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After a year on the road, new drivers tend to pick up many undesirable driving habits. Here are five dangerous habits that you don't want to get accustomed to.

Category: Car Ownership Advice


Getting your driving license is the first step to driving in Singapore, the next milestone is to rack up a year of driving experience so that you can lose that 'Triangle Plate'. All drivers who passed their driving test are equipped with adequate knowledge and skills to drive safely on the road. That is after all, what the whole driving license system is meant to achieve.

However, it is easy to get complacent once you have the freedom of driving without an instructor in the passenger seat. You will also start to pick up (wrong) habits from other drivers, and it doesn't take long for you to become a road hazard. Chances are that you will flunk the same driving test that gave you the freedom of driving just a year ago. Here are five dangerous driving habits that you don't want to pick up.

1. Not checking blind spots

The simple act of checking your blind spots before making a lane change can keep everyone safe on the roads
To many seasoned drivers, checking of blind spots seems like an unnecessary practice that driving instructors enforce on learner drivers. It seems like something that is only forced upon learner drivers to make their lives more difficult.

That is of course untrue, as checking of blind spots is an integral part of safe driving. Blind spots are areas that you cannot see in your range of vision, and in the case of driving, these are areas that cannot be properly seen even with the use of the vehicle's side and rearview mirrors. As such, you might fail to realise the presence of another vehicle (especially motorcycles which are much smaller) travelling next to yours and risk side-swiping them. Checking of blind-spots only requires a slight tilt of your head and it is a simple practice that can keep everyone safe on the roads.

2. Not slowing down at give way lines and pedestrian crossings

You should always slow down when approaching give way lines and pedestrian crossings
Pedestrian crossings and give way lines are something that drivers encounter on a daily basis, and slowing down when approaching them should be a much more common practice and not just a suggestion. While you might be tempted to simply give a cursory glance as you approach and proceed through without slowing down, it is a dangerous practice that can result in disastrous accidents should you misjudge the situation.

Without slowing down, you will not be able to stop in time should there be a need to. With the recent influx of e-scooters and e-bikes, pedestrian crossings are much more precarious than before, as it is easy to miss these swiftly moving PMDs. Always slow down, so that you can react should there be any unexpected traffic or pedestrian.

3. Not using turn signals

Using turn signals to indicate your intentions is a simple yet important practice
According to an online poll conducted by The Straits Times in 2014, Singapore drivers' biggest pet peeve is when drivers don't signal before changing lanes. Turn signals are used to indicate your intention to turn or change lane. It only requires a nudge to the signal stalk that is conveniently located right behind your steering wheels.

You might think that it's fine to change lane without signalling when there isn't any other vehicles behind you, but do you also think that checking of blind spots are unnecessary? Because when you put these two habits together, it concocts the perfect recipe for disaster. Changing lanes without warning can often cause a shock to other road users, potentially resulting in accidents as they have to avoid your surprising manoeuvre. Seriously, though, it just takes a simple gesture to keep everyone safer on the road, so why not?

4. Distracted driving

Driving is an activity that requires maximum focus, hence you shouldn't be using your phone while driving
Getting a driving license empowers you with the freedom to go anywhere you want, without a driving instructor sitting in the passenger seat. It also means you now have the freedom to use your phone while operating the vehicle. With the hectic lifestyle in Singapore, it is not surprising that many drivers reply to messages while driving. As they say, time is money, right?

While you can argue that if the phone is mounted on a holder, it is not illegal to use it while driving, but how many of us can confidently say that we are able to multi-task flawlessly? I, for one, wouldn't dare to say so. Ever tried taking your eyes off the road for a split-second or attempt to rest your eyes for a brief moment while driving? If you have done so, you will know how likely it is for things to go wrong within that few seconds. Needless to say, typing away while driving in the packed streets here is an almost surefire way of getting into accidents.

5. Speeding up to prevent other drivers from merging in

For reasons unknown, drivers here love to speed up to prevent others from merging in
According to the same poll that was mentioned earlier, this phenomenon came in a close second position when it comes to driving habits that grind the gears of Singaporean road users. While the use of turn signals is to warn other road users of your impending lane change, many drivers here treat it as a signal to move forward and close the gap. For reasons unknown, many drivers seem to dislike the notion of another car merging in front of them.

This inconsiderate act can cause other road users to miss their exit or be forced to slow down abruptly and dangerously in order to make a lane change, possibly causing accidents to happen. Such actions may also encourage other road users to forgo the turn signal, as the chances of them merging in successfully are higher when they do not signal, cultivating the very culture that we all hate.

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