My institute, which happens to be in the vicinity of Klang, very recently implemented a second test route for its road test. The institute, was infact started way back in 1999. The above institute represents one of the four, fairly large establishments catering for driving students who opt to secure a driving license.
For over more than 10 years, even though, the institute had 2 routes, Route A and Route B, the authorities, that is, the Road Transport Department (RTD) hardly used Route B. It was only during certain occasions, like when massive jams occurred, that officials of the RTD chose to take students along its alternative route or Route B.
But approximately some 6 months ago, when daily massive jams begin to develop, that the authorities began to seriously ponder over the possibility of using route 2 which the institute in reality possesses. Before I attempt to talk about route 2, it would be appropriate to first and foremost talk about route 1 in itself.
Both the routes in fact are of the same distance. Each of the above routes or jalanraya covers distance of some more than 7 ½ kilometers. It takes some 15 – 20 minutes for a candidate to complete the entire test route, bearing in mind that traffic flow is normal on that particular day.
Why did the RTD finally decide to use the alternative or the 2nd test route?
If I were to be asked to give the reasons which finally let the authorities to make a switch of test routes, amongst the reasons why it was done must surely include:-
i. Of late, traffic volume along route 1 was getting more and more congested. Where it used to take a tester approximately 15 to 20 minutes to test a candidate, heavy congestions of late, had resulted in a candidate taking 35- 40 minutes to complete his o her tests.
ii. The institute is located in a very densely populated industrial area. Such being the case, heavy vehicles, which included large lorries, trailers and at times bull-dozers and excavators as well, used to ply the usual routes along which our institute had go through.
In my opinion, this route, is in fact a very dangerous one o follow. Testing a candidate is one thing. It has to be done, without a doubt. But for the authorities to subject a candidate, especially young ones between the ages of 17 to 18, to such high risks and dangers, is definitely not the right choice.
The authorities decision to switch over to route B is in my opinion, an indeed a very wise move. In fact, this instructor of 45 over years of experience, applauds the RTD! A good decision.
iii. Another major reason why Route A was no longer suitable to be used as a test route, I feel, must surely be that the roundabout, which is a 7 pronged roundabout, is so chaotic and dangerous, especially for students who are out on a practical test run is no longer viable. Even with traffic policemen manning the junctions, traffic conditions is utterly disastrous and chaotic.
To subject life and limb to such crazy conditions is utter madness. Therefore RTD’s decision to make use of route B more, is something to be appreciated.
Now, let us move on to talk more about test route B. With this move, it is hoped potential students who are currently not too well versed with this route will gain from this short article.
How does a candidate go about dealing with this route?
As usual, like in test route A, a student out on a practical test with a RTD tester, should first and foremost wish the official good morning or selamat pagi.
A student has to check some compulsory things such as:
i. Adjust the seat
ii. Wear the safety belt
iii. Make sure that the gear is in neutral before attempting to switch on the ignition keys
iv. Then adjust the driver’s rear view mirror and the right/left hand side mirrors too
v. Test the vehicle’s horn
vi. Test the car wipers (apply spraying of water on the windscreen too)
vii. Do not forget to disengage the handbrake before taking off
viii. Install the indicators to the right and
ix. Look to right to ensure no traffic is approaching from the right before taking off
For readers’ information, Route B, like previously in Route A, starts right in front of the institute’s office.
What are a few landmarks for a candidate to observe while doing Route B? The first landmark to observe is obviously the guardhouse of the institute.
What do you do here?
i. Stop approximately 2 meters behind the white line
ii. Pull up the handbrake
iii. Then, engage gear one
iv. Install your indicator to the left
v. When both sides are clear of traffic, then move out
After proceeding some hundred meters or so, you’ll come to another T junction.
i. Again stop about 2 meters behind the white line
ii. Again, pull up the handbrake
iii. Engage your indicator this time to the right
iv. You are advised not to move out until both sides are clear of traffic
v. While coming out, you’ll meet a very sharp corner. Make sure that you’re able to pull back the steering fast enough and not to cross the centre line dividing the road. Cross the middle line will cause you to fail.
The next landmark you’ll meet is the Stop, Look, Go sign indicating that you are now coming on into the main road, with lots of heavy traffic.
What is a candidate expected to do here? As the road junction here is slopping backwards, you’ll obviously have to:
i. Pull up the handbrake and free the gear
ii. Ensure that your car is pointing towards the left
iii. Engage your signal/ indicator to the left
iv. You have to balance your clutch and accelerator well, in order to go up the slope properly
v. Go out of the junction only when the coast is clear and there is no danger
vi. As you come out of this dangerous junction, look at the right hand side mirror, to make sure that no cars are approaching from the back
After coming out from this difficult junction, keep left and proceed some two to three hundred meters. You are now approaching a busy, traffic light ahead.
You are now supposed to turn left, coming infront of the Econ Mart supermarket, which is situated on the left. After this, a candidate has to drive, in a less traffic congested area for some one kilometer, before he arrives at a roundabout. This roundabout, unlike the one in route 1, which is a busy 7 pronged roundabout with lots of heavy traffic, has surprisingly traffic light only. Ideally change down to 2nd gear to negotiate the roundabout well.
Remember to allow traffic from the right to go first. Take the entire roundabout. You will be approaching the traffic light again after passing the Econ mart supermarket which is now situated on your right hand side. Keep to the right lane ideally. Remember not to forget to install your indicator to the right.
The next landmark a candidate should be looking for is actually the BP petrol station. It’s on the left side of the traffic light, which you’ll be turning into your right. When you intend to turn to the right at a traffic light, ideally you should follow the right lane. If you want another landmark to assist you, I would advise you to look for the well known Restaurant Rong Sheng, which is located on the left hand side of the traffic light mentioned earlier.
Travel along this road carefully. Be careful of young motorcyclists, without helmets along this road. At the end of this 300 – 400 meters kampung road, turn to your right. You’ll now cross infront of the Chong Hua Secondary School, which is infact on your right hand side. To travel along this deserted stretch of road, you’ll meet one or two speedbreakers or humps. A candidate should ask his driving instructor to teach him or her the proper manners of crossing such obstacles.
On entering institute’s premises, make sure you go down to 2nd gear. You, I’m sure know, where the practical test ends. Infront of the institute’s office, next to the flagpoles.
Finally, say thank you to the tester. And ask him or her if you should switch off the car engine or otherwise. Follow the advice given.
Before concluding this article on my institute’s 2nd test route, I believe that I should relate to you an interesting anecdote. Last week, this instructor tested a young secondary student, Ee Siang. Half way through the practical road test, the above student noted the tester was pleased with his performance overall. He had been given 18 out of 20 for his driving. You see, I have infact, taught him quite well.
Unfortunately, before the test ended, Ee Siang saw a pool of water ahead of him. In reality, it had been raining the day before. When the young student, saw the pool of water, he felt that he should slow down instinctively.
Unfortunately for Ee Siang, he stepped on the brake too abruptly. His tester had at that particular time been taking a sip out of his mineral water bottle. The candidate’s abrupt braking techniques caused water to spill all over the tester.
Ee Siang burst out laughing. Then he realised his folly and quickly apologized for his misbehavior. The tester looked angry as he turned towards the young candidate. The tester took out his pen and deducted 1 mark from candidate’s mark sheet.
Obviously, and rightly I conclude, the tester felt that my candidate had not driven in a becoming manner as expected from a candidate on test! All’s well that ends well. Inspite of this funny incident, yet my student passed finally.