14 Tips For Malaysians Driving In United Kingdom

Today’s article is intended to talk about the rules and regulations for Malaysian driver if they are planning to drive in the United Kingdom (U.K.). Below is a list of 14 things they are expected to follow:

1) Drive on the left side of the road.

Malaysian drivers should have no problem at all with this. Malaysia, being a former colony of England, and ruled by the British until 1957, adopts the British form of driving. Therefore, drive like you usually do in Malaysia.

2) Roundabout, giving way to traffic from the right.

At roundabouts, give way to traffic coming from the right.

At traffic junctions, the right has the “right of way”, so they say. I assume there will be no problem at all here.

3) No drinking of alcoholic drinks allowed.

As in Malaysia, drivers are not allowed to consume alcohol drinks and drive. Malaysians are fully aware of the consequences of drinking and driving.

Again, no problem with regard to this requirement. It’s after all, a continuation of what Malaysians have been doing all along.

4) Speed limits required.

When driving in the U.K., there are certain speed limits one has to observe. In Malaysia, speed limits followed are:

i) School vicinity – 30km/h.

ii) Town limit – 50 km/h.

iii) Between towns – 60 km/h.

iv) Highways/ expressways – 90 km/h.

Keeping to roughly the same speed, as you normally do in Malaysia should keep you well within the laws of the United Kingdom.

5) Reporting all accidents within 24 hours.

Like they do in Malaysia, drivers have to lodge a police report within 24 hours of an accident. Failing to do so is an offense in the U.K. As they say, “Do like the Romans do when you’re in Rome”. Adopt the maxim and you should have no problem at all.

6) Overtaking in the right hand side.

Remember, as drivers, overtake only on the right. Do not overtake on the left because it is dangerous. Overtaking on the left, in case you are not aware is permitted only in extreme and necessary cases.

And only when the traffic in front of you is attempting to turn to the right. Only then can a driver overtake on the left.

7) No usage of mobile phones allowed.

While driving in the U.K., absolutely no usage of hand phones are allowed. You are advised to use hands free equipment. It’s supposed to be safer.

Malaysian, I gather will have no problem at all with this ruling. We, in fact have been practicing this all this while.

8) The permissible age of driving is 17 years for small vehicles and 21 years for large vehicles.

This I’m sure is not a problem as far as Malaysian drivers are concerned. For years, Malaysians have been drummed into their ears that no one is permitted to drive unless they are of age.

9) Time limit for driving in the U.K.

The period allowed for a Malaysian driver who wish to drive in the U.K., according to the Department of Vehicles Licensing Authorities (D.V.L.A.) of Swansea is 12 months.

After expiry of this period, Malaysian drivers should get a British provisional license out, follow all pertinent regulations and eventually secure a full British driving license.

10) Conversion to full British license.

Being a resident of the U.K., a Malaysian with a driving license cannot convert his license into a British one. Why is this so, you might be tempted to ask?

Well, the story goes like this.

Malaysia it seems has a high rate of accidents. The 3rd highest in the world behind China and India. The British authorities, it appears are rather reluctant to accept Malaysian licenses for conversion.

But as I understand, certain designated countries like Canada, Australia, Singapore, Japan, even Hong Kong can easily convert their domestic licenses into full British licenses.

Just too bad for Malaysians. Well, as they say, “you can’t win them all, can you?” Anyway, as a Malaysian, you are entitled to attempt getting a full British licenses on your own although it is not an easy task.

11) Inform the authorities if you’re suffering from any chronic illness or diseases.

As a driver, if you are suffering from any chronic illness or disease, the onus is on you as a responsible driver to inform the authorities about it.

12) 3rd party insurance policy.

As in Malaysia, a driver has to be covered by at least 3rd party insurance. That’s the law in the United Kingdom. So, should you intend to rent a car, see to it that you get the necessary required motor insurance unless you fancy being behind bars.

13) Maximum age limit for drivers is 70 years old.

If you are 70 years and below, you will have no problem at all driving in the U.K. After this age, special permission are required from the British driving license board.

In Malaysia, the Road Transport Department appears a bit laxed on this requirement. In Malaysia, you can continue to drive as long as you are still fit and capable.

But in England, remember, it is different altogether. So, the moment you reach the golden age of 70, the best advice you can be given by me is stop driving and take the underground train.

14) Bringing in foreign vehicles into U.K.

In case you are unaware, foreign vehicles, say from France or Germany can be brought into U.K. for a period of 6 months or 12 months. However, there are certain rules and regulations which you must abide with. Amongst them are:

i) All taxes (including excise duty) must be paid in its country of origin.

ii) Registered vehicles in the U.K. should display the vehicle excise license.

iii) All vehicles over 3 years old should be submitted to the Road Transport Authority for an examination or test.

I have done an extensive article for all your driving requirements in the U.K. Especially, for my fellow Malaysians who intend to drive in the United Kingdom.

It is not possible in any article to touch upon every aspect you may face in a foreign country. For that, I do apologies.

However, if you should face any problems not covered by this article, you are advised to contact the D.V.L.A. at Swansea, England, for their assistance.

Happy and safe driving to all drivers, especially Malaysian origins in the United Kingdom!

By | 2010-10-16T10:31:03+08:00 June 9th, 2010|Driving Tips|8 Comments

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  1. Alamk June 15, 2010 at 3:19 pm - Reply

    HI Cikgu,
    I am from Pakistan working in Cyberjaya. I am driving in Pakistan since 2001 and have local license there.

    I applied for my driving license and received a strange comments from JPJ today (15-06-2010) saying that they reject my appllication because i do not fall in the Critical skills list and further they say that i can drive if i have my original license and Letter for Pakistan Embassy. I asked the person at JPJ how will Police know about this so they say you can buy a book of driving code and refer section 28.

    I want to ask you is this true and if so why then anyone need to apply for Malaysian Drivers license and also why did they take my application if i was not eligible :S

    Please advise

  2. Visa June 22, 2010 at 1:44 pm - Reply


    I am foreigner. I would like to get the Driving license. I am working here. So please guide me how can I obtain the license. At the same time I dont know driving also.

  3. sasa July 8, 2010 at 1:05 pm - Reply

    Hi Cikgu Yap,

    I am currently studying in Melbourne. Have obtained an international licence last year which is only valid for one year and will be expiring soon. Would I be able to renew my international licence online or at the malaysia consulate in perth? or do I have to bring it back to Malaysia to renew my licence?

    • Cikgu Yap July 10, 2010 at 11:46 am - Reply

      IDL is for 1 year only. You cannot renew it overseas or at Malaysian consulate / embassy. Either come home personally or send it back to get someone to get it renewed.

  4. Kelvin L October 14, 2010 at 12:36 pm - Reply

    Hello Cikgu Yap, it is nice to read your articles on driving. Keep up the good work!

    I received my license in 2000 but did not drive much as I felt Malaysian roads are just too dangerous. However, I am now in Germany and have just gotten my EU driver’s license 3 months ago and have started discovering my lost interest of driving again!

    I really like to know your thoughts on the Malaysian curriculum (pros and cons). I’ll share some of the German driver’s curriculum here.

    1. To get a passenger car license (B) under 3.5 tonnes one has to be min 18 yrs old (17 yrs old for accompanied driving)
    2. I have to take a first aid course and pass an eye exam.
    3. I then have to undergo 14×1.5 hrs of theory classes covering a wide range of traffic safety, rules and basic vehicle maintenance.
    4. While doing that, I underwent practical training with the instructor. It covers city driving, country road driving, highway driving, night-time driving, parking etc. I did a total of almost 16 hrs (I’m not sure of the min required but I had driving experience)
    5. Theory exam consists of 30 questions with a total of 110 marks, to pass we cannot have more than a deduction of 10 marks and not made out of 2 5 mark questions.
    6. Practical exam is min of 45 mins, instructor sits on passenger seat, examiner on back seat. Examiner gives directions on where to go and there is no fixed route. Exam can and will consist of highway driving, city driving, parking etc.
    7. If all goes well, you get the license!

    So do you think there should be a change of the syllabus in Malaysia? I am curious because due to my Malaysian license, I am not allowed to drive here but my Singaporean friends need to only pay 50 euros and get a full EU license.

    Also I have a question: What is the speed limit in city limits in Msia, housing area and country roads?

    In Germany, 50km/h in city inner limits, 30km/h in some housing areas, country roads 100km/h (unless otherwise specified). Autobahn recommended 130km/h with min 60km/h.

    Feel free to email me.


    • Cikgu Yap October 17, 2010 at 7:27 am - Reply

      Your sharing with all German curriculum is both interesting and information. Thank you.

      There certainly should be a change of syllabus in Malaysia. It’s unfortunate, but certain European nations do not accept Malaysian licenses. It’s said to be below par.

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