Malaysian Driving Guide
Understanding Malaysian Traffic Rules
Welcome to Malaysia.
Driving & Safety TipsThank you for choosing Avis Malaysia.
Driving styles and traffic rules can vary in different countries. At Avis Malaysia, we are care about our customers' safety. Here are precautions you can take to ensure you have a safe and pleasant journey.
We look forward to serve you again soon.
Driving in Malaysia (Pt.1)Road Rules
The road signs in Malaysia are in accordance with the international road signs, so despite the occasional Malay words, most foreigners should be able to understand basic traffic signs.
The slow lane is the very left hand lane on a three lane road. That being said, for some reason most drive in the middle or fast lane. The fast lane is the right most lane, however, many slow vehicles will remain in the fast lane despite other motorist's honking and flashing lights.
In general, the speed limit around town is always between 50kmph-70kmph, but when you're on the North-South highway the speed limit is 110kmph. With increasing numbers of road accidents, especially during the festive seasons, the number of strategically-placed speed cameras and traps are increasing.
Motorcyclists high speed and seeming disregard for safety can be unnerving for new drivers. An important tip is to know that red traffic lights don't always mean "stop". If the light has just changed, it is best to proceed with caution, as many motorbikes (and cars) will continue to go through the intersection.
Overall, the authorities are taking increasing steps to reduce road fatalities and punish those that break the rules.
Malaysian Driver's Permit
Expats in Malaysia are only permitted to use a foreign license for a three month period before they will need to apply for a new international permit. Though the ease and speed of the process varies depending on the nationality of the applicant and their status, this should not dissuade anyone who wants to drive for long periods in Malaysia.
Expats hailing from countries under the Bi-lateral agreement (Australia, France, Denmark, Singapore, etc) looking to acquire an international driver’s permit in Malaysia, will have to submit the following details to an office of the JPJ (Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan Malaysia which translates as Road Transport Department Malaysia ). A completed JPJL1 form, which can be acquired at any JPJ office, must accompany the following documentation:
- Original and copy of valid driving license. (For expired driving license, the expiry date should not exceed 3 years)
- One colored photograph (25 mm x 32 mm).
- English translation of the driving license by Embassy of the issuing country. If the country has no Embassy office in Malaysia, translation can be done by Malaysia Translation Institute (www.itnm.com.my)
- Original and copy of the passport (must be valid for the next 6 months)
- Processing fee – RM20.00
- Categories of license which may apply for conversion:
* RM 30.00 (car) – per year.
* RM 20.00 (motorcycle) – per year.
ii. Probationary driving License(P)
* RM 60.00(car) – two years.
* RM 40.00(motorcycle) – two years.
It is important to re-assert that different procedural processes when applying for an international driving permit in Malaysia apply depending on the nationality of the applicant. Comprehensive details on the procedures that have to be followed depending on what nationality the occupant falls under can be found on this page, which should serve as the first resource to refer to for anyone looking to acquire an international permit. A list of nations whose expats are offered automatic conversion of their licenses (which takes a mere 1 day) and which expats require their application be sent to the Road Transport Department in Putrajaya (a process which can take up to one month to complete) can be found here.
There are JPJ offices in every Malaysian state, and a list of them and their addresses can be found here. Opening times for JPJ offices can be found here.
The renewal fee for an international driver’s permit is RM150 per annum, and the procedures and stipulations below need to be followed in order to renew the permit.
The license may be renewed in Malaysia only.
Provide 2 passport size photographs.
Present your IDP for renewal.
Complete Form JPJ L1.
RM150 per annum for the renewal fee.
It should be noted that drivers licensed by the JPJ must notify the JPJ if and when they change the color of their vehicle.
For expats who do not have a driver’s license but wish to go for one, a five hour road safety course will need to be completed (though this can be complicated by the fact that the majority of these courses are delivered in Bahasa Melayu), a 45 question written examination, 16 hours’ worth of driving lessons and final tests (on the open road and in a car park). Once these are completed successfully, the license given can be converted into an international driving permit.
Driving in Malaysia (Pt.2)At the Airport or Avis Office
Review maps and other visitor information before leaving the rental car area or other location. Reading a map while driving is dangerous and can indicate you are unfamiliar with the area. Always ask for directions before leaving the rental counter.
At airports, rental car plazas or other transportation terminals, do not leave luggage unattended. If there is more than one person in your party, assign someone to stay with the bags. Only the renter and any additional drivers are required to rent the car.
Your Rental Vehicle
Familiarize yourself with the vehicle's safety equipment, including hazard lights, windshield wipers, the spare tire, seat belts and door locks. Always be alert to your surroundings and know how to reach your destination prior to your departure.
Make sure the vehicle always has plenty of fuel.
Don't stop if a passing motorist tells you that something is wrong with your vehicle or if someone bumps you from behind. Pull into the nearest service station or well-lit public area. Call the police.
At stoplights, leave plenty of room between your vehicle and the one in front of you in case you must pull away quickly. Always keep doors locked and windows rolled up when driving or when parked. Keep valuables in the trunk or in the locked glove compartment.
Learn emergency vehicles' signals. Police lights are red and blue. Do not stop for flashing white headlights alone. Do not resist in the rare event that a stranger demands your valuables. Your well-being is more important than your belongings. Always use seat belts. It is the law and may save your life in the event of an accident.
Don't pick up hitchhikers under any circumstances. Always be aware of the pedestrian traffic around your vehicle. Always park in a well-lit area. Have car keys in hand and check in and around the car before entering.
Don't take shortcuts to save time or exit expressways prematurely to save tolls. Tolls are a nominal charge, change is available at many booths, and your safety is most important.
Use automated teller machines only in busy, unobstructed areas and count your money inside the car with the doors locked.
Drivers should do everything they can to prevent their car from being an easy target, such as always remembering to lock doors and windows before leaving the vehicle.
In The Event of an Accident
Try to stay calm. If there are any injuries, call 999 for assistance. If there are no injuries, try to move your vehicle to a safe area away from traffic.
As with any traffic accident, it is important to collect as much useful information as possible. Have the other driver write down his or her name and address, and not the model and vehicle registration of all vehicles involved. Exchange your respective insurance information and avoid discussing whose fault the accident was.
It is very important to refuse the services of tow trucks that arrive uncalled on the scene. Known as 'vultures' by locals, these tow trucks look for accidents and offer to tow the car to their workshop before charging an extremely high rate for their assistance. Make sure to call Avis Breakdown service for assistance.
Stay Secure in Your Vehicle
If your car malfunctions on a major thoroughfare, lock the doors, turn on the hazard lights and wait for the police to arrive. If someone offers help, have them call the police.
Don't pull over to assist what may appear to be a disabled car, even if someone tries to wave you down. If you have a cellular phone, call the police for them.
Drive to a service station or store if you need information or directions. Casual street-corner directions are the surest way to get lost.
These safety tips are general common-sense suggestions from Avis. The safety of you and your passengers is most important. However, remember that personal safety is your responsibility. Do what you think is best under the circumstances. Above all, stay alert and be cautious.
Some Rules & Regulation
- Drive on the left in Malaysia
- Seat belts are compulsory for all occupants, front and rear
- Children under eight years of age must be strapped in a child safety seat
- Headlights must be turned on between 19:00 and 07:00
- Mobile cellular phones must not be used while driving
Have a safe and pleasant drive & Enjoy your time in Malaysia.