Nearly all road signage in Malaysia is solely in Bahasa Malaysia, so you’ll need to learn a few keywords and phrases to help make your driving experience here a little less stressful.
Here are some common signs you may see on the roads and what they mean:
Sahaja = Only
At toll plazas, there are dedicated toll booth lanes Touch ‘n Go and Smart Tags. Drivers without either should look for Tunai, which are cash lanes.
Perhentian teksi = Taxi stand
If the word sahaja is added, it indicates the lane or area can be used by taxis and/or buses (bas) only.
Kurangkan laju = Reduce speed
This also shows an entry point for a dedicated motorcycle lane.
Jalan / Lorong = Road / Lane
Jalan: Road or street, in this case Riong Road. Lorong: Lane, here it’s Terasek Lane 1.
Peringatan = Reminder
A reminder that the speed limit on this stretch is 70kph. In built-up areas where there are no signs, it is generally reasonable to assume the limit is 50kph.
Zon tunda = Tow zone
Parking here will result in your car being towed. Except probably not really, as we have found this warning is rarely and erratically enforced. However, park at your own risk… especially if there’s room for a tow truck in front of your car!
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Awas = Caution
These signs indicate you are in a residential area (kawasan perumahan). It urges caution and reduced speed (kurangkan laju) because people could be walking or cycling and there are speed bumps.
This sign indicates that cars are allowed to U-turn, except those that weigh five tons or more.
Denda = Fine
This sign indicates that parking is prohibited sepanjang masa – at all times- failing which a fine (denda) of RM500 will be incurred.
A sign at one of the new shelters to ensure motorcyclists do not stop under bridges when it rains. However, not all shelters have this signage so always take care when driving under bridges in heavy rain.
Parking is only permitted for motorcycles. An indication is when the street is marked with small spaces.
Yellow lettering: road name (eg. Lebuhraya Persekutuan, or Federal Highway). White lettering: town or area. Green lettering on white background: building or attraction. Areas or roads are noted by distance with the nearest at the bottom.
There are regular places to stop along the highway. The signs show what facilities are available at the next rest stop. This one offers parking, a prayer room, food, toilets, public telephone, petrol,and an ATM machine.
Electronics message boards
Electronic message boards are placed on major roads. This one says, “Traffic Jam From PJ Hilton to LDP” – just in case you couldn’t already tell by all the cars surrounding you.
Other road related things to remembers
Practice caution when driving over speed bumps, as some are very steep. Look for tell-tale gouges in the roadway because of cars smashing back onto the road after going over the speed bump too fast.
Sadly, accidents on highways involving buses and heavy trucks are not uncommon. Many toll roads have ronda, or patrol service vehicles to assist with accidents, breakdowns, or other emergencies.
Driving in the rain
Driving on rainy nights presents many hazards, and keeping your distance is particularly important if you want to avoid joining a multiple car pile-up.
Basic Bahasa Words
|Pusat Bandaraya||City Centre|
|Dilarang Memotong||No Overtaking|
|Had Laju||Speed Limit|
|Ikut Kanan||Keep Right|
|Ikut Kiri||Keep Left|
|Jalan Sehala||One-way Street|
|Kenderaan Dilarang Masuk||No Entry (for Vehicles)|
|Kurangkan Laju||Slow Down|
|Liku Tajam||Sharp Bends|
|Pandu Cermat||Drive Cautiously|
|Tolong isi tangki penuh||Please fill up the tank|
|Tolong periksa tayar||Please check the tyres|
|Kereta saya rosak||I’m having car trouble|
|Minta tolong||A little help please…|
The ExpatGo Guide to Driving in Malaysia – Index
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