Unexpected Driving Obstacles

4 min read
Sometimes, we experience situations that make our drive a little challenging. Here are some tips on what to do about them.

Life has a habit of throwing unexpected challenges — and driving is no different. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen frequently, but there’s still a possibility. As a driver, we expect the usual situations, such as traffic congestions, the occasional reckless driver, and maybe an errant cyclist or two. However, there are other scenarios that are so random and hard to predict that they are likely to catch us off-guard.

KAMIKAZE BIRDS
It is not uncommon to encounter a splat of bird poo while you are driving. This could momentarily obstruct your vision, but it can be easily cleaned off. But what do you do if a bird decides to swoop down on the front of your car as you are driving? The most important thing is not to panic or react in an aggressive way. Remember that there may be other road users around you, so swerving to avoid a bird in flight is not the answer — just drive on as per normal. If the bird hits your windscreen and you suspect a crack, stop by the roadside when it is safe to do so to inspect the screen.

ANIMAL CROSSING
If you going to be driving through areas with parks and reservoirs, such as around Upper Thomson Road, drive within the speed limit and look out for animals crossing your path. There have been cases of monkeys, wild boars and pangolins scampering across the roads! It is important not to activate your high beam or horn. Such actions are likely to cause panic, and some of these creatures may freeze in fear, like the old saying “a deer in headlights”. You can sound the horn in light and short spurts to warn them if you spot them in advance.

ACCIDENTAL OFFLOAD
If you are faced with large vehicles — buses, commercial vehicles, trucks, etc — in your lane, refrain from following too closely behind. It’s best to move over to a more open lane when it is safe to filter. Pickups or transport trucks carrying loads such as heavy construction equipment and materials are always a concern — more so if they are speeding. If they have to brake suddenly and if their load is not securely fastened, there’s a real danger that everything at the back of the heavy vehicle could end up on the road and onto the path of oncoming traffic. Keep to the three-second rule or longer when travelling behind them, especially when your view is blocked by the leading vehicle, as this will give you more time to react and brake safely if needed.

MAD DASHERS
At a traffic junction, when the lights go in your favour, don’t shoot off the blocks straight away. Wait a while longer and make sure the lateral area is clear before proceeding. There have been cases where a cyclist or pedestrian will do a last- minute dash across the crossing just to beat the lights. If there are cars abreast of you, they will be obscuring your sight and view, making it a big blind spot.ROADWORKS
Keep a lookout for the road workers when you encounter a worksite. Some of the sites don’t have a big enough safe space between the site and the car lanes. This makes it tricky for workers trying to do their jobs, and some may accidentally encroach onto the roads or swing out with their tools. Approach these areas with caution and drive at a slow and steady speed. This gives you a chance to not hit or be hit by the workers.

With ever increasing activity and economy, especially as we are entering Phase 3, it pays to be careful and alert when venturing onto the roads again.

THE AA ADVANTAGE
AA Singapore Members can take advantage of the many courses that the Association organises and sign up at a discounted rate. The course on Crash Prevention  uses different mediums — simulation software, documentary shows, dashcam clips, etc — to address road safety issues among new and experienced drivers. Due to the current Covid-19 measures, the eight-hour course is only available via Zoom during this period.

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