Malaysian Driving Habits

Malaysian driving habits take some getting used to.  The standard of driving in Malaysia is better than many countries and local drivers are mostly careful and defensive. Having said that there are a few peculiarities which the foreign visitor or resident needs to be aware of:

  • Lane Changing. Motorists in most countries employ the mirror, signal, manoeuvre habit when changing lanes. Malaysians for some reason rarely like to use the indicators for changing lane (perhaps to save wear and tear on the light bulb)? Instead they slowly drift over to the edge of their lane and then, if you let them, drift into your lane. This might be termed the ‘Malaysia Drift’ technique.
  • Late Night Driving. The quality of driving deteriorates markedly late at night with more boy racers, tailgaters and drunks on the road.
  • Motorbikes. Newcomers to Malaysia can find it disconcerting the way swarms of motorbikes dodge and weave through the traffic. Gradually you learn to ignore them. Just remember to make no sudden lane changes or turnings or you might knock one of these poor guys off his bike.
  • Traffic Lights. Discipline at traffic lights could be better. It is not uncommon to see people go through a red light if the road is clear. Motorcyclists often think that traffic lights do not apply to them.


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