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Text | Goh Zhi Xuan
Photos | Newslink

7 May 2019
Whether it's something minor like tailgating out of a carpark or outright insurance scams, these ploys will more likely get you into trouble.

Driving a car in Singapore is an expensive affair, from the initial costs of the car to the maintenance and miscellaneous expenses such as parking. It isn't surprising that most drivers wish to reduce their expenses, and some might resort to petty cheats and tricks to achieve that. Here are some of the common tricks that drivers here turn to save a buck or two. Unsurprisingly, most of these tricks come with consequences that make you wonder why anyone will even attempt them.
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1) Tailgating out of carpark gantries

"Wah carpark there very expensive leh...", "Never mind bro, just tailgate out later lah." If you find this conversation familiar, we probably don't have to explain more about this little trick. But for the rest, 'tailgating' is where the driver attempts to stay as close as possible to the car in front of them while exiting a carpark gantry in order to avoid payment.

While it seems like a harmless trick to save a few bucks, it is a dangerous practice as you might not be able to stop in time. Oh, and of course there are consequences. If you get caught, you will be fined a sum that will surely be more than what you saved.
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2) Reusing parking coupon cheat

Parking coupons used to be the default method to pay for parking in Singapore. It is a printed sheet with tabs to be torn off to indicate the time when the car is parked, with the cost of each coupon determining the duration. Many 'smart' drivers attempt to cheat the system by folding the tabs instead of tearing them off, so that they can reuse the coupon. Such occurrence are less common nowadays as most of the carparks are now equipped with electronic parking gantries.

While you can probably save a couple of dollars if you get away with it, you can be fined up to $400 according to HDB's website. Not really great odds if you ask us.

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3) Tampering with off-peak car coupon

Off-Peak Cars (OPC) are easily identifiable by their signature red number plates. These cars can only be driven on weekends, eve of public holidays, public holidays and during restricted hours of 7:00pm to 7:00am on weekdays. In order to drive an OPC outside of the allowed hours, you will have to display a coupon which costs $20 (in recent years, the 'e-Day license' system has been introduced, there is no longer the need to display a physical coupon).

As the coupons are pretty much a larger version of the parking coupons, with pull out tabs, they are tampered in a similar manner. Like the cost and size of the coupon, the punishment for tampering with an OPC coupon is much higher as well, consisting of a fine not exceeding $20,000 or imprisonment not exceeding 12 months or both. With such heavy penalties, it surely doesn't make any sense to tamper with an off-peak car coupon!
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4) Entering Malaysia with insufficient petrol

If you have ever driven into Malaysia, you will have noticed the multiple signboards reminding you to have a fuel level of at least three-quarter. Due to taxation and the difference in exchange rate, Singapore's fuel prices can be as much as three times more than our neighbouring country! By entering Malaysia with less fuel, one can top up a tank of cheap petrol, resulting in substantial savings.

There is however the risk of a hefty fine if you get caught. In order to avoid that, some drivers will tamper their fuel gauge such that it always shows a sufficient fuel level. Of course, by doing so, you will be committing a serious crime which even carries a jail term as punishment!
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5) Petrol kiosk cheats

As established earlier, fuel is expensive in Singapore. Thus, it isn't surprising that most try to find ways to cut down on that spending. There was a recent viral case where a BMW driver reportedly gave a confusing instruction of 'fuel 10' in order to confuse the petrol station attendant into pumping a full tank of petrol (the case was concluded as a misunderstanding). While that might just be a misunderstanding, you will be shocked to hear of the many incidents where drivers leave without paying if you ever have the chance to chat with petrol station cashiers.

In such cases, the shortfall is usually paid for by the cashiers. As such, it is not only illegal, but a highly unethical action as well.

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6) Insurance scams

Insurance scams often make it to the news every now and then. There are syndicates who stage accidents in order to obtain sizeable payouts from insurers. Drivers would brake abruptly in front of unsuspecting drivers to cause a collision, they would then claim for excessive repair costs. Such actions not only cause inconvenience, they are also extremely dangerous and can possibly cause chain collisions and pileups on the roads.

Such actions are of course highly illegal. It constists of multiple offences such as reckless driving, fraudulent property damage claims against insurance companies and others. Oh, and you can be sure that the punishment includes a jail term, too.