Looking to go out for a drive? If you’re planning to do so in Malaysia, you’re taking quite the roll of the dice. Malaysia comes in at number 17 in terms of most fatalities per capita from road crashes. In fact, in all of Asia, only Thailand is more dangerous a place to drive than Malaysia. Even worse, when road crashes are considered as a percentage of fatalities, Malaysia comes in at number eight, easily beating out any other country in Asia.

Malaysia

What’s that mean? It means that driving is one of the most likely causes of death in Malaysia. So if you’re looking to buy a car in the country, make sure you pay close attention to the safety standards of any car you’re looking to buy.

Roads remain dangerous despite government efforts

Despite efforts by the government to curb accidents, increase emergency response times, and make Malaysia a safe place to drive, road conditions remain dangerous. Part of the problem may lie with an inadequate road infrastructure. The number of Malaysians driving cars has been rapidly growing in recent years and despite considerable public investments, the road system has not been able to keep us, especially in major cities such as Kuala Lumpur.

Heavy rains, mudslides, and other natural disaster conditions only complicate driving conditions further. Add in a large number of motor bikes whizzing through traffic, pervasive drunk driving, and numerous other conditions and it’s easy to see why Malaysia is a dangerous place to drive.

At the same time, traffic law enforcement is lax and bribing the police to get out of traffic violations is very common. Fines can be paid “on the spot”, meaning many police officers will simply pocket a few hundred ringgit and decline to report the violation. This creates a culture in which people know they can drink and drive, or race down roads, and face little chance of being punished beyond paying a small bribe.

Malaysia scores well on other health marks

While Malaysia is one of the most dangerous countries to drive in, on the whole it’s a relatively safe country. In fact, when fatalities from all causes were considered, Malaysia actually come in the top 25 for lowest number of fatalities per 100,000. So while it might be dangerous on the roads, otherwise you’re likely safe in Malaysia.

Malaysia’s health care system is among the better systems in middle income countries. Further, while the country has been struggling with obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions, the problem is not nearly as bad as most developed countries, such as the United States and Australia.