowl at Janda Baik, near Genting Hihglands. I panicked, and with no spare keys with me, I had no other alternative but to roll up my long sleeves and put my entire arm into the toilet bowl to try to retrieve it.

I was at that time about 150 km away from home. And to try and come home to get a spare key would take too much time. Not forgetting also the enormous expenses it would entail to carry out such a mission.

Unfortunately, my attempts to retrieve my car keys which had fallen into the toilet bowl failed. They keys could not be found.

The above unfortunate incident taught me a costly lesson. From henceforth, I have learnt a valuable lesson which is to keep a spare key of my car in my wallet always.

As I reiterated earlier, a good driver should not assume that such incidents cannot happen to you. You have to be prepared for such eventualities to take place.

Case 2

A few days ago, as I was reaching a main thoroughfare ahead, bad road conditions and large holes forced me to veer right, before turning left.

Before turning, luckily I looked over my left shoulder. In surprise, I saw a driver who was following me from behind, driving very fast and was about to overtake me on the left side!

Aborting my attempt to turn left, prevented a nasty accident from taking place. What had happened was, I assumed I had wanted to go right. And the driver following me from behind had decided to overtake me on the left instead. The driver following me from behind had made a wrong assumption!

So to all blog readers, you are advised never to make an assumption while you are driving. Always make sure a 100% what the driver in front of you is about to do before you react. You see, no one can foresee what the driver is about to do.

Case 3

A third example to emphasize to you that you should never make an assumption while you are driving is this. At times, we see a driver approaching us from the right, with his signal lights flashing away. We make the assumption that he would be taking a turn into the lane next to us.

Most drivers would decide moving ahead to cross the road. Don’t be surprised however, if suddenly the driver makes a decision to go straight ahead instead.

If you assume that the driver is about to turn to his left, your proceeding ahead will land you in a nasty crash with the driver. And in the end, you will be cited as being responsible for the accident.

You see, the driver whose signal lights were flashing away wildly had in fact forgotten about putting off the signals, which he may have put on for an earlier use.

Case 4

Drivers sometimes would wish to make a U-turn. Ahead of us, let’s say is a vehicle. As drivers, we are times uncertain if we could or not be able to execute the U-turn successfully or otherwise. Under such circumstances, it’s best we stop, reverse, turn left a little bit and then go forward again.

In this manner, we will be a able to ensure that our car will not be involved in any accident at all. So, the maxim that should be practiced should be, in cases of uncertainty, or if we’re not a 100% certain, the best advice that can be given would be abort the move, reverse, turn left and after that only move forward.

We have then avoided an uncertainty, one which my likely have resulted in a mishap.

Cars cost a lot of money to repair. Remember, do not attempt to take chances in anyway. A trip to the workshop is a costly affair.

Case 5

The final example which I would I would like to tell you is this. As we approach a traffic light, it’s normal for any driver to speed up as the lights begin to turn amber. Most drivers would like to beat the lights, if they can.

In such a situation, we are in fact assuming that drivers in front of us would think in the same way we are thinking. That they would speed up and beat the traffic light like us.

What if they decide otherwise? What if the driver ahead of us were to decide to stop instead?

Your speeding up behind him would entail your having to perform an emergency stop to avoid ploughing into the driver in front of you.

A driver who crashed into a vehicle at a traffic light is at fault. Can you imagine what it would get you into if that should happen?

With the number of examples and instances that I have given you thus far, I sincerely hope you will be influenced to take my advice of not adopting a policy of “assumption”, especially when you are driving.

Think about it carefully. Ponder over it.

And if you think what I am advocating is worth practicing, then by all means, adopt it. If not, you can always chuck it away if you so desire. After all, that’s what advice are.

Drive carefully!

By | 2012-09-22T00:07:53+08:00 March 25th, 2010|Driving Safety|4 Comments

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  1. Naomi March 20, 2012 at 8:05 pm - Reply

    Hello Cikgu Yap,

    I need your advise on how to transfer the car ownership. i paid the full sum to the owner and i have the payment slip. somehow the current owner keep on delaying the process. i do not know if the grant is still with the bank (KL) or not but according to the bank that car has been fully paid. however, the car is with me but nothing much i can do since the road tax & insurance had expired long time ago. i admit my mistake by making full payment without him surrendered the documents first. As the owner is in kedah, he makes lot of excuses as he can’t be here in KL to do those things. if he still refuses, what should i do. should i make a police report. btw i do not want to charge him or anything, just to get this transfer done.

    • Cikgu Yap March 21, 2012 at 10:53 am - Reply

      In one of my article in the blog, I have often warned buyers not to make full payment if you do not know much about buying and selling of vehicles. It’s no use having the vehicle physically and payment slip. More important is to get hold of the Registration Card immediately.

      From my observations, the current owner will play “cat and mouse” with you, using delaying tactics to suit him. You are in KL and he the seller is in Kedah. It’s going an uphill task trying to contact him. Besides, there are the required documents, photostat identity cards and Puspakom inspections to think about. I sympathises with what you have gotten yourself into.

  2. Samantha October 22, 2012 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    Hi Cikgu,

    I’ve been following your useful road tips for ages now, haven’t got the chance to give my compliment to your wise advises till now when I myself face some issues to drive in Australia using malaysian license, I feel like to get professional advise and I would really appreciate it if you can give me one word or two.

    I owned a legal Malaysian “D” license and unfortunately it is not acceptable for Australia’s road use.. Upon further investigation, I found out we can get formal recognised translation for malaysia license to save the trouble to get aussies’ license or to get international license, is this true?
    Thanks for spending time for this.

    Kind regards,
    Mei L

    • Cikgu Yap October 24, 2012 at 11:23 am - Reply

      I am uncertain where you got your information. As fas as I’m aware, Malaysian license is acceptable for use in Australia. Maybe you might have to get your license translated in English, that’s all.

      There is no necessity to do a retest or to get an IDL. You are allowed to drive in Australia with a Malaysian license for approximately 120 days. If however you intend to drive longer than that period stipulated above, then you’ll have to take steps to do a retest.

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