If you are able to self-drive, it makes visiting Malaysia all the more exciting. After all, you get to travel at your own leisure without having to follow any schedule. But before you head out to rent a vehicle, take note of the following tips:
Roads – There are state roads and there are federal roads. State roads are used to connect most of the parts of a certain states. Meanwhile federal roads usually refer to highways that connect certain states together like the PLUS North-South Expressway and the Federal Highway in the Klang Valley.
Licenses – As it is with any other part of the world, you need a valid driving license to drive in Malaysia. Most licenses from countries across the world are recognized in Malaysia and it is safe to say that if you hold a license from a Commonwealth country, you can drive here. However, to be absolutely sure, you should confirm that with your embassy before driving. If you have an International Driver’s license, it should not be dated before 1999 and if you come from a country that drives on the left side, then it might be tricky. You can actually obtain a probationary driving license if you plan to stay a little longer.
Sides – Most systems in Malaysia adopts the British model and that is why the British right-hand drive system is used here. If you are from the United States, it might take a while to get used to.
Traffic Lights – This is basically the same and universal across the world. You get the red, yellow and green. However, unlike certain countries, the light does not turn to yellow from red to green. Yellow only lights up from green to red.
Blinking Green Lights – You need to be aware that if the green light is blinking, it means it will be turning yellow in the next 3 or 5 seconds.
Unwritten Law – If there is a ‘No U-Turn’ sign, then it is obvious you cannot make a U-turn. However, if there is no such sign, it does not mean you are allowed to do so. You can only make a U-Turn if there is a sign before reaching the junction. The same is for turning right, turning left and others. Not having a prohibition sign does not mean you are allowed to do something. Basically, you should only carry out anything if you are ‘told’ to do so. Look for the signs.
Drivers – Malaysian drivers can be quite strange. Most drivers are courteous and not overly aggressive. But if you come across any aggressive drivers, give in and do not provoke.
Horning – Horning is not very common in Malaysia. You use the horn only when you are angry or annoyed. To apologize, raise your palm to the driver.
Speed Limit – The maximum speed you can drive in Malaysia is 110km/h and that is on the highways.
Tolls – You will experience tolls in most expressways. In most cases, you will be informed before approaching the toll booth on how much you should be paying.
Petrol – Petrol prices in Malaysia is quite affordable. Most vehicles use RON95 while high performance vehicles mostly run on RON97. Prices are at average about RM2.30 per liter depending on the current global crude oil price. You can find petrol stations easily around the country. Petronas is the main oil and gas company of Malaysia while you can find Shell, Caltex, Petron and BhP as well.