With the festive season on the horizon, more and more Malaysians are preparing for their journey home to visit friends and family.
In fact, the Malaysian Highway Concessionaire, PLUS, expects traffic on major highways across the country to increase by 15 percent to 1.5 million vehicles daily during the festive season.
With busier roads and people keen to make it home as quickly as they can, it’s important to take a moment to remind ourselves of a few things before embarking on a long journey.
Maintain Your Vehicle
Follow these six simple tips to ensure your car is in tip-top shape and ready for the drive:
- Check engine oil level
Ensure that the engine is cold or has been off for at least ten minutes before checking the level of your engine oil, using the dipstick under the hood
- Visually check coolant level and brake fluid level
Ensure that both coolant and brake fluid levels are between the low and high mark
- Check all exterior lights, like headlamps, fog lamps, brake lights and indicators
Ensure that all your lights are functioning well before you set off on your journey
- Check tire pressure and tire thread
Check tire pressure regularly. The recommended air pressure for your tires is usually found on a placard at the front door, in the glove compartment or in the owner’s manual.
- Visually check for any warning lights
Ensure that no warning lights are illuminated on your dashboard before beginning your journey
- If you’re travelling with children, ensure your child safety seat/s are properly secured
There are different mounting systems available – regardless of which you choose, it is important to correctly install the seat and ensure all belts and adjustments are as tight as possible to minimize movement in the case of an accident.
Special tips for travelling at night
Some people like to travel home in the evening – it can be a good way to avoid the crowds, but some things can be trickier when darkness falls. Vision is limited at night, and depth perception, colour recognition and peripheral vision are negatively impacted once the sun has set. Here are some tips, especially for the night-owls.
- Stay Alert
Sure, you might be a great driver at night, but don’t assume that everyone else on the road is. Always be vigilant – double check for oncoming traffic whenever you cross an intersection or stop sign, even if you have right of way. Take an extra moment to watch for oncoming cars when your red light turns green, and leave extra room for other vehicles. Remember that vehicles can seem further away at night than they actually are, so make sure to account for that before making a manoeuvre.
- Don’t Be Sleepy
Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk – cognitive impairment after approximately 18 hours awake is similar to that of someone with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.05%; after about 24 hours awake, impairment is equivalent to a BAC of 0.10%, higher than most legal limits.
If you find yourself starting to feel fatigued, pull off the road immediately and try to find a petrol station or rest stop along the highways. Take a walk, get some fresh air, or take a nap – even a 20-30 minute nap can help ease fatigue. But whatever you do, don’t try to push through fatigue.
- Interior Lighting
Driving with your dashboard panel on at full brightness can impair your vision when looking at the dark roads ahead. Keep that dash dim – and definitely keep those reading lights off – whenever possible while driving.
- Maintain Your Windows
Don’t compromise your vision with dirty glass – a clean windshield is just as important as keeping your eyes open when driving at night. Streaks can cause dangerous glares on the windshield, windows and mirrors, so avoid touching them with your hands to prevent oil from getting on those surfaces. Make sure you also clean them regularly by keeping a soft cloth in your door pockets.
- Don’t Go Into the Light
Staring directly at an oncoming car’s lights will hamper your vision at night long after the vehicle is gone. Try using the left, shoulder of the road as a locator to help you stay on course while the oncoming car passes.
- Blinding High Beams
Don’t be that guy who blinds oncoming cars with high beams. Turn off your highbeams when a vehicle is approaching to give drivers the visibility while decreasing the chance that high beams will shine into the cabin of oncoming vehicles.
- Mister Lonely
Driving by yourself at night can feel especially lonely. But with SYNC, you have a number of listening options to keep you company: stream music from your smartphone, listen to your favourite tunes via a paired mobile device with SYNC, or catch up on your favourite radio and podcast apps. With SYNC, you’ll never have to feel alone on your drive again.