From a scratch against a too-close wall (bye-bye paintwork…) and a slight bump against another vehicle (hello confrontations!) to more serious accidents that cause physical injuries, driving can be a dangerous activity.
Still, many people prefer to own a car. Convenience is one of the living essentials we Singaporeans value. Efficiency is another. So if these are among the reasons why you continue to drive, so be it – just remember that it’s also possible to drive safely all the time.
Make these tenets your driving rules:
Don’t drive if you’re too tired.
We’re lucky that Singapore is tiny and there’s no such thing as driving long-distances unless you’re headed across the causeway on a trip.
But everyone gets tired sometimes and if you are, perhaps you should not be driving, even if you think it’s only for a short distance. It takes less than a second to fall asleep behind the wheel. The best that can happen is if this happens at a red light. As for the worst, well, you can only imagine.
Keep to the speed limits.
Speeding kills. Speed limits are there for a variety of reasons: it could be a school area with heavy pedestrian traffic or a dangerous corner with a weird blind spot. So slow down when you need to and also speed up on the expressways when you can (or stick to slower speed lanes so as to not road hog).
Don’t drink and drive.
Everyone knows this rule but so many people tend to disregard it, mainly because of inconvenience (i.e. leaving your car behind and having to retrieve it later after you’re sober). But perhaps a slight inconvenience is a small price to pay than to risk your life. Exercise more discretion by not driving to places where you might be cajoled into having a drink. This means leaving the car behind when you’re out clubbing – unless you’re a permanent teetotaller or designated driver.
Practice courtesy on the road.
Road rage can be dangerous. Quarrels happen mostly when you assume you have the right of way, as does the other driver. Or when you judge their driving skills as lacking, especially when their mediocrity cuts into your lane or slows you down! Of course being late for something or just being in a bad mood makes everything worse.
Frustrated? It may be challenging to do this but try not to take things so personally. Everyone is equal on the roads, i.e. accidents can happen to the best and worst drivers! So practice graciousness by giving way or even keeping a distance from sources of road rage, instead of acting on your (negative) emotions.
Service your car regularly.
Treat your car to a wash and tune up. Not just for grooming purposes because dirty windows also mean poor visibility. Poor brakes, broken lighting, tyre conditions and pressure can also form a recipe for disaster. So keep up proper maintenance of your vehicle to ensure safety on the road and also save your money in the long run!
Of course even with all these mantras in place, there may be situations you simply cannot avoid on the roads. For these etcetera, get a good car insurance plan as a safety net. Some insurers like Aviva offer you the convenience of renewing your policies online. You can modify your coverage details such as drivers’ age and excess amount without the hassle of calling in or form-filling. So remember to reserve your peace of mind.