Driving Basics in Singapore

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 fourth article in a six-part series, we bring you a refresher on driving basics you shouldn’t forget, no matter how long you’ve been driving. These basics would have been taught to you years ago as a learner driver, but they might’ve been forgotten by now, or other habits might’ve formed throughout the years of driving.

trivial driving basics?

As a seasoned driver, these five driving basics might seem trivial – but with nearly one million vehicles on Singapore’s roads, they’re crucial to ensuring smooth traffic flow and a safe journey for all road users.

Bridgestone Motorist - Driving Basics

The Two-Second Rule (Safe Following 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.

This is to ensure that you’re driving at a safe speed, and have a sufficient distance from the vehicle in front of you. Should the vehicle in front stop suddenly, this distance will give you sufficient time to stop and avoid an accident.

The two-second rule is easy to use and remember – it applies regardless of what speed you’re travelling at, and doesn’t require any additional equipment. To start, pick a fixed object on the road ahead of you such as a building, road sign, or overhead bridge. When the vehicle ahead of you passes the object, slowly count "one one-thousand, two one-thousand," to ensure that each count has a duration of approximately one second.

If you reach the object just as or after completing the count, well done! You’re observing the correct safe following distance. However, if you reach the object before completing the count, you need to reduce your speed to enlarge the gap, as you're following too closely.

Right of Way in a Roundabout

As Singaporeans, roundabouts seem to confuse us. Perhaps it’s the lack of roundabouts on our roads that contributes to this unfamiliarity – there are just an estimated 50 roundabouts left in Singapore!

The most popular roundabout (and largest cause of driver headaches) is Newton Circus, linking the Novena and Newton areas with a whopping eight exits. Despite having four lanes, Newton Circus is typically a scene of chaos due to drivers making mistakes such as using the wrong lane, and failing to signal their intentions correctly.

Something that most drivers might not know, are the instructions in the Basic Theory of Driving that guide road users on how to use a roundabout safely. Essentially, the one-liner that governs traffic in a roundabout is simply, “slow down when approaching a roundabout and give way to traffic on your right.” This aside, it’s also important that you are aware of which exit you intend to take before approaching the roundabout.

In the graphic above, you’ll see the correct lane to form up in and correct route to take across a roundabout, depending on your intended exit. Inside a roundabout, always check your mirrors, exercise caution, and manoeuvre your vehicle in a way that avoids inconveniencing other drivers.

Zipper Merging

Merging in traffic is something we do on nearly a daily basis. We need to merge when entering an expressway, we need to merge when bus lanes begin, and we also need to merge at construction zones!

To keep traffic flowing smoothly and at an optimal rate, the zipper merge technique should be employed by all drivers. This means that vehicles from both lanes alternately merge into the single lane, just like how a zipper works.

The correct way to perform a zipper merge is for motorists to use both lanes of traffic until they get to the defined merge area – whether it’s where the single lane begins, or where the construction starts. Unfortunately, many drivers view this as trying to jump the queue, and try to block the merging vehicles in an attempt at vigilante justice.

Should everyone merge properly in a zipper fashion, both the speed differences between lanes and traffic congestion will be significantly reduced!


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.