Malaysia Insider

Malaysia insider

Driven by distractions

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Kuala Lumpur may boast some of the worst traffic jams on the planet, but I like driving here. Seriously.

In Australia, you guys have archaic things such as the "right of way" and "manners", which do nothing other than to slow us all down. After all, how safe can it be for me to squeeze my car through the 3cm-gap you've been generous enough to leave, while I've got one hand off the steering wheel in readiness to say thanks?

Here in KL, if I see a small gap, I'm in it like a shot. Why? Because I know the driver isn't half asleep. He's already got the brakes covered in anticipation that each car is fighting to get an inch ahead of everything else on the road.

Repeat the same exercise in Sydney and a crash followed by a sound beating will result.

It may not be polite but the lack of motoring etiquette seems to give driving an air of stock-car rallying. The road is more of a track than a highway and I find that exciting.

Did you know that in the UK, you can be prosecuted for eating a chocky bar while you drive? Here, I've zipped past a patrol car with a plastic plate of fried rice on my lap, a fork in one hand and a can of Coke in the other. Is it big or clever? No. But it is bloody convenient!

Have you ever tried driving in Asia? Tell us about it.

User comments
Hey Guys, I was born n bred in Malaysia, now currently living in Brissy. I would like to welcome you all to Malaysia,where most of us are really nice when we meet, but a different person on the road
Hi well I have spent 6mths in Malaysia (K L) drove everywhere night and days what a time we had. Never had a prang, lots of tight squeezes, Traffic keeps going, No road rage. I come back to Australia, and on the 3rd day back wouln't you know it a 3ft wide concrete post jumped out in front of me. And there was 10ft either side of it. All I can say is how I love driving in Malaysia.
My first trip to Asia was a work trip to Bangkok for a long weekend. After falling in love with the heavy humidity after walking out of the airport we jumped in our hotel transfer and were given bottles of cold water. Not realising that the rest of the party were more experienced travellers I went to put my seatbelt on... not being able to find it I politely asked the driver, who in return politely said that there were no seatbelts. At this stage my colleagues said "Oh! First time... you might want to hold on to something". During the trip between the airport and our hotel on Sukhumvit Rd I thought I was going to die at least 10 times. A couple of days later in a tuk-tuk provoked much the same feeling - but geez it was so much fun!! Dining with the sales manager of our hotel (who was Norweigan and lived in Bangkok for several years) we asked him what he thought of the driving, and how on earth could he do it?? He responded with a simple "You just don't look back".
cn relate to story manila is no mean feat most drive to road rules of survival of the dominering buses jeepneys TAXIES
How I can relate to that. After living in Korea I know what they mean when people say "Where did you get your licence - in a weetbix packet". Buses, cars (moving and parked) and pedestrians travel both ways in what can best be described as a one way street and peak hour outside of Central station in Seoul - what a nightmare (our population in one city). But guess what - there is minimal accidents in these situations and everyone else is aware and waiting in expectation of what the next driver is doing. The same is true throughout the country and want to turn a corner or do a u turn and there is not enough room - well go on the footpath to get to the next street or turn around. Exciting - you bet, nerve racking - no.
in my travels , i felt the worse drivers were in tehran closely followed by shanghai, when driving in thailand a farang must always have baht200 handy as the police like to fine farangs for driving there?jakarta was pretty bad too, singapore used to be bad, then they painted lines on the road, its nearly civilised now? the taxis with gps in the meter get a speeding fine in the mail, theyre monitored, trucks hava a red light on the roof that illuminates when the truck exceeds a certain speed, big brother is alive and prospering in singapore!
Was there in July 2004 for holiday with then gf. Drove from KUL to Penang, Ipoh, Cameron Highlands back to KUL. On the tollroad, limit is 100kmh but dont go in the rh lane unless doing over 125kmh. Roadwork limits ignored and speeding is done point to point on the tollroad. Vespas are king of the road, they line up 50 at the lights waiting for the green coming through the waiting cars. Some are modified and can do 80kmh easily. Cameron Highlands requires nerves of steel for 70 km up and down hill, alternate left, 90 degree turns. Expect people to overtake on this road and have an escape route at all times!!! In KUL, the tollroads are the quickest way around, the city traffic you have to know where you are going and often have to go away from your desto to get there. Otherwise an enjoyable and enlightening experience... and a good way to get grey hairs in a big hurry!!!!!

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