Whether you’re travelling with family, friends or alone, make sure you plan ahead for the upcoming festive season. This year the official days off for Chinese New Year are 16 and 17 February, and people will start travelling by road by the 14th (Wednesday). Be aware of this and travel smart – you don’t want to get stuck in a five-hour crawl or end up with a flat tire by the side of the highway.
Road travel tips
1: Service your car
Send your car to the garage for a thorough check. Make sure your tires still have tread and that they’re properly inflated, double check that all engine fluids are topped up and fill up on petrol at the beginning of the drive.
2: Check weather conditions before setting off
The weather can be unpredictable, but always check to see if there are going to thunderstorms. The combination of heavy traffic and bad weather raises the chance of an accident, which is why the number of accidents increases during these long weekends.
3: Rest and have a meal before the drive
It’s important to make sure you aren’t too tired to drive, so make sure you have a rest before and a light meal to avoid feeling sleepy.
4: Pull over when you feel drowsy
Along the highway there are plenty of Rest and Service Areas (RSA) with bathrooms, and some with restaurants. Stop, have a coffee and stretch your legs. Be warned that during this time, these rest stops will be very busy.
5: Take turns driving
If you can, travel with a companion you can take turns driving with.
6: Stay hydrated
Public toilets on the highway aren’t pleasant, so many drivers try not to drink too much water so they won’t have to stop. This is a bad idea as staying hydrated helps to sustain energy. Only drinking coffee may keep you awake, but too much of it can make you anxious.
7: Use Waze or Google Maps to use less congested routes
Use navigation apps to help avoid traffic congestion. It may take you on a longer scenic route or on trunk roads, but this is better than being stuck on the highway.
8: Stay within the speed limit and obey traffic rules
You know the drill – stay within the speed limit, don’t be struck by that great Malaysian affliction and use your indicators, don’t put on your hazard lights when it rains, put your lights on at dusk, and so on.
Recommended travel times
PLUS Malaysia Berhad (PLUS) has released a travel time advisory for the festive season to help you plan your journey from 9 to 25 February. If you’re travelling from the Klang Valley to Perlis, Kedah, Penang, North Perak and Johor, it’s recommended that you begin your journey (ie, enter the highway) before 10am. For all other states, head out after 10am. For those coming into the city from the states mentioned above, use the same timeframe.
The Expressway operator is offering registered PLUSMiles and Touch ‘n Go cardholders a toll rebate of 20% if you travel on the 12, 13, 20 and 21 February. But take note that the rebate doesn’t apply for tolls at Bangunan Sultan Iskandar, Tanjung Kupang and the Penang Bridge.
Happy and safe travels!