Driving yourself

If you are going to be in Penang for a while, get a car and drive yourself around.  There are many complexities around doing this but here are some of the things you need to know.

Driving licenses

Driving licenses are honored in Malaysia, according to the law.  You may want to get an International Driving Permit as well, but legally they’re not required here.  Section 28 of Act 333, Road Transport Act of 1987 reads:

A driving licence issued under the corresponding provisions of law in force in any country which is a party to a treaty to which Malaysia is also a party and which purports to recognize domestic driving licences issued by the contracting countries shall, so long as such licence remains in force in that country, be deemed to be a driving license granted under this Part.

Traffic Signals–Often you’ll approach an intersection to see lots of red signal lights, but all the traffic speeding ahead through the intersection.  Look again & you’ll probably see that there’s a single, less prominent green arrow pointing forward.  The multiple red lights are for people who are turning, & they don’t display a red turning arrow, but rather a full red light.  Don’t stop in the middle of the road unless you’re fairly certain that the straight on lanes are supposed to stop, otherwise you’ll likely be rear-ended.

Left hand turn on red after stop?  Apparently the rule is this, if there’s a solid white line across the turn lane, then you must wait until the turn light turns green; if it’s a dotted line, then you can go once the traffic clears and it’s safe.  Exception:  one location we know of has a solid line, but also has a Yield (Beri Laluan) sign.  Everyone there seems to follow the Yield sign & to proceed when the traffic clears whether or not the light is red.