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Tuesday, December 12, 2023
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Unexpected Driving Scenarios

3 min read
Pointers to handle unforeseen events while behind the wheel.

One of the main purposes of driving is simple: it allows you to get to and from your destination safely, with ease. In reality, however, there are many factors that make that journey a little different each time you drive out: the traffic environment is constantly changing, and situations can develop that are entirely unexpected.Wild Animals
If you travel on roads that pass through or encroach pockets of green, such as a park or reservoir, look out for wild animals. Deer, monkeys and even otters crossing roads are getting more common. As their actions can be unpredictable, it is advisable that you drive at a constant moderate speed rather than treat these roads as an F1 practice track. If an animal darts in front of your vehicle, do not attempt to swerve to avoid hitting it as this may cause you to bang into other motorists or road users. Instead, keep your hands firmly on the steering wheel and apply the brakes hard. While this may result in an impact or damage to your vehicle, that would be limited if you are travelling at a steady slower pace in the first place.

Flash Floods
A sudden build-up of water often takes motorists by surprise, as it is not always obvious that one is in a low-lying area. If you find yourself in such a situation, slow down your vehicle and maintain a steady speed. Driving too quickly through flooded areas may lead to aquaplaning, or having your car slide about, as it loses traction with the road surface. Even if you feel that the water level is low, the layer of water prevents you from assessing the quality of the road, thus you may not be aware of hazards, such as potholes. And if you have just driven through deeper water levels, dry out your brakes by gently stepping on and releasing the brakes as you continue to drive for a short distance thereafter.

Heavy Vehicles
There is always construction going on somewhere in Singapore! Be aware of heavy vehicles on the roads near construction sites. These vehicles are large and not very manoeuvrable, and tend to obstruct the view of the drivers behind them. If you find yourself behind one such vehicle, stay at a safe distance behind and only overtake if you have clear view of the road ahead. In the event that a heavy vehicle suddenly tips over, this safe distance will give you time to brake and avoid impact. Again, do not attempt to swerve your car to either side.Detours
When you see signs of an upcoming detour, avoid speeding up to get ahead of the queue of cars. A detour sign could be put up for a number of reasons, such as road repair or redirected traffic for an event, e.g. the Singapore Grand Prix. In any case, there may be more than the normal number of people in and around these areas, so do not speed. As frustrating as it can be, the aim is to be patient and follow the instructions of signs or road wardens until you are back on your regular route. Sometimes, a detour leads you on temporary roads that are tighter than normal or close to hoardings. Drive slowly on these roads so that you can respond appropriately when a construction worker or a truck suddenly appears from behind a hoarding.

There are a number of scenarios that may hinder our normal driving pattern. Safe driving techniques like those mentioned above, abiding by road rules and traffic signs, maintaining a good overview of conditions ahead of you, and driving at moderate speeds will better prepare you to deal with these sometimes-unexpected scenarios.