Road Sharing: 6 Safety Rules for Motorists
Reading time: 4 mins
To practice road safety in Singapore, you not only need to know the rules set out for you, but you need to be vigilant of all road users, whether it’s other cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, bicycles or pedestrians.
While cars are protected with airbags, seatbelts, and the outer body of the vehicle, motorbike riders, cyclists and pedestrians are highly exposed, making them more susceptible to serious injuries and even fatality.
In 2020, motorcyclists and their pillion riders accounted for the highest number of fatalities in Singapore road accidents, followed by pedestrians and cyclists. The main causes of these accidents were cited as speeding, drunk driving, running the red light and jaywalking in the case of elderly pedestrians. In most of these cases, an accident could have been avoided if motorists practiced safe driving while on the road.
So, we’ve put together some safety rules – whether you drive a car or ride a motorbike – on how you can coexist with other vehicles and road users, and be prepared for all road situations.
Rule #1: Don’t tailgate
It is important to keep a safe distance between your vehicle and other vehicles or non-motorists on the road. If you drive a car in Singapore, a following-distance of at least one car length for every 16 km/h of your speed is advised, so that you can come to a stop within a safe distance of the car in front of you. Based on the illustration above, this would mean you need to be at least 3 car lengths away if you’re going at 48 km/h, 4 car lengths if you’re at 64 km/h, and so on. This rule also applies to motorcycle riders, if you’re caught riding behind another vehicle.
Always keep a safe distance, so that you are not forced to brake abruptly. Bear in mind that other vehicles, especially heavy vehicles like trucks and lorries take time to come to a stop.
The other rule of thumb for all motorists, is to watch for the stop light of the vehicle in front and the traffic ahead to help you gauge a safe distance to keep to. And needless to say, you should keep away from the road shoulders and bicycle lanes to ensure there’s a safe distance between you and cyclists or pedestrians.
Rule #2: Check your blind spots
Whether it’s a bicycle, or pedestrian, non-motorists can go unnoticed. Ensure that you check your blind spots at all times, especially if you want to change lanes or make a turn.
You should also be aware that large commercial vehicles, with a higher elevation than an average car, have big blind spots on both sides. The driver would not be able to see you if you are directly behind. A good way to assess this is by remembering that, if you can’t see the driver’s face in the large vehicle’s side-view mirror, the driver probably can’t see you either. So, besides keeping at a safe distance, keep checking that you can see and be seen by other vehicles on the road.
Rule #3: Slow down and obey the speed limit
Speeding is seen as a severe traffic offense in Singapore. Exceeding the road speed limit by 1 to 40km/hr, will result in 4 to 8 demerit points and a composition fine ranging from $150 to $400, depending on how much you exceeded the speed limit by. If you go over 41 km/hr to more than 60km/hr, you will lose 12 to 24 demerit points and be liable for prosecution in court.
No matter how late you are for an appointment, or whatever emergency you’re facing, going over the speed limit is never a good thing since it can endanger your life and the lives of other road users. Always follow the stipulated speed limits and obey the “Reduce Speed Now” signs whenever you’re out on the road.
Rule #4: Stop at pedestrian crossings
When driving or riding through areas that are close to schools, shopping centres and parks, slow down and stop for pedestrians when you reach a zebra crossing. Remain patient especially with seniors and disabled people as they may need more time to cross the street, and remember that they have the right of way to safely get across the junction.
As a motorist, you must recognize your role in ensuring the safety and comfort of non-motorists on the road, such as cyclists and pedestrians.
Rule #5: Give way to non-motorists when turning
When turning left or right with your car or motorcycle, be aware that other vehicles or cyclists may appear from behind you, either to make the same turn as you or to overtake you and continue straight. So, it’s important that you’re mindful when turning, and turn only when there is a substantial gap between your vehicle and the other road user. Look out for pedestrians that may be crossing the road as you take the turn too. Let them pass before you make your way.
Keep checking your rear view and side view mirrors before you take a turn and avoid sudden swerves when turning. It pays to be extra cautious at such instances.
Rule #6: Never overtake unless you are confident
Do not overtake other motorists or non-motorists on the road unless you can do so without posing a risk to yourself or others. Be especially careful at night, and during heavy rains, as it can be more difficult to judge the distance and speed of other vehicles at such times.
In accordance with Singapore road rules, you are not allowed to overtake another vehicle when there’s a double white line at the centre of the road. You should also avoid overtaking when you are approaching a pedestrian crossing, a road junction, a street corner or a bend.
Another thing to note, is that when you are being overtaken, never try to increase your speed to prevent the other motorist from passing, especially if it’s a heavy commercial vehicle like a bus or truck. Slow down and give the other road user enough space to make a turn without causing any danger.
Bottom Line: Be Considerate of All Road Users
Driving without due care or reasonable consideration for other road users constitutes aggressive driving that can cause harm to other road users. As a motorist, you will either be guilty of or a victim of driver aggression that can lead to serious injuries or fatality. Don’t let this be you!
By following these six safety rules, you can ensure the safety of your family as well as other road users — whether they are motorists or not. You should also ensure that you have good car or motorbike insurance that covers third-party damage and injury, if you ever cause a road accident that involves another road user. DirectAsia’s car and motorcycle insurance offers 3 cover types; Third-Party Only (TPO), Third-Party Fire & Theft (TPFT) and Comprehensive, that all include third-party coverage.
Good news is, if you keep to these road sharing rules and stay clear of accidents, you can also save more on your car insurance with DirectAsia’s NCD60! If you’ve held NCD50 for at least 5 consecutive years, you qualify for NCD60 and an extra 10% discount on your car insurance premium. If your motorcycle insurance is with us, you’ll be eligible for a NCD30 discount, as long as you’ve maintained your NCD20 for 2 or more consecutive years. So, let’s be considerate of one another and keep safe at all times!