5 things new drivers in Singapore should know
Congrats ! You’ve just gotten your driving license, and for some, you’re new to Singapore and just converted your driving license from your home country’s to ours. Whatever the case may be, the one thing you all have in common is that you’re new to driving in Singapore.
Firstly - driving in Singapore isn’t too difficult, but it takes some getting used to. For example, the road markings are clear, traffic lights are used widely, there are 10 expressways for you to use across the island, and most of the time, parking isn’t too difficult to find (unless you’re at a super popular location)
To make your transition to driving in Singapore easier, we have some helpful pointers that you should be aware of, so that you don’t enrage other drivers or get a summon from our traffic enforcers.
Use your signals
This is super obvious and was taught to you in driving schools, but drivers tend to forget to use it after they’ve gotten their license, and this is probably due to habit. You don’t use it once, then a few times, and before you know it, it becomes a habit.
Using your signals is extremely important so that other motorists are aware of your intentions. Accidents happen because some drivers do not use their signals. By the time other drivers can react to your actions, it's already too late.
No to mention that not using your signals can be used against you (classified as dangerous driving) if the case escalates to the authorities. So don’t jeopardize your own safety and the safety of others ! A simple flick of your finger can save your life, car, money, time and effort.
2. Hazard Lights
Speaking of signals, hazard lights are also important. You often use them to alert other drivers when you are stopped by the roadside. This is so that drivers coming up from behind or even oncoming cars are aware that you are stopped, and can take the necessary actions to overtake, etc.
Other scenarios may include when you are in a carpark, and you found a parking spot. Instead of stopping abruptly (and causing the driver behind to also jam his brakes), use your hazard lights to indicate that you are stopping, so that the driver behind you is aware of your intention to stop.
Turn on your hazards, and then come to a stop gently before you reverse your car into the parking lot. It’s a simple gesture that other drivers around you will be thankful for.
3. Keep left unless overtaking
On the expressway especially, the rightmost lane is for overtaking. Many Singaporean drivers tend to ‘road hog’ - meaning they are driving below the speed limit on the first (right most lane) lane on the highway.
For example, if the speed limit is 90km/h, and you are driving at 60km/h on the first lane of the highway, then you are road hogging. This is also addressed by the TP and LTA :
Road hogging is a dangerous (not to mention inconsiderate!) move because other faster drivers have to slow down for you, and are unable to overtake you. And they’ll probably be thinking….
Road hogging can also cause unnecessary ‘retaliations’ by other drivers who are unhappy with you, as seen in this video.
4. Bus Lane Hours
There are 2 types of bus lanes in Singapore. Normal bus lanes and full-day bus lanes. New, and in fact all drivers in Singapore should be aware of the bus lane hours to avoid getting the $130 fine if you drive in it when its in operation.
Below are the bus lane operating hours :
You may be wondering how the authorities know that you are in the bus lane. Well, buses that drive along routes with bus lanes may come with video cameras that can record errant motorists using the bus lane.
Finding parking in Singapore is not that difficult. Which is why you should not park your vehicle illegally ! If that doesn’t convince you - check out this list of Singapore parking offences and their respective fines.
It pays (literally) to find a proper parking spot so that you don’t inconvenience others. Also, the govt has made driver’s lives easier with the rollout of the Parking.sg app. With this app, you no longer have to use paper parking coupons to indicate your parking duration. Just key in your parking location, and select the duration that you want to park your car. It’s convenient because there is no use of paper coupons anymore, and you can easily extend your parking duration wherever you are, from the app itself. Yay to technology !
Last tip : Don’t forget your Cashcard !
Your cashcard is your bestfriend when you’re on the roads. Always ensure that your cashcard is:
Inserted into your IU (the grey device on the bottom of the windshield)
Your IU is working
Your cashcard has enough value (at least $20 to be safe)
Your cashcard is not faulty (the shiny metal part is not scratched or damaged)
You can ensure points 2,3 and 4 by inserting your cashcard into the IU unit, by hearing for a beep and checking that the value left in your cashcard is displayed on the IU. This simple check helps to prevent you from paying $10 extra, in the event that the ERP gantry is unable to deduct the amount from your cashcard if you drive under it, and also embarrassment when you try to leave a car park but the barrier does not raise because it can’t detect your IU !