Penang Traffic Rules

I like to add that it is a pre-requisite to be able to swear fluently in Hokkien or even in broken Cantonese when driving recklessly and breaking the speed limit. Here are a few examples of our colourful Penang foul languages:

"Lu Eh Mak Eh Chau Cibai"
"Lu Eh Mak Eh Chau Puki"
"Karn Lu Eh Karh Chui Khang"
"Tiu Lay Ke Lo Mo"
"Kan Lu Eh Mak Eh Chau Cibai"

Of course for the 'BANANAS" (Western or American Grads) like us, the following phrases are also deem worthy to Penangites:
"Fuck"
"Shit"
"Dumb Ass"
"Mother Fucker"
"Ass Hole"
"Moron", "Stupid Fool" (to be used only when you are driving with your girlfriend or parents)

could also suffice although not that effective as our Hokkien phrases.


PENANG TRAFFIC RULES (REVISED AS OF Dec 1. 95)
============================================


RIGHT OF WAY
============

  1. The larger or structurally stronger vehicle has the right of way over the smaller vehicle.
  2. The vehicle with the louder horn has the right of way.
  3. The vehicle in the wrong lane has the right of way over the vehicles driving in the correct direction in that lane.* (This is still a point of contention even among driving experts in Penang)


SOME DRIVING TECHNIQUES DEVELOPED IN PENANG
===============================================

THE "PENANG TURN"
--------------------------
The "PENANG TURN" is a driving maneuver which requires much skill, panache, confidence and recklessness which can only be found in the local Penang driver or outstation drivers who have acclimatised themselves to the driving culture in Penang. What is a "PENANG TURN"?

It is best described as follows:
Suppose you are on the right lane and you intend to turn right.
If the right lane is jammed, you can cut into the left lane which would be quite clear. Once you reach the spot where you want to turn right, you can do so by either blocking the cars on the right lane with your vehicle or if the situation allows you can squeeze in with the vehicle on your right if the turning lane is wide enough. Allow for possible cursing and unwanted eye contacts from the drivers on the right. Possible noise irritaion due to car horns may also result. Similarly, there is an equivalent technique to do a left turn.

THE "ADVANCED PENANG TURN"
-----------------------------------------
The "ADVANCED PENANG TURN" is a driving maneuver more advanced than the basic "PENANG TURN". However, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED that you only use this technique when you are driving heavy vehicles such as lorries, buses, trailers, tractors, cranes etc.

What is the "ADVANCED PENANG TURN"?
If you happen to be travelling towards a T-junction and you're on the minor road with the intention of turning into the main road, you are not required to stop at all. You can just simply turn right or left into the incoming or outcoming traffic. The vehicles on your path will adjust their speed accordingly to accomodate your entrance.

THE "SNAKE" MANEUVER
-------------------------------
When on a straight road, swerve left, swerve right, swerve left again and so on to avoid deadly potholes which may damage your vehicle. This technique is often applied in small lanes and roads within the industrial zone. Watch out for motorcyclists though.


SPECIFIC RULES PERTAINING TO DIFFERENT ROAD-USERS & VEHICLES
==============================================================

CARS
-------
Car owners are advised not to buy a new car and drive in Penang.

MOTORCYCLES
--------------------
Motorcyclists are allowed to go anywhere they want and anytime they want. They are particularly notorious for executing the zig-zag maneuver in between cars travelling at speeds in excess of 60km/h. They do so often at their own peril and spectacular acrobatic effects often result.

BUSES
--------
Buses can pick up or drop passengers anywhere they want, even right in the middle of the road during peak hour traffic.

PEDESTRIANS
-----------------
Pedestrians have no right at all unless they are on the zebra-crossing. All vehicles have the right to knock down pedestrians as they see fit. Refer to STAR newspaper (month of Jan) for details.

PARKING
------------
You can park anywhere you want as long as your vehicle is able to fit in. However there is no guarantee that you'll be able to leave once you have parked.


WHAT TO DO IN CASE OF ACCIDENTS
================================

  1. If you are right and if you look fierce or dangerous enough, threaten the offender with physical violence. If you have friends or passengers with you, that would be even better. Hopefully, the offender would be frightened into paying the compensation. If not, one should drag the offender to the police station.

  2. If you are wrong, shout or argue your way out. Look fierce or menacing. If that doesn't work, pretend to call your relative who is a bigshot in the whatever department or board etc. If you had thought that you were wrong and would not be able to win the argument, you should start pretending to be seriously injured. Getting your passenger friend to pretend to be seriously injured is a welcome alternative too.

  3. You are seriously injured. Forget about arguing and hope that there is no traffic jam in Penang or you will be dead on arrival in hospital.

HAPPY DRIVING!


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