Perfect visibility and well-lit roads do not deter some Malaysian drivers from turning on every light source on their vehicle, regardless of time of day. They use hazard lights while driving in the rain and switch on fog lights on perfectly clear nights – while somehow ‘forgetting’ the existence of turn indicators.
The misuse of fog lights, however, directly affects other drivers, putting their safety at risk as the strong beam often emits a blinding glare. The light is designed to pierce fog from a low angle and other conditions of poor visibility caused by rain, dust or even snow and are intended to be used at low driving speeds.
Fog lights should only be used when visibility is seriously reduced and when the driver has difficulty seeing forward for a certain distance and should be switched off once visibility improves.
As much as the drivers themselves are responsible and work on educating themselves, government bodies such as JPJ need to play their part.
JPJ should review their licensing process to ensure that drivers not only know how to work a clutch, but to test them on the proper use of vehicle features on more advanced levels. Emphasis should also be placed on responsible driving, which the current pre-licensing five-hour road safety course (Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu) fails to do.
The five-hour course, basically a ‘how-to’ guide on receiving a license fails to educate new drivers on pressing issues. It completely misses the opportunity to serve as a platform to inform and educate new drivers on proper driving etiquette and techniques on how to operate a vehicle.
JPJ also needs to keep up with real-world driving conditions, as testing new drivers by asking them to drive a Perodua Kancil up a hill makes little sense.
Part of the problem is caused by the failure of related government bodies to act proactively by educating new drivers, while drivers fail to see that the primary reason the local roads have such a negative image is in fact themselves, not the potholes.
The only way we’re going to save an average of 17 lives lost on local roads each day is by changing our mindset on how we go about operating our vehicles and to realise we share the road with others.