Being considerate to other road users not only makes driving a pleasure — it keeps our roads safe, too.
Driving should be a pleasurable experience. However, there are some drivers who seem determined on making it as infuriating as possible. Doesn’t it get on your nerves when you see a vehicle hogging two lanes on the road? How about when the vehicle on your right suddenly veers into your lane because the driver insists on having a wider berth to negotiate an upcoming U-turn?
Also, when was the last time a fellow driver smiled and gave way to you, or waved to you to say “thanks”. What happened to civic mindedness? Has being courteous and gracious to fellow road users become passé?
Maybe we are all in need of an upgrade, to be not just better drivers but drivers who care and are considerate to fellow road users. Here are some of ways we can turn that frown into a smile.
1 Expressing gratitude may sound simple enough, but that is something we rarely do these days. A smile or a wave of the hand to thank someone not only makes the receiving party feel good, it makes you feel good, too.
2 Giving clear and advance indications makes for a safer drive. Use your left- and right-turn indicators and wait for vehicles to give way to you — you need to give others time to react. Once you’ve made your move, don’t forget to switch the indicator off to avoid confusing drivers behind you.
3 Don’t jump queue. Some drivers have the bad habit of driving quickly to the front of the queue when they see a road diversion or block, and expect other drivers at the head of the queue to give way. Some even do it forcibly. This not only irritates other drivers, it is reckless and dangerous. If this happens to you, and if you have an in-car camera, you can report the errant driver for dangerous driving. The worst thing you can do is to retaliate. Remember, bad behaviour begets bad behaviour.
4 Speed limits are there for a reason. Zipping through traffic at high speedis downright dangerous. Not only does it consumemore fuel and extracts a toll on your tyres, it may result in a speeding fine of $130–$170, and up to 24 demerit points. If you reckon yourself the next Lewis Hamilton and have a need to speed, there’s always the Sepang circuit to go crazy on.
5 At the other end of the speed spectrum, going too slow is just as annoying. Road hogging is bad manners, and can cause traffic build-up behind you. Keep to the left if you are not overtaking anybody — you don’t want to be holding up anxious motorists trying to keep an appointment.
6 Cool heads keep us safe! Tackling busy roads can be stressful, and everyone’s dealing with it as best they can. Giving in to road rage just make things worse. Don’t make all traffic issues your personal problem. Give others the benefit of the doubt, and rationalise the situation before you decide to do anything. This way of stepping back will help cool you down and make sure you don’t let an isolated incident become a flash point that may lead to regrettable altercations later.
Let’s all play a part to make driving in Singapore a less nerve-racking experience; and remember to smile and thank someone the next time he or she gives way to you.