Photo by Gábor Veres
Friday evenings are sacred in every working adult’s life. After an entire week of slogging, you get into your car, blast your favourite song, and take off as life seeps back into your bones– Sounds like the perfect way to cruise into the weekend, right? Well, it turns out, almost half of Singapore’s road accidents happen on Friday evenings. If you drive or ride out of work, especially on Fridays, stay safe on the road by remembering the Fatal Five: The five risky driving behaviours responsible for most fatal road accidents.

1. Distraction

Distraction is the leading cause of road accidents in Singapore. A 2016 report noted that 59 drivers died that year due to inattention. Get this: Most of them were on their smartphones, either answering calls or texts. Using your smartphone on the road is hazardous. Texting or calling at the wheel means that you’re not fully ready to respond aptly and quickly to any unforeseen events, and we all know that two hands are better than one on the wheel. This is why first-time offenders who are caught using their smartphones whilst driving can be fined up to a hefty $1,000 and jailed up to six months, while other offenders can be fined up to $2,000 and jailed up to 12 months. If you must use your phone while driving, please, have your device mounted properly on a holder at the very least.

2. Speeding

The circuit breaker earlier this year saw a sharp decline in road traffic and accidents. Unfortunately, many drivers took the emptier than usual roads as an opportunity to speed recklessly. This year alone, 94,359 speed violations have been recorded by the Traffic Police. You might think that there’s no harm in slightly exceeding the speed limit, and that’s totally untrue. For every 5 km/h that drivers go above the limit, their chances of getting into an accident are doubled. Is it really that surprising, though? You’d be relinquishing total control of your vehicle, taking away your reaction time, and increasing the amount of time needed to break and fully stop your vehicle.

3. Intoxication

In the Lion City, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a serious offence that could land you in jail and incur a hefty fine. These are some of the deadly effects of driving whilst intoxicated:
  • Reduced ability to gauge speed and distance
  • Impaired concentration and motor skills
  • False sense of confidence
  • Increased tendency to take risks
Remember the 2012 freak accident involving a Ferrari and a cab? Autopsy results of the Ferrari driver showed that one driver had taken antihistamines that might’ve caused drowsiness and blurred vision. If you’re under medication or have partied a little too much, stay away from the driver’s seat. You can ask a friend to send you home, take a cab, or get on public transport. The alternatives are endless, and none of them put you and the people around you in danger.

4. Fatigue

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Did you know that sleep deprivation is the biggest culprit of some of the worst disasters in history? This includes the infamous Chernobyl incident and 1984 Bhopal Gas Leak. Like intoxication, fatigue or sleep deprivation alters the brain’s ability to stay alert, coordinate motor activities, and make quick decisions. The next time you’re about to hit the road, ensure you’ve hit the sack first.

5. Not wearing a seat belt

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Singaporean drivers and front-seat passengers generally know that they must buckle up. But many are still unaware that back-seat passengers must do the same. Belting up should not be taken lightly as failure to do so increases your risk of serious or fatal injury by up to 50%. If you’re travelling with a toddler or baby, know that the Traffic Gods deem it a mortal sin to not use a child restraint. Next time you get in a vehicle, belt up! Drivers who are caught without wearing a seat belt can receive a fine of $120 and three demerit points. Passengers who don’t wear seat belts can also be fined the same amount.

To sum it up:

Image credit: BRZE
We’ll keep it short: Respect the rules of the Fatal Five, homies. Your life and the lives of others depend on it, and road safety is not rocket science – it’s simply our responsibility. Godspeed!

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