Being a Gracious Driver

Singapore Motorist Guide: In collaboration with 'Use Your Roadsense', an initiative by Traffic Police

In this series of articles in collaboration with Use Your Roadsense, an initiative by the Singapore Traffic Police, Bridgestone Tyre Singapore brings to you tips and advice to be a better road user in Singapore.

For this third article in a six-part series, we bring you ways on how to use your roadsense, in order to be a better motorist. As a driver, you first need to keep in mind that courtesy is a two-way street. Just as you’d like others to be gracious to you, it’s important to first extend courtesy before it’s reciprocated.

“So, how do I go about being a more gracious driver,” you might ask. It might come as a surprise, but being a better motorist isn’t all about on-road behaviour and mannerisms. It begins even before you get behind the wheel, or even before you get to your car, in fact! 


1. Before You Drive


We’ve all been through this – sitting at your office desk working 15 hours straight to rush out a report for your boss, or finishing up a project due the next morning. It’s now past midnight, and you’ve been working non-stop since 8 in the morning, fueled by a cocktail of granola bars, triple-shot espressos, and energy drinks. You stumble to the car park and into your car, longing for a shower and the warm embrace of your bed.


STOP! If you’re tired enough that you need to fight to keep your eyes open, don’t get behind the wheel.

Driving while sleepy can be considered a form of impairment, which adversely impacts your reaction time, vigilance, attention, and rate of information processing. In two incidents that happened on Singapore roads, accidents caused by drivers falling asleep caused injuries to pedestrians, and even permanent disability and death.


So you’ve gone out for dinner with friends, and predictably, someone suggests post-dinner drinks at a nearby bar. Despite knowing that you drove to dinner, and being aware of the severe penalties for driving under the influence, your friends still push multiple drinks to you. Six drinks later, you’re still able to walk steadily to your car, but feeling a little drowsy.


STOP! As long as you’ve consumed any alcohol – whether it’s one drink or six – never drink and drive.

Just like driving while sleepy, drink driving affects your judgement and reaction time. With taxis and drive-home valet services available just a call away, there’s no excuse to drive home drunk. In two incidents, accidents caused by drivers driving drunk caused severe injuries to pedestrians, and even death.


2. When You’re Driving – Looking out for others


•      Keep a look out for cyclists and users of power-assisted bicycles (PABs)

The roads are a shared space for everyone, regardless of the number of wheels – two, four, or more. Whether you’re a motorcycle rider, a car driver, or an operator of a large commercial vehicle, always keep a look out for other non-motorised road users such as cyclists and users of PABs. With their lower speed and smaller size, being gracious means allowing them time to complete manoeuvres, and giving them space on the roads!


•      Always check your blind spot

As its name suggests, your vehicle’s blind spots are the areas that are unable to be directly seen by you while driving. The presence of blind spots can be due to the vehicle’s design, or the lack of sufficiently-placed mirrors. The larger the structure of the vehicle, the larger the blind spots are; thus being aware of larger vehicles’ blind spots can help to prevent accidents.


•      Slow down at amber lights

Red means stop, green means go – traffic lights are rather straightforward. The amber light is where people start to get confused, and we’re here to help clear that up. An amber light means that you should slow down in preparation of coming to a complete stop, and not mash the throttle pedal in an attempt to beat the light!


•      Signal early

Surely you’ve been irritated by someone at the supermarket, randomly stepping in front of you to look at the vegetables displayed on sale. Annoying, isn’t it? Similar scenarios occur on the roads daily, where motorists abruptly stop or perform a lane change. Unlike the supermarket scenario where all that happens is annoyance, not indicating a change of direction can result in accidents on the road. As such, it’s important that you signal your intention early while driving, in order for fellow road users to take necessary action.


3. When You’re Driving – Following the rules


•      Don’t use your phone while driving

It’s tempting to quickly type out a reply on WhatsApp or take a quick call with your girlfriend, while driving on the roads. Even if you’re confident of using your phone while driving, a momentary lapse in attention while you glance at your phone’s screen can cause easily-avoidable accidents. What’s more, if you’re caught using a mobile device while driving, you can be liable to a fine of up to $1,000 and/or a jail term of up to 6 months.


•      Don’t tailgate – Keep a safe distance

Just like how we practise safe distancing of one metre when going to the shops or supermarket, it’s also important to keep a safe distance when driving on the roads. The general rule of thumb is to use the three-second rule when following behind another car, regardless of speed. This will give you sufficient distance to stop and avoid an accident if the vehicle in front stops suddenly.


For more information about 'Use Your Roadsense', an initiative by the Singapore Traffic Police, visit their Facebook page. For other articles sharing nifty driving tips, head on over to our Tyre Clinic.