How can you drive safe in JB? 7 useful tips to protect yourself and your car

Car Advice    Zia Xin

Johor Bahru is a very popular place for Singaporeans to go shopping, or just grab a bite over the weekend. The food is great, the prices are low, and it's a relatively short drive—you can be there and back within half a day! But even as you're treating yourself, it's important to be mindful of safety. You don't want to come back from your getaway with your car dented, or worse, with several hundred dollars extorted by fake police officers. These following tips will help you to be prepared for JB roads, so you and your vehicle can be safe.


1. Keep Traffic Rules

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Malaysia roads are slightly less regulated than Singapore ones, and it can be tempting to speed or cut corners, especially if you see other drivers doing it too. But if you happen to do it in the wrong place at the wrong time, you could be pulled over by a 'police officer' who might try to extort you for bribes. You are more likely to be targeted than Malaysian cars, because as a foreigner you are probably less familiar with the rules and procedures, and might not know if you're being charged more than the official fine. So get to know Johor's traffic rules and make sure to keep to them—you don't want to give possible extortionists any hold on you.


2. Drive in Safe Areas

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Crime in JB is generally less severe near the borders, so if possible, stay close to the Johor-Singapore border. You're likely to be safer and there will probably be more Singaporeans around as well, making you a less obvious target. As far as you can, also try to go during the day, as the roads do tend to get more dangerous in the dark. If you're still worried, it may be a good idea to do some research on which areas have recorded high crimes, and avoid them.


3. Don't Draw Attention to Yourself

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If you can, try not to drive a new or expensive vehicle to JB. A sparkling brand new car will draw the attention of potential car thieves, and tell extortionists that you probably have lots of cash to spare. A rental car might be a good idea, especially if you're going into more notorious region. Of course, driving an old, ordinary car doesn't mean that criminals will have no interest in you at all. You should still take safety precautions, and understand the driving conventions in JB so you won't mark yourself out as a confused foreigner.


4. Use a GPS System

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Getting lost in an unfamiliar area is an extremely frightening experience, especially when overseas. To prevent getting stranded, you can get yourself a GPS system to guide you. If you have internet, you could use Google Maps, which is a reliable system, but if not, there are also many offline GPS applications you can download. Note however that a GPS tells you the most direct route, not the route with least traffic or the safest route. If you are a first-time traveller to JB and aren't sure of the conditions, it's always good to do research beforehand.


5. Give Way to Reckless Drivers

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Drivers in Malaysia often exceed the speed limit, sometimes by as much as 80km/h! You may encounter fast drivers who get impatient behind you, and aren't shy to show it. In these cases, it's better not to get into an argument—just for this trip, swallow your pride and give way. These impatient drivers can also be very reckless, and if you continue to block them, you may end up with serious scratches and dents as they try to get past you. In a foreign country, it's more important to keep your head down and not offend the locals than to insist on total fairness. It may be unpleasant, but for safety's sake, give way to avoid conflict on the road.


6. Be Aware of Your Surroundings

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It's easy to let your guard down when you're overseas having a good meal and ready to be in holiday mood. But not noticing what's around you can cost you dearly. You should always be cautious while driving—as mentioned, drivers in Malaysia can be very fast and reckless, and if you don't see them coming up behind you or swerving suddenly into your lane, your vehicle could suffer for it. After parking, also watch out for any suspicious individuals that might be lurking around or watching your car. Even if you think you're being paranoid, it's better to be safe than sorry.


7. Always Keep an Eye on your Vehicle

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In Singapore, it may be alright to park outside a building and run in to use the toilet or buy something, but in JB, this is an absolute no-no. Never leave your car running and unattended even for a moment—there has been a case at a JB shopping mall where a car was stolen in only 10 seconds! If you need to make a stop, park somewhere safe and walk over. The extra hassle is worth it to protect your vehicle. It would be best to travel with at least one other adult, so that you always have someone to watch over your car.


Did you find this advice helpful? What other car matters would you like advice for? Share down in the comments! To find out more about auto services in your area, or for more helpful car advice like this, download our app at the Apple Appstore and Android Playstore!

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