There are 74 countries that drive on the left side of the road due to historical reasons and Malaysia is one of them. If you are part of the 65% of the world that drives on the right side of the road, you will most probably need a bit of help getting yourself accustomed to driving on the left side. If you are from the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore or any former British settlements, driving here will be pretty much a familiar experience. If you come from America, Europe or other parts of the world, read on to learn more about how to drive on the left side of the road.
Drive On The Left Side of The Road
Are You Permitted to Drive in Malaysia?
First and foremost, check whether your driver’s license permits you to drive in Malaysia. As a standard rule, anyone with an International Driver’s License, holders of Commonwealth Country Driver’s Licenses, or any Driver’s License with Romanized letters are permitted to drive in Malaysia. Hawk recommends that you check with your home country’s road and transport department to confirm your eligibility to drive in Malaysia.
Get Familiar with the Controls
Hawk representatives will usually be present to do a final inspection when you pick up the rental car. Get them to show you the important controls of your car, such as the windshield wiper controls, indicator lights, plus the boot and fuel door release button. Cars in Malaysia typically follow the Japanese preference of having the windshield wiper switch on the left, while the indicator light switch is on the right.
Practice Before You Go
Before you start driving, it is a good idea to position yourself comfortably in your right-hand drive rental car so that you can ease off any tension you might have. The car controls and dashboard remains largely the same – aside from the fact that you will be operating the gear shift with your left hand. Remain stationary, practice shifting gears a few times and go once you’re comfortable that you’ve gotten the hang of it.
Now you’re on the road. When in Malaysia, always remember to keep left to the left lane whenever you are driving. If you have been driving on the right side of the road all your life, it might take some time getting yourself used to positioning the car at the ‘centre’ of the road. Take note to drive within the lane and not too close to the curb. If you have a companion with you, get them to remind you to keep left at all times. It is very important that you concentrate and don’t drift over to the right side out of habit.
Take Note When Turning Corners
If you come from a country where driving on the right is the norm, you will most probably be tempted to land on the right lane when you turn corners. Again, the ‘keep left’ rule applies – always remind yourself to keep to the left lane when turning corners.
Overtake from the Right
Typically, the right lane is called the ‘fast lane’ and drivers who intend to drive slower should keep to the right. If you would like to overtake the car in front of you, you can do so from the right.
Roundabouts are in Clockwise Direction
The roundabouts in Malaysia are laid out in a clockwise format. As a general rule, emerging traffic should give way to circulating traffic.
Relax and Enjoy The Ride
Malaysian roads are fairly modern and well-developed, so there is really no need to worry about driving in Malaysia as long as you manage to keep to the left side of the road. There are clear road signs that will guide you throughout all major roads. Don’t let the positioning deter you from driving in Malaysia – we promise you that once you master the drive on the left side of the road, it is well worth the ride. There is a bountiful of experiences that await the eager traveller on wheels.