As some of you might have known, I was recently involved in an accident along Upper Paya Lebar Road. Unfortunately, although I would still insist I am in the right of way, damages would allow the other party involved to win in the case of an insurance payout. The end result came up to be a very expensive private settlement – a reminder once again to myself and all drivers out there to open your eyes wide.
As such, I’ve decided to come up with a basic tip/guide on road safety, especially for drivers (I will do up one regarding road safety for pedestrians and cyclists later on). These are basic guidelines for each driver and I really hope it would do you some good and prevent further accidents from happening as a result of misjudgment and negligence.
Tip 1: Always SIGNAL when you wish to turn or change lanes
Image | Courtesy of Driving School of Ireland
Unfortunately, this is one regulation that most drivers fail to adhere to, especially when they get complacent after years behind the wheel. Signal, dude, and signal EARLY! Whether you are filtering out of a lane, into a slip-road, or simply turning a corner, SIGNAL. It ain’t that hard to reach other to the right of your steering wheel (left for continental cars) and flick the indicator switch.
Signaling gives you ample time and priority to make your turn safely, as it will give other road users and drivers a clear indication of your intention. Most accidents are caused by the failure to signal and thus, give way. Basic international theory guideline states signaling as early as 100m for safety and space for the drivers behind you to filter out if necessary. Do it!
Tip 2: Check your blind spot whenever you are shifting out of your lane!
Be it turning, filtering or just stopping by the road side, this is extremely relevant to my first tip of signaling. Also, this is the main cause of my accident last week when an awesome lady driver cut into my lane without checking her blind spot, resulting in the accident being viewed as my fault.
Side mirrors are not sufficient when filtering, as there will be the ‘blind spot’ directly by the side of your rear door where the mirror will not cover. The following diagram will show you why.
As you can see in the third image from the left, as the blue car pulls up towards the side of the green car, the rear view and side mirror will not indicate the presence of the car. It can only be spotted if you physically turn your head and check the side of your car. Photo | Canadian Insurance Claim
Tip 3: Don’t tailgate (unless necessary)
Tailgating is one of the major cause of accidents on the roads today – some drivers might be in a hurry, some might just tailgate for the fun of it, and some just want to prove themselves to the rest that they are superior to others (applies specifically to those ah bengs driving WRX thinking they’re some T-Rex on the road HURRRR).
The right lane is stipulated as the lane for overtaking in an emergency – unfortunately, not everybody realises that. There should not be a need to tailgate when on other lanes besides the first, and even so, if the first lane is hogged up, you should check the remaining lanes for the possibility of overtaking.
Tailgating is a dangerous act on the road, and requires absolute precision and extreme caution. It is an act not to be done if you’re those drivers who drive with their right foot on the accelerator and left foot on the brakes, and also not an act if you’re in your first few virgin years of driving. Unless confident and absolutely necessary, don’t tailgate.
Tip 4: Don’t hog the road if you’re slow
Which brings me to my next point – don’t hog the road if you’re slow. The speed limit serves as a maximum speed on the road, but that doesn’t mean you have the right to travel at 50 km/h on the right lane on a 90 km/h expressway.
Sadly to say, and not being sexist, female drivers are mostly the responsible ones for this act of road hogging. Aunties, old uncles and young ladies who are not confident on the right lane of the road, please keep to the extreme left lane or at least the middle lane. Don’t blame us if we speed up behind you and flash our high beams when there’s obviously a huge distance in front of you to the next car, and of course, if you are causing a huge traffic queue behind you.
Tip 5: Don’t slow down too drastically before a speed camera
Most speed cameras in Singapore are tuned to allow at least a 5 km/h excess in speed detection. However, that’s not a reason for you to speed.
Speed camera on highway. Photo | UK Autoblog
But, the presence of a speed camera does not give you the right to slow down drastically. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, take a drive along any expressway with a speed camera and you will realise most motorists slow down way below the speed limit just before the camera, pass it with extreme caution (and I mean extreme), and speed up again 300 m down the road. This is unnecessary. Especially during peak hours, it is unwise to slow down too much for you will be causing unnecessary build up of traffic behind you. Stay at the speed limit, or at most 10 km/h below it, and cruise past the camera. There’s no need to hog the lane at 50 km/h when the limit is at 80.
Ok, 5 tips is enough for today. I’ve went a little longer than I predicted I would – will be continuing the next 5 tips on road safety for drivers another day.
Drive safe, stay alive and happy.