Turn right if safe is a deadly game

The horrific accidents recently at the junction of Clementi Road and Commonwealth Avenue West as well as on the right turn from Jalan Anak Bukit onto the Pan Island Expressway spotlight yet again a bizarre allowance we have made to ease traffic congestion.

The Singapore Road Traffic Rules allows right turns across an oncoming stream of traffic when it is safe to do so for everyone. And in that allowance lies a level of risk bordering on the insane.

Each time we prepare to drive across an opposite carriageway, we are forced to assess, in real-time, a continuously changing set of speeds and positions - our own, those of vehicles ahead of us, those of vehicles approaching the intersection with the right of way and those of people crossing the road that we intend to turn into.

An error in calculating even one of these variables could be fatal. In other words, we are risking not just the lives in our vehicle but also the lives of those in other vehicles and the lives of pedestrians further ahead.

While this "turn-right-if-safe" allowance does clear intersections faster, it does not make the roads any safer. It is nothing more than motorised jaywalking.

A "turn-only-on-green" rule would end this deadly game of traffic roulette.

B.N. Chandrasekhar