The public is to note the following article :
[Click on the images for enlargement]
A foreigner's view on Malaysian drivers' adherence to the local highway code and find it uttlerly speechless and "insane".
This is Part I of a Q&A session with a foreigner. Part II continues next week.
Q. What is the most important rule of the road in Malaysia?
A. The most important rule is that you must arrive at your destination ahead of the car in front of you. This is the sacrosanct rule of driving in Malaysia. All other rules are subservient to this rule.
Q. What side of the road should you drive on in Malaysia?
A. 99.7% of cars drive on the left hand side, 0.2% on the right hand side, and 0.1% in reverse (be on the look out for drivers reversing at high speed in the left lane of freeways, having just missed their exit). Therefore, on the basis of 'majority rules', it is recommended that you drive on the left. However, be aware that only 90% of motorcyclists travel on the left hand side - the other 10% ride in the opposite direction or on the sidewalk. Fortunately, motor cyclists travelling in reverse are rarely seen.
Q. What are the white lines on the road?
A. These are known as lane markers and were used by the British in the colonial days to help them drive straight after consuming their gin and tonics. Today, their purpose is mainly decorative, although a double white line is used to indicate a place that is popular to overtake.
Q. When can I use the emergency lane?
A. You can use the emergency lane for any emergency, e.g. you are late for work, you left the toaster plugged in at home, you are bursting to go to the toilet, you have a toothache or you have just dropped a hot latte in your lap. As it is an emergency, you may drive at twice the speed of the other cars on the road.
Q. Do traffic lights have the same meaning as in other countries?
A. Not quite. Green is the same - that means "Go", but amber and red are different. Amber means "Go like hell" and red means "Stop if there is traffic coming in the other direction or if there is a policeman on the corner." Otherwise, red means the same as green. Note that for buses, red lights do not take effect until five seconds after the light has changed.
Q. What does the sign "Jalan Sehala" mean?
A. This means "One Way Street" and indicates a street where the traffic is required to travel in one direction. The arrow on the sign indicates the preferred direction of the traffic flow, but is not compulsory. If the traffic is not flowing in the direction in which you wish to travel, then reversing in that direction is the best option.
[Continue next Monday]