Yes! I totally, whole-heartedly agree! And oh! I have many horror stories to tell on this, and apparently I am not the only person complaining with tonnes of horrible experiences. On June 30, 2007, the straitstimes.com reported:

SINGAPORE drivers are ‘among the worst in the world with regard to spatial awareness, ability to control their vehicle adequately and courtesy to others’

This was what New Zealander Champak Mehta wrote in a letter to The Sunday Times published last week.

Do you agree?

Expats mostly did, reciting a litany of sins from reluctance to give way, refusal to signal and being downright rude.

Singaporeans also admit their countrymen don’t always make the most congenial road users – although they do just fine themselves.

Skills, it seems, isn’t the main problem.

After all, anyone who has had to re-sit his driving test knows that getting that piece of licence is as easy as landing a cab just before midnight.

‘It comes down to attitude,’ said Mr Mehta, 36, a sales manager for an international firm who has been here nine months. ‘If they’re not so much in a hurry and considerate, that would be a massive help.’

Not many would disagree going by a Sunday Times poll of 100 motorists, mostly Singaporeans.

As many as 80 agreed that common behaviour such as tail-gating, road hogging and failing to signal make local drivers none too charming.

But less than half pointed the finger at themselves.

Other common complaints: cutting queues, honking and slowing down to gawk at accident scenes.

Interviews with 10 expats had similar findings with eight citing issues with local road manners.

Read the full report in The Sunday Times.

Before I start ranting, to land a cab in Singapore just before midnight is tougher than striking your local lottery. So, let us start with the infamous signalling.

  1. Signalling before changing lane. If I have my say, I’d say this is taboo! As recent as just yesterday, I observe that drivers on the lane that you are going to change to will almost always seem to accelerate whenever you signal – even when they are a few car lengths away! Just 2 days ago, there was this driver who accelerated almost at the speed of lightning the moment I turned on my signal light. Because he was so far away, I could safely change lanes. But he proceed to catch up and tailgate me for a good kilometer or two before keeping a safe car lenght from me. My advice is… not to signal too early. 9 out of 10 times, you will not be able to change lane successfully, especially in the evenings during peak hours. 🙁 For me, the time to change lane after putting on the signal light is not more than 1 second!
  2. Signalling your intention at cross junction. Goodness! Drivers nowadays seem to have problems moving their hands to the signal indicator to indicate where they would like to turn at a cross junction, or before a slip road. Many times, I have to wait patiently at a T-junction waiting for approaching cars to pass. At the end of the day, they ended up going anywhere but straight, and I end up spending time waiting for not 1, not 2, not even 5, but 15 cars to pass with all turning elsewhere but going straight. Singaporean drivers have a problem, I tell you. 🙁

Then there are the road hoggers. I have seen people travelling on lane 1 or 2 at 20km/h lesser than the speed limit on the expressways. For goodness sake, if they would like to travel “safe” at 50k/h, there’s such a thing called “keep left”.

Next on the list would be taxi drivers. Most of them drive as if they own the roads. Amongst the complains:

  1. Changing lanes without signalling
  2. Tailgating
  3. Weavering in and out of lanes
  4. Driving recklessly

Unless they have an emergency (and indeed even if they do, then the more they should drive safely), there is no reason why they should drive as if they were “rushing for incarnation” (it’s a local slang – gan3 zhe4 qu4 tou2 tai1).

And one of the last but not the least, drivers slowing down to gawk at accidents… at the other side of the road heading the other direction. Slowing down to gawk at accident seems to be a local past time. Singaporeans are really deprived of anything exciting. Of course, some Singaporeans have valid reasons – they want to take down the car registration number to buy 4D. Goodness! If you want a number, here, take this – 8375 and 8791. It’s going to be the first price next weekend because I saw it yesterday from an accident on the expressway. Now I know why they planted tall trees along the divider of SLE between Thomson Road exit and Woodlands Avenue 2 exit.

There are other stuffs that I couldn’t stand of local drivers. These include those:

  1. Hogging the road while talking to their passengers
  2. Talking on the phone while driving and drifting across lanes (this is a traffic offence in Singapore)
  3. Who mod their cars to give that extra ‘oomph’ in the exhaust (read: vrooooom! to the db of more than 200)
  4. Drive as if they own the roads… including showing you the middle finger as they overtake u

It’s little wonder Singaporeans are less welcomed on our neighbour’s highway too. Don’t you agree?



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