When you are on a trip in the car, an accident can happen when you least expect it. In a split second your plans can be completely disrupted.
According to Statista, Malaysia recorded its highest number of road accidents ever in 2019, with around 567,520 accidents. Since then, Malaysian authorities have taken measures to promote safer roads and curb the number of road accidents. Particular attention has been paid to peak travelling seasons such as during the Chinese New Year and Hari Raya celebrations, when millions of Malaysians travel back to their hometowns to visit their family1.
Road accidents can potentially be avoided by ensuring we understand and abide by road safety rules. Here are four essential road safety habits that you should always remember.
A mobile phone is with us at all times, and many of us look at our phone without realising we are doing it. However, it is illegal to text or talk on the phone without using a hands-free device when driving, and we must resist the temptation to do so. Even using a hands-free device can be dangerous, with studies showing that drivers who were engaged in hands-free phone conversations took a longer time to react to situations as compared to drivers who were not engaged in conversations2. So let’s try to avoid using our phones while we drive to ensure road safety and prevent potential road accidents from happening.
By using your turn signal you are informing the drivers around you that you intend to change lanes or turn into a street. Think about it. If a vehicle in front of you does not use the turn signal, would you know where the vehicle is heading? Turn signals are essential to road safety as they act as a driver-to-driver communication device5, informing other drivers of your desired path. To avoid accidents on the road, always make it a habit to use the turn signal when switching lanes or turning.
In Malaysia, heavy rain and wet road conditions are quite common. In these conditions, drivers will often turn on their hazard lights or cars have their high beams switched on thinking they are helping other drivers on the road and that it helps ensure road safety. However, the reality is that using your hazard lights when it’s raining may actually do more harm than good, as the purpose of these light is to indicate to other drivers that your vehicle is causing a temporary road obstruction, or that there is an obstruction up ahead. Plus, when you use your hazard lights, you won’t be able to utilise your turn signal as well6.
You should also never use your high beams when driving in heavy rain as the light will be reflected back to you, causing you and the drivers around you to be blinded which may result in an accident7.
We all know wearing a seatbelt while driving is important and it is an essential road safety rule as it can prevent injuries should there be a car accident. This rule not only applies to drivers but also to all passengers in the car. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wearing a seatbelt can reduce the risk of suffering injuries or death by about half3.
Children are also required to buckle up when travelling as a passenger in a car. In January 2020, the Malaysian government made the use of child safety seats mandatory in vehicles4. As a parent or guardian, you need to know that if your child is below 36kg or 136cm, they are required by law to be strapped into an approved child restraint/car seat. You are also advised to purchase Child Restraint Seats (CRS) that have a valid QR label sticker from MIROS to ensure the quality and specifications are up to standard for the safety of your kids4.
Having children wear seatbelts also prevents any unnecessary movements by children inside the car that may distract the driver.
In short, road safety rules are important, and we need to abide to them to help avoid road accidents. Our lives, and the lives of those around us, matter. Apart from following the road rules, having comprehensive auto insurance is equally as important to ensure your vehicle and any related repair costs are covered in the event of the accident.
Learn more about AIG’s comprehensive auto insurance here: https://www.aig.my/personal/auto-insurance