Going to driving school is a rite of passage for most Malaysian motorists, but it’s been known for years that the syllabus in our driving school leaves new drivers woefully unprepared for the open roads. Some might get some driving advice from their parents, but for the most part, the only way to learn is through experience. In other countries like Australia, qualifying for a driver’s license requires many hours of guided on-the-road driving day and night, and of course in countries like Finland, there are many more car control techniques worked into the syllabus as well. But here are five tips that we feel most drivers should know.
1. Turn on your lights in the car park
With most modern car instrument clusters and bright car park lighting, it has become increasingly common to see drivers exiting car parks without their headlights on. More often than not, it’s only when they reach an unlit section of road do they realize they need to switch their lights on. Turning on your lights is important for other road users as much as it is important for you because it makes your car more visible to motorists all around.
2. Green lights don’t always mean go
This is where we delve a little into defensive driving, and situational awareness. Often times, you might be driving down a road, seeing a green light in the distance and think you would be able to speed past that. But even though you have the right of way, there are other cars and motorbikes out there who might jump the red light to get through, resulting in an accident. The best thing to do is to approach the traffic lights at a regular speed and be ready to hit the brakes if something comes out in front of you.
3. Keep a safe distance
Tailgating may be frowned upon, but most Malaysian drivers don’t realize that their following distance is still a little too close. When you follow behind a car, you should be far back enough to brake safely in case traffic comes to a sudden stop. Although keeping a distance might “invite” another car to slot into the space between, it is way better than a potential car pileup.
4. Speed up to merge onto the highway
One important thing to learn when driving is the speed difference between highways and regular town roads. When you join a highway, you should accelerate as quickly as possible on the access ramp to get up to speed before you reach the merge in the road. Travelling too slowly can be extremely dangerous as you might come out in front of a lorry that will not be able to slow down in time.
5. There’s a night time mode for your rear-view mirror
Many people don’t realize that their main rear-view mirror has a night time mode which cuts a lot of the glare out. Granted, it also darkens most of the image – but it shows you the headlights of the cars behind with precision, without creating glare. If your car doesn’t do this electronically, all you need to do is pull the little tab at the bottom of your mirror towards you. Don’t forget to flip it back the other way when you’re done.
With these few tips, we hope they will help you be a little safer on the roads. If you have anything you’d like to add, let us know in the comment section below.
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