Saturday, September 18, 2010

road users who spoil your day

driving is a much more pleasant experience here in surburban melbourne even though i am not as familiar with the place as singapore.

surprisingly, the majority of the drivers in melbourne try to keep within the speed limit. much unlike singapore, where, when you take the taxi from the airport to the city, you get the impression that nobody takes the speed limit seriously.

i like to think of the use of the indicators (signal lights on the car) as an indication of the level of courtesy. in singapore and malaysia, two countries where i do most of my driving, the indicators are used sparingly. maybe, they should sell cars that come without signal lights because they are more ostentatious than functional.

in singapore, maybe 3 out of 10 will use the indicator to signal their intention to turn; in melbourne, the majority, like 9 out of 10, signal.

here in melbourne, the drivers are more predictable. if they move to the left lane, invariably, they will make a left turn; if they move and stay on the right, then they will turn right. in singapore, in many cases, you know of the other drivers' intention only at the last minute.

of course, here in melbourne, you do find recalcitrant drivers who ignore the red lights and those who treat the public roads as a race track but the number of such misdemeanors is much less than back home.

the following are the types of road users back in singapore who are a bane to other road users:

he thinks the numbers 50, 60, 70, 80 or 90 on the signboards denote the minimum speed.

when he wants to exit from the expressway, he has to get as close to the exit as possible before making a dash into the left lane.

the signal light is to be used only in a situation when he may be in danger of being hit by a vehicle from behind. or, it is to be activated, as an afterthought, when he is in the midst of making a turn.

he thinks he is very smart to move ahead of everyone in a queue and bullies his way into a gap in the queue.

the battery life is more important than a human life. that may explain why he uses the signal light sparingly and also why he does not switch on the headlights before 7.00 p.m.

he thinks he is a skilful driver because his lorry/cement mixer is travelling faster than all the cars on the road or the expressway. (i overheard this young man boasting about his uncle, a lorry driver, who overtakes everybody, except the police, on the road.)

he chooses to ignore the advice to switch on the headlights while driving in a tunnel.

he does not need extra lighting, even when it is cloudy or when visibility is poor, like during a heavy down-pour.

he thinks he is a skilful driver because he is able to cut across three lanes to get to the exit lane at the last minute.

he considers himself very smart because he has ignored the red light and beaten the two-second allowance before the vehicles in the adjacent road start moving off.


Uncle Lee said...

Hi YG, love this interesting comparisons....but from my many years of practically dropping in to Singapore in my car (Alfa Romeo) I was very impressed with Singapore drivers, as well the cops there don't take prisoners.

Compared to KL drivers, Penang too, not signalling or driving like i a Gran Prix.

One thing I remember very well, this from my Singapore lawyer friend, "Lee, when you drive in Singapore, by chance if you skid at Bukit Timah or ECP, aim for the longkang, cheaper to break your head, or neck than to hit any of LKY's trees of same height". Ha ha.

One time was stopped at near Woodlands at 2am and I had 4 Jack Daniels at the Mandarin Kasbah earlier....I was 8 KM over the speed limit.
Fortunately was given a 3 minute lecture, and not a Breathalyzer test....but...I could hold my drinks old days...was driving like my MIL inside, ha ha.

You stay easy, have fun, and keep well, Lee.

Ps, our cops here don't take prisoners. Don't use your indicators when changing lanes, use h/phone, go 50KM over speed limit, car get towed away, you jalan kaki balek. L.

yg said...


maybe the s'pore police should consider adopting these tough measures so that motorists will think twice before committing serious traffic offences. but, first the traffic police must make sure that are seen more often on the roads.

ST said...

This post is now 4 years old, but the behaviour of Singaporean drivers is still the same. In fact, you can add one more to the list - people are easily offended by honking. In the past, we can use light honking or high beaming as warning to other road users, but do that now and you will likely get punched in the face. Or the bugger might stop in front of you and want to pick a fight.