Driving in KL: how to

driving in KL

Nobody walks in KL. They just don’t. Not even to the shop across the road. You drive, lah!

This post was written by a friend, let’s call her MamaK, soon after she arrived in KL with her family. I am guessing many of us can relate to this ‘driving in KL’ list written with a tongue in cheek! Have a great weekend and stay safe in the traffic!

driving in KL

Over the last four months we have seen many, many things that could only happen in Malaysia. Malaysia Boleh! Malaysia can! After driving in the UK, it took a while to adjust to the local style. But these observations allowed us to adjust our style to fit in with the local customs:

1. The number of lanes on the road is determined by how many cars can fit the width.

2. Road markings are for guidance only. This includes lanes, give way signs and pedestrian crossings. Friends, if you visit Malaysia please remember pedestrian crossings are decorative and serve no other purpose. Do not step out in front of any cars. They will not stop and wonder what you crazy foreigners are doing!

3. The hard shoulder is an overflow lane during rush hour so don’t break down, ok?

4. Scooters are fast pedestrians and can therefore drive on the road, foot path, weave in and out of traffic, drive in any direction on any road, cross at pedestrian lights (which are few and far between) and park anywhere.

5. Indicators – indi what lah? When you want to change lanes drift slowly.

6. Always keep moving. Even when the traffic is gridlocked keep inching forward.

7. Give way rule is: whichever car is in front, even if only by one millimetre, has right of way.

8. Can park anywhere as long as left-most or right-most lane. Parking on highway no problem. Double parking on main road also can lah. Especially if for school pick up or drop off.

9. Missed your ramp? No problem, just reverse back onto highway and go straight. Not sure if this is your off ramp? Just stop at off ramp junction till you figure it out.

Driving in KL, what else?

We have also seen a burning bus on the side of the road. Really. Burning like it was in a movie. But without the film crew and stunt people.

Then there was the time we saw a motorised wheelchair on the flyover. A policeman had pulled them over. Imagine that conversation…. One big improvement since we were here five years ago is far fewer families on scooters. This is a really good thing given the fatality rates for scooter accidents.

Despite the madness we have seen few accidents and even fewer serious accidents. So maybe Malaysian drivers know something we don’t!

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7 Responses

  1. I can relate to all these points…however in my first six months driving in kl I have also witnessed 3 dead bodies, 5 dead monkeys, done squashed snakes and about 100 dead cats n dogs…too much road kill for my liking.

    1. Oh yes, that is the serious side of things! I have seen my fair share of death on the roads too. And don’t get us started on kids in cars..

  2. Well, sorry to say but driving in Malaysia is certainly not so safe or funny!! You should have checked the international statistics about fatalities on the road BEFORE writing your last sentence! Malaysia is the 17th countries in terms of fatalities on the road (and the 16 first countries are ALL developing countries or countries in war!)… Singapore though, its neighbor, is among the SAFEST countries with the 170th place! So, there’s still a LOT to do to make Malaysian roads safer!

    =Official statistics road deaths/100,000 people=
    The following is a list of the 25 countries with the highest car-crash fatality rates, accompanied by the number of road accident deaths per 100,000 people:

    1. Namibia 45
    2. Thailand 44
    3. Iran 38
    4. Sudan 36
    5. Swaziland 36
    6. Venezuela 35
    7. Congo 34
    8. Malawi 32
    9. Dominican Republic 32
    10. Iraq 32
    11. Central African Republic 32
    12. Mongolia 31
    13. Belize 31
    14. Djibouti 30
    15. Lesotho 30
    16. Mozambique 30

    17. Malaysia 30

    18. El Salvador 29
    19. Yemen 28
    20. Ethiopia 28
    21. Equatorial Guinea 28
    22. Zambia 28
    23. Guyana 27
    24. Jordan 27
    25. Angola

    1. Thanks for the remainder and reality check – it is a serious issue and you always need to be extra careful in traffic here, as everywhere else.

  3. I have lived in Namibia and driven around much of that country. Their driving is BETTER than Malaysia. I used to drive from KL to JB once a week (both ways) and every single time I would see the aftermath of a serious accident including dead bodies sprawled across the road and a particularly grizzly one….a shipping container that slid off the back of a truck into a Toyota sedan and the chest of the female passenger. It didn’t really disturb me because I have become numb to it.

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