Safe driving requires the ability to concentrate, make good judgements and quickly react to situations. It’s easy to feel comfortable behind the wheel, especially with years of experience under your belt, but you can never take safety for granted.
Despite a decrease in accidents, recent statistics have shown the number of road fatalities in Singapore increased slightly from 117 in 2017 to 120 in 2018. While there were fewer speeding violations and related accidents, red-light running violations and related accidents increased by 2.6 percent and drink-driving related accidents increased by an alarming 17.3 percent.
Here are the 5 ways to keep you and your loved ones safe on the road.
1. AVOID DRIVING WHILE FATIGUED OR DROWSY
Many people assume fatigue is only a problem for long-distance drivers, however it is just as relevant for short-distance drives. Usually, drivers are already tired when they get behind the wheel from long hours, shift work, or lack of sleep. Drivers’ reaction times, awareness of hazards and ability to sustain attention all worsen the drowsier the driver is, and you are three times more likely to be involved in a car crash when you are fatigued.
It’s not always easy to tell when you’re too tired to drive. Telltale signs of fatigue or drowsiness include yawning excessively, difficulty focusing on the road and heavy eyelids, drifting from your lane, and/or feeling restless and irritable.
If you are experiencing those signs, try:
- Drinking caffeine as it improves alertness.
- Driving slower and don’t rush – it is better to arrive at your destination safely.
- If it is safe to do so, make sure you are in a safe location and pull over and rest for 20 minutes.
2. FOCUS ON THE ROAD
Using your phone to send a short message or taking a quick call might seem harmless, but distracted driving is a leading cause in car accidents across the world. Research has shown that phone use carries a significant cost to a driver’s attention, making them far more prone to errors, including failures in visual perception and inability to detect and react to hazards.
It is proven that your brain cannot do two mentally demanding tasks at the same time, so it would not take a lot for you to be distracted. Distracted driving causes thousands of crashes around the world. Risking putting yourself and others at danger just to send a text is definitely not worth it.
3. NEVER DRINK AND DRIVE
Drink-driving is a serious and dangerous crime. No person is too skilled, too big, or too clever to avoid the effects of alcohol behind the wheel. Any amount of alcohol in your bloodstream can impact your driving ability, impairing coordination and judgement. Your ability to concentrate is significantly reduced, as well as your memory, vision and hearing.
Drinking alcohol might give you a false sense of confidence, overestimating your abilities and leading you to take risks you otherwise might not engage in. The number of drink-driving accidents in Singapore increased by 17.3 per cent to 176 cases last year, from 150 in 2017. If you are caught and fail the breathalyser test, you can be fined from S$1,000 to S$5,000 or be charged up to six months imprisonment.
4. BAD WEATHER CONDITIONS
Singapore’s weather is known to change drastically, and heavy showers can create dangerous driving situations. From wet or flooding roads to obscured visibility, drivers should watch their speed, or make a full stop if necessary when caught in bad weather. You should not attempt to speed up, change lanes, or swerve and squeeze your way through traffic. Leave plenty of room- a gap at least 4 seconds between you and the car in front. Do remember to switch your headlights.
Breakdown numbers do increase in the rain as damp can cause problems with electrics and engines. If you do break down, keep your bonnet closed to prevent any further damage. Do not try to restart your engine if it has cut out after you’ve driven through deep water.
5. DRIVE DEFENSIVELY, NOT IRRESPONSIBLY
Whether you’re late, annoyed, lost, or having the worst day, there is no excuse for taking your frustration out on those on the road. Not only do tailgating, speeding, stopping fast, and weaving in and out of traffic put you at risk, it also puts everyone you share the road with in harm’s way.
When the traffic light turns amber, it is not a sign to speed up but rather as a warning to drivers to slow down. According to a recent report published by Singapore police, number of red-light running violations spiked by 15.7 per cent to 53,910 cases, police said. This is 7,311 cases more than 2017’s 46,599 violations. Accidents caused by red-light running increased slightly by 2.6 per cent to 120 accidents, from 117 accidents in 2017.
Avoid getting into accidents by waiting a few seconds to give way to vehicles with the right of way, and signal early to when turning or changing lanes to alert other drivers of your intentions.
Whether you are driving to the grocery store, to work, or on a long drive in a far-away town- driving safely cannot be taken for granted.
If you have any other safety tips, do let us know in the comments below!
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