Defensive Driving in Indonesia

ATTENTION ALL “BULE” !  (pronounced: “boo – lae”. We, Indonesian people, are used to call foreign people as “bule”)

Indonesia’s traffic is quite different than yours. Believe it or not, it’s a jungle out there. The road signs are not as clear as in your own country, lots of pedestrians cross the road carelessly, many motorbikes ride around you (when I said many, I meant a lot, as if you’re driving in the middle of a motogp race), and more dangerous stuffs.

So, if you want to drive defensively in Indonesia, here’s some tips:

Don’t go near public means of transportation. They are the worst drivers in Indonesia, or maybe in the world! They would stop suddenly, changing lane brutally (without noticing that you are beside them), taking passengers in the middle of the road and of course, speeding. If you don’t know which ones are them, here some pics of Indonesia’s public transportation:

 pub transport










If you somehow driving behind one of those things, you’d better keep your distance. If you have enough distance, you can overtake them while they’re taking passengers. And one thing, don’t honk them ’cause it will get pretty ugly when they’re mad.

Pedestrians aren’t afraid of you. Here, the biggest thing gets all the blame. If you hit a pedestrian, the angry mob will beat you up. They don’t care if the pedestrian ran into you in the first place. You’re the one who drive the car, thus you’re guilty. Also, pedestrians don’t use the zebra cross for crossing. They just cross anywhere they want. So, keep your eyes open, anyone could jump out at you at any time.

Keep cool around motorbikes. Bikers roam the streets of Indonesia, especially the city of Jakarta. There are millions of bikers riding on the road everyday. When you’re driving around motorbikes, you’d better slow down a bit, let them go pass you. You don’t wanna hit them because the rule for crashing into bikers is the same as for hitting pedestrians: the biggest things are guilty.

motor rame








Those were pretty much the main things that you should care about when driving in Indonesia. Avoid crashing into anything and you’ll be fine. Don’t be afraid to come to Indonesia, our country aren’t as disastrous as shown on your TV. The weather is warm, the people are friendly, and the traffic is fine (if you follow my tips). Come, visit Indonesia!


About Junot D. Ojong

Author is a control systems engineer at a private company in Jakarta.
This entry was posted in tips and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Defensive Driving in Indonesia

  1. inez says:

    sebel ama bajaj, jalannya konstan. nyokap gw sering ga sabaran klo nyetir di blakang bajaj dan akhirnya nglakson, trus gw slalu blg, “percuma mi diklakson.. jalannya bakal sgitu2 aja, uda kcepatan maksimum..” wkwk.. uda ga cocok bwt dipake di jkt tu.

    trus trus… klo soal pejalan kaki yah, gw klo jd pejalan kaki malah ngalah mulu ama mobil.. o_O di jkt emg lebi nekad sih org2.

    • Junot D. Ojong says:

      Nez2, commentny pake bahasa inggris dnk. Biar pembaca-pembaca dari luar negeri bisa ngerti. hehehe (semoga ada orang bule yang baca dnk……)

      • inez says:

        i don’t wanna use english since it’s not my primary language. wkwk..

        ga dink. bnernya mah cm kmalesan aja gw. =P

  2. Tyson says:

    it’s worse than a motoGP race, since there’s not more than 20 bikes in a race, hahaha..

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