Saturday, December 22, 2012
By Road Runner
From my daily observations and experience (and accident statistics), I dare say that more than 90% of Malaysian drivers have little or no driving skills at all. Most car drivers blame motorcyclists, calling them road terrors etc, but car drivers are actually the bigger culprit, and pose even more danger to motorcyclists.
Here are the top ten "offences"
They drive like an F1 driver, but can't even keep to their own lane when cornering. Imagine what will happen if they stray into another lane and touch another vehicle at speeds of 110kmh and above. And many drivers think that they are Michael Schumacher, speeding even in torrential rain. These people only know how to press the accelerator, but have little idea how to control their car. Most accident reports are of "drivers losing control of the vehicle".
2 - Staying on own lane
Mentioned above, these drivers don't seem able to STAY on their own lane, drifting to the right or left lane. This happens everywhere, in roundabouts, in corners and even on straight roads. This is pure bad driving habit. They expect other drivers to give way. That's the best case scenario. The worst case, they cause fatal accidents by grazing an unfortunate motorcyclist.
3 - Speeding in the rain
Again related to the first, most drivers continue to speed even in heavy rain and limited visibility. They have no idea that in such conditions, their car's wheels will lock up and drift when sudden brake force is applied. Not everyone drives a Mercedes or BMW with tons of safety features. Driving in the rain requires extra caution because vehicle stopping distances, slippery road conditions and limited visibility present extra challenges.
4 - Different types of vehicle, different types of control
I have seen many drivers driving big vans and 4x4 utility vehicles as if they are driving a small family car. They speed and weave in and out with little concern that the physics and controls of these bigger, taller and heavier are totally different from typical family sedans. Vans have a very short frontal section and poses extra risk in a frontal collision. And their tall build presents an inherent instability, especially when cornering.
5 - Not bothering to use indicator lights / turn signals
This must be counted as one of the worst and most "popular" habits of the majority of Malaysian drivers out there, and undoubtly the cause of many fatal accidents. I have actually suggested car manufacturers make turn signal indicators "OPTIONAL". Why? Almost 90% of the time, the drivers REFUSE to indicate where they want to turn. This again happens in almost every driving situation, whether in roundabouts, junctions, parking etc. This is especially dangerous when the driver suddenly changes lane because even a slight touch or graze to a motorcyclist will knock him down, even at moderate speeds. An unfortunate example was the 4x4 vehicle which switched lane (according to a news report) without notice and grazed a few big motorcyclists at the NKVE highway recently, causing a fatal accident.
Maybe they think it is a hassle. Maybe some young drivers think it is cool. How much effort does it take to turn on the turn signal indicator?
Can they live the rest of their lives in peace if they caused a fatal accident?
6 - Driving in slow motion
Amazingly, I have come across not once but many times, drivers cruising at 20-30km/h in major highways, at their leisure. These motorists don't seem to realize that by driving at such a slow pace, they are forcing other drivers to overtake them, sometimes dangerously, on the left or right lanes. This is worse if the road has only a single lane. And many motorists, driving at normal speed, can be caught unawares by a very slow vehicle in front, and fail to brake on time because they are conditioned to think that all cars on the highway are moving constantly at a reasonable speed.
7 - Road Hogging and tailgaters
Includes those who seem to be daydreaming and hogging the fast lane, refusing to budge even when flashed numerous times by the car behind. However, some habitual tailgaters are also included in this section.
8 - Indiscriminate Parking
These offenders park where and when they like. Have you seen cars parked on a two lane road, taking up one whole lane? I have, surprisingly many times. Some actually stop in the middle of the road, without giving any sign of their intentions. And many people leave their cars at corners, blocking other motorists' view coming out of junctions. This could cause mishaps because motorists are unable to see oncoming vehicles properly.
9 - Housing Area Menaces
The worst culprits, from my observations, are young people; the bane of all residents, and nightmare of many cats and dogs. They drive at frightening speeds, and can't seem to comprehend that small children and animals may dash out anytime.
10 - The last is actually for readers to list down, because there so many, ten is not enough
The only skill most Malaysian drivers have, is causing accidents.