With how Malaysian drivers act on the road, driving in Malaysia can definitely get stressful. It can be difficult for tourists and citizens alike, so this begs the question: why are Malaysian drivers so bad?
On average, Malaysians are bad drivers because they often disregard traffic rules. When on the road, they do not follow basic rules involving traffic lights, speed limits, overtaking, and much more.
Driving in Malaysia can be an extreme sport because of the indifference of most Malaysian drivers to the rules and to those around them. But how does this indifference actually show?
1. Malaysian drivers lack proper driving discipline
Malaysian drivers tend to be reckless and impatient. This kind of behavior shows their lack of discipline, which can lead to accidents that are easily avoidable.
2. Most Malaysian drivers do not follow traffic rules.
In general, drivers in Malaysia disregard the most basic of traffic rules, especially when it comes to merging or navigating in roundabouts. They can cut across two or even three lanes at a time when entering or exiting a roundabout.
3. Many drivers from Malaysia drive with “road rage.”
There are a lot of aggressive drivers in Malaysia, and it doesn’t help that they are also impatient. Loud and long beeping, cutting off a car in another lane, and rude hand signals are common in the country.
4. Drivers do not give their full attention to the road.
Most Malaysian drivers use their cell phones while on the road. Since they are distracted, they can’t focus on driving and end up causing accidents and inconveniences to other riders.
5. Some do not stop to let pedestrians cross.
Drivers in Malaysia have a tendency to treat pedestrian crossing lanes like finish lines in a race– in that they go so fast over them as if trying to win a race. Most drivers just go past them while some drive even faster if they see one coming.
6. A lot of drivers overtake on the wrong side of the road.
In Malaysia, overtaking happens on the right lane or the “fast lane” instead of the left. And yet, there are a lot of drivers who still overtake on the left lane, not caring about it being illegal or unsafe.
7. Malaysian drivers switch lanes carelessly.
On average, Malaysian drivers do not use their indicator lights when switching lanes. Even if they do, they turn it on at the very last possible second before doing the actual switching.
8. Most go over the speed limit.
No matter where they are driving, most Malaysian drivers go at such high speeds. Even in places where it’s better to drive slowly and safely, a lot of drivers go way over the speed limit.
9. Some Malaysian drivers illegally use the emergency lane.
A lot of drivers in Malaysia tend to misuse emergency lanes. They see this lane as an extra lane to get into but they eventually end up delaying actual emergency vehicles or causing major accidents.
What contributes to the bad driving habits of Malaysian drivers?
There is a lot to be said about the negative habits of Malaysian drivers. However, they can’t be blamed entirely for how they act on the road.
Some notable causes of the bad traits of drivers in Malaysia are the road conditions and the lack of proper traffic law enforcement.
Subpar Road Conditions
According to a study by Zutobi in 2022, Malaysia has the 12th lowest score in the world in terms of road quality.
Its score of 3.32 out of 10 is based on road quality, percentage changes in road quality over the last five years, number of road deaths per 100,000 people, and size of road networks.
This is mainly due to negligence in maintaining road infrastructure, leading to potholes and damaged roads. There is also a general lack of funding and maintenance for most of the smaller roads in the country.
With that being said, it can be annoying and difficult to drive on those kinds of roads. It’s no wonder that some Malaysian drivers end up frustrated, leading to them showing the bad habits mentioned above.
Poor Enforcement of Traffic Laws
Like in many other countries, Malaysia does have a great number of traffic laws in place. Still, those laws need to be properly enforced for people to actually follow them.
Some Malaysian drivers report that other cars on the road commit multiple driving errors, but that police don’t actually do anything to catch them. Other drivers only follow traffic rules if they see a police car or police officers.
Even if poor enforcement has been the norm for a while, it can still change. Malaysia’s Road Transport Department, or Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan, issued 1,233 notices for traffic offenses during the 2023 Lunar New Year.
It is important that Malaysia’s government is starting to take traffic law enforcement more seriously. This can help lessen the number of Malaysian drivers who make driving in Malaysia a nerve-wracking experience.
Final Thoughts on the Bad Habits of Malaysian Drivers
Drivers in Malaysia have an image of being bad drivers, and that’s for a good reason. From obeying simple traffic rules to being unnecessarily aggressive, Malaysian drivers have several negative driving habits.
Disregarding traffic rules can cause accidents, making it a necessity to have some form of car or motorcycle insurance in Malaysia. There are also car rental services that include insurance as part of their car packages.
It’s necessary to have safeguards against reckless drivers, with insurance offering the best protection possible. Still, it can’t hurt to invest in added car tech like dash cams that can capture
Among other things, poor road infrastructure and lack of proper traffic law enforcement are some of the causes of Malaysian drivers’ poor driving skills and etiquette.
The negative perception of Malaysian drivers can improve, but only if there are major changes in Malaysia’s government and its citizens.