The purpose of taking shortcuts is to reduce travelling time, especially when you are late for an appointment. However, do they actually work, and are they dangerous?
We all love shortcuts. If we can do something that much quicker, it would be a win-win situation for most of us. Drivers are no different. Getting to our destination more quickly makes us happy. When we see a shortcut, we can get fixated on the advantage of going for it, even if it may not guarantee success. And while we are focused on being more efficient, we tend to forget about safety.
There are some advantages to taking a shortcut apart from saving time. Your car spends less time idling in a traffic jam, and less idling also means less pollution from your car. Your car brakes don’t suffer from the stop-start traffic conditions as you crawl slowly on. Your blood pressure doesn’t go up. However, the shortcut option is justifiable only if you know that it will definitely be faster, that it saves you fuel, and that it is safe to do so.
Here we look at three different scenarios where drivers are most likely to attempt a shortcut and deviate from their usual driving habits and practices.
As a driver, you may find it more convenient to cut through a residential area to avoid heavy traffic. However, you need to keep in mind the safety of those who reside in these neighbourhoods. Even if it is a shortcut to you, you still have to abide by the speed limit and safety measures that cater to the elderly and those less mobile, as well as school-going children in these areas. Silver Zones and School Safety Zones in these areas require you to keep to a speed limit of 40km/h. In some Silver Zone locations, the speed limit has been lowered to 30km/h. Don’t compromise the safety of others in order to shave off a few minutes from your journey. As cars are expected to slow down at these zones, you may end up spending more time than saving it, which may be counter-effective.
UNFAMILIAR ROUTESIt may be tempting to explore unfamiliar routes on the fly but lack of familiarity with the roads and area could land you in trouble. You may end up driving on poorly conditioned roads that could damage your car’s tyres, or on roads that have multiple road bumps that stretch the limit of your car’s suspension. You and your car may well come off worse than if you had stayed on your original route!
CLOSED ENVIRONMENTSAnother place where drivers tend to take short-cuts are at shopping mall car parks. Doing so in such closed environments could pose a safety issue. Maybe it’s a kiasu attitude, but it seems there’s always someone hell-bent on finding the shortest route to the car park exit or a vacant lot at shopping mall car parks — never mind that it may mean driving across vacant lots just to reach the exit point sooner, or driving in the wrong direction to chope a vacant lot first. These are selfish acts that endanger yourself and other car park users.
Taking a shortcut may save you time, but it may compromise on safety. It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure any measures taken on the road always put safety first. So, it is best to keep abreast of traffic news and updates, and get to know your route well. You can plan for contingencies when congestion crops up or if you need to take a detour to avoid roadworks. Leaving earlier gives you adequate time to make your journey more pleasant and safe. It can also alleviate the stress of making it to your destination on time.