In Malaysia, there are sporadically more and more roadworks sprouting up like mushrooms, everywhere. Roadworks usually take place at the busiest times of the day or night, simply because the Works department in this country is as inefficient as any third world countries’ public office. Especially in the city, it’s bad enough to go about daily commute and traffic with increasing number of cars on the road and on top of that, you have to look out for roadworks?!
With modern technology or Navi apps like Waze, you’ll get an alert on roadworks to allow you to consider an alternative route to get to your destination. However, not every route has an alternative; so what do you do?
In this edition’s auto tips, we are here to offer you some advice on dealing with roadworks. It is inevitable to prevent roadworks. Roadworks are pertinent at times due to public utility upgrades and road repairs or restorations, but in this country, roadworks are simply a nuisance due to constant road expansion or diversion due to heavy traffic and the requirement to accommodate more buildings that came up to cope with growing population in a high density vicinity. And worse yet, multi-year roadworks like laying tracks for monorails or light rail transits could take up to several years to complete, causing unnecessary stress to people working or living in the affected areas. For example, it usually take a person 5 – 10 minutes to get home or to work, but due to roadworks the commute takes twice longer or even up to an hour when traffic’s heavy and torrential rain starts pouring. That’s the scene most citizens are accustomed with, as public transportation options are still unreliable for many. Fortunately, there’s this thing called taxi app where you hail a cab anytime at your convenience. Just be sure it doesn’t blow a hole in your wallet!
When faced with roadworks, the road gets narrower and the traffic usually slows to a crawl. Malaysians are simply not the courteous type. Everyone has a fraying temper and think he or she owns the road. This means you’ll have to deal with roadworks and idiotic drivers to get home or to work. But as long as you drive carefully and plan your journey, it needn’t be too stressful.
Ideally, you should check the status of any roads you plan to use beforehand. If there are significant amounts of repair works and you think you might get caught up in traffic consider taking a different route, even if it means covering a few more distance. Google Maps or Waze is always a good one to check before you leave the house as it often shows the roadworks and will suggest alternative routes. If there’s no alternative route, give yourself more time to travel and ensure you have plenty of fuel. Running out of fuel is one of the most common reasons for a breakdown on the motorway, so don’t risk running on a low tank. Another thing is pay absolute attention on the road, don’t fiddle with your phone on the road. If you have important calls to make or receive, use a headset or mirror it to your car’s display screen (if it comes with it).
Maintain a safe following distance of at least two seconds in the dry and at least four seconds in wet weather, and if other traffic moves into your gap adjust it by slowing very slightly. You won’t add more than a couple of seconds to your journey. If possible, try to look further ahead as there may be a lane that’s restricted and marked off by cones. If it is safe to do so, merge in turn if vehicles are travelling at low speed. Always keep an eye out for any roadwork signs that give you particular instructions. There may also be a temporary maximum speed limit that you will need to adhere to. Additionally, average speed cameras are also common where long term roadworks are in force; be prepared to slow down throughout. They are there for your safety and the safety of the workforce.
TECH AND ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS
Current in-car tech have ease with everything including traffic jams as well; when buying a car, look out for equipment like lane keep assist, driver attention assist, BLIS, forward collision warning and pedestrian warning. Of course, these equipment are premium and only available in cars of a certain price point.
If you are going to use cruise control, make sure you know how to cancel it safely. A better option will be a speed limiter which will allow you to slow in response to the traffic, but help to prevent any momentary lapse in speed control if the road clears.
So there you go, this guide merely serves as an advice to considerate drivers. Most Malaysians never really adhere to any regulations on the road, anyways. The main advice when you come to a roadwork situation is to be extra vigilant and have a quick reaction in case something nasty is about to happen.