Dangerous driving abroad - roots are in poor habits on Singapore roads

It is troubling to read that Singaporean motorists do not fare well when driving on foreign roads (How Singaporeans fare driving abroad; Jan 7).

A recent spate of fatalities and injuries means that our motorists are not familiar with the driving culture when abroad.

I have often wondered why our motorists driving in foreign countries tend to get involved in accidents that could have been avoided had they obeyed basic Highway Code rules and exercised common sense.

Driving in a foreign country brings with it attendant risks unless motorists equip themselves with proper driving skills, etiquette and common sense.

Unfamiliar road conditions in foreign countries that have different types of terrain, weather conditions and road surfaces may unsettle the driver and cause him to lose concentration.

To make matters worse, the lack of defensive driving skills necessary on such roads is compounded by the tendency to speed on long stretches of straight roads without sufficient rest.

The Highway Code test teaches drivers to use directional signs when turning, switching lanes, negotiating bends, slowing down and overtaking. Yet, an attitude of complacency and apathy appears to take hold of the motorists once they hit unfamiliar foreign roads.

What this tells us is that such behaviour is a result of the way they drive on Singapore roads, where driving habits leave much to be desired.

One has to only stand by a road junction to observe the lack of courtesy displayed on our roads.

Road manners are often an indicator of how a society or nation has progressed in terms of civil behaviour.

I appeal to the Land Transport Authority to take steps to ensure that driving instructors spare no effort in instructing learner drivers to observe road rules and manners.

Compliance with Highway Code rules is a must, while stricter enforcement and deterrent action on reckless and inconsiderate motorists will hopefully reduce the carnage on our roads as well as on foreign ones.

V. Subramaniam (Dr)