My latest article on POSKOD.SG.
Ten Steps to Effective Driving.
A guide to burning up the road. (Mostly burning.)
In addition to having good communication skills, Singaporeans have extremely awesome motoring habits.
That’s hardly surprising: 12% of Singapore’s land area is made up of roads, so getting around speedily means that you’re gonna need to get your Ma Chi on faster than a traffic light turns green.
Before you do so, however, here are ten steps to effective driving, the get-out-of-my-Singaporean way.
- Communicate effectively.
In keeping with our culture of communicative excellence, don’t use your signal lights.
Who invented them, and what are they for, other than to overwhelm drivers with useless information?
Alternatively, communicate in a betterer fashion by signalling a right turn but making a left turn instead.
Routine breeds complacency, and you’ve got to keep people on their toes – even if it means them keeping their toes on their brake pedal all the time.
Here’s a quick quiz to test your understanding of this:
- You are approaching a junction. You plan to make a left turn into the filter lane.
- There is a driver at the opposite end of the junction waiting to make a right turn.
- Do you signal your intention so that he doesn’t have to wait in vain?
No! Don’t demean him by assuming that he doesn’t want to wait for you.
- Be flexible.
Jam on the brakes when other motorists least expect you to. Better yet – make abrupt U-turns.
Inject a little spontaneity into what would otherwise be a mundane and boring drive.
Here’s another quick quiz to test your understanding of this:
While driving, you realise you need to make a U-turn. What do you do?
- Stay in the left-most lane.
- Jam on the brakes.
- Turn your steering wheel sharply to your right.
- Make the U-turn.
- Bonus points if you signalled a left turn before doing so (in keeping with Step 1).
- Keep a safe following distance.
One bumper width is fine, especially in land-scarce Singapore.
In fact, the closer you can get, the better – Singapore is all about motor-racial harmony.
Furthermore, personal space is an alien concept introduced by corrupt Westerners, and has no place in a society built on solid Asian values like filial piety, meritocracy and ERP gantries.
Nearly knocked down by yet another taxi again – this time it’s a driver from ComfortDelGro.
Begin forwarded message:
From: Laremy Lee
Date: December 21, 2009 12:20:15 PM SST
Subject: E-mail of Complaint against SHA 3519 B.
I would like to lodge a complaint against one of the taxi drivers in your fleet – the driver of Vehicle Number SHA 3519 B (hereby referred to as “3519” in this e-mail).
At around 9pm on Sat, 19 Dec 2009, I was riding my motorcycle along Loyang Avenue (heading away from Changi Village) when the encounter with your taxi driver occurred. This is the flow of events as it happened:
- I was riding in the left lane, when I signalled right to change lane, as I wanted to overtake the vehicle in front of me.
- I changed lanes safely and without mishap. However, after I changed lanes, the vehicle which was then behind me (3519) turned on its high beam for an extended period. I noticed this as the glare from the reflection in my side mirrors was extremely bright and distracting.
- After I overtook the vehicle, which was now next to me, 3519 followed suit. It then tailgated me by driving behind me at a very close distance.
- Furthermore, 3519 continued shining its high beam at me – for no apparent reason.
- 3519 then overtook me in a dangerous fashion – it cut into the left lane at a high speed and at a tight angle, even after I had sounded my horn to alert the driver of my presence.
- This troubled me greatly, as it meant that 3519 nearly sideswiped my motorcycle. Hence, I followed the vehicle so that I could alert the driver to the fact that he had been driving in a dangerous manner.
- When 3519 stopped at the red light, he showed no signs of remorse. He did not even wind the window to talk to me; he merely glared at me in a menacing way.
These are my concerns as follow:
- That 3519 overtook me in such a dangerous fashion demonstrates that the driver had complete and utter disregard for the safety of my pillion and I, along with a deficiency in knowledge of what it means to drive safely on the roads.
- That 3519 had complete and utter disregard for our safety, plus the fact that the showed no signs of remorse proves that this was no accident – the driver had every intention to be a bully on the roads.
It is clear that your driver is at fault for driving dangerously and endangering the lives of my pillion and I. I would like to request for the following actions to be carried out:
- I want to know the driver’s name.
- I want to know why he did what he did that night.
- I want a meeting to be arranged so that I can speak with him as I would like a personal apology from him.
I don’t think this is too much to ask. For one, this is not the first time that an incident of this severity has occurred – there have been other taxis who have been equally threatening, and I have written in to their respective companies before. For another, I do not want you to punish him or ‘counsel’ him, as other taxi companies have done in the past, as it might not serve a purpose in rehabilitating this driver and making sure he does not commit the same mistake again. Rather, I believe that the driver will pay more attention to other road users subsequently when he meets me, as it might help him to realise that other road users are human beings as much as he is.
I hope you will respond favourably to my request. Problems like these must be nipped in the bud; a failure to do so will be irresponsibility on our parts, as it will only breed the possibility of more accidents on the road in the future.
Laremy LEE (Mr)