Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Highway Training

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Ask yourself this question – “how experienced are you in driving on Malaysian Highways?

For your information, “highway” here means a trip from KL to JB on North South Highway and not the trip from Sunway to Puchong using the LDP Highway. “Driving” means driving all the way from KL to JB – not driving from KL to Seremban and then letting someone else to take over.

I posed this question to some of my relatives, friends and colleagues and not surprisingly, not many are experienced. Some of the reason:-

1. There is no need for an outstation travel – their “kampung” is in KL (both the husband and wife’s kampung is in KL or Selangor)

2. There is always someone else to be the driver so there is no need for them to be driving – this could their husband, boyfriend, total stranger whom they hitchhiked (just kidding), etc

3. They fly down to the outstation destination (although in real sense – “fly down” also means using the bas express from Puduraya)

(My wife falls under reason 2 above although it is not her fault. It is just that I have not gained enough confidence to pass over the wheel to her. I will do that one day (soon). As for myself, I am clocking an average 6,000 kilometers per year on the highway, covering much of Penang to Johor Bahru).

My friend once quipped me and ask “what’s the difference” because he has been a driver for almost 5 years and he consider himself as a very experience driver although he has not driven much on highways.

Consider the differences:-

1. The traffic speed.
We all know that the speed legal limit is 110 km/h but more often, drivers travel at more than 110 km/h. I myself have driven on an average 120 km/h. Compare that with driving on LDP – at the very best it is 60 – 80 km/h. How well you can handle speed up to 120 km/h?

2. The speed variables.
We have speed demons – sport cars, superbikes and express bus drivers and we also have slower drivers – heavy truck, old cars, etc. The key here is to just judge their speed before overtaking or maintaining the speed limit. Can you?

3. Time spent on the road.
A trip from KL to Taiping takes 3.5 hours and sometimes 5 hours (if you are going to spend time at the R&R and enjoying the view). This results in tiredness and loss in concentration (in other words, sleepiness). Can you cope with it?

So, the next you have a chance to drive on the highway, take it as it will improve on your driving skills. Yes, you may be inexperienced and (often) dangerous on the highway but this will change as time goes by (picture source: www.smh.com.au)

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