Banged up BMWs and Bentley and more in viral crash photos seem to infer that’s the case – but it doesn’t tell the whole story
Between the months of April and May 2020, even as the majority of Singapore stays in as a result of the government imposed ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown, there also seem to be more incidences of reckless driving on our roads.
Or is there?
A BMW M2 crashed into a pedestrian walkway shelter on May 13, a Mercedes-Benz CLA rammed the back of a pick-up truck in Bedok North on 26th May, a Honda Jazz and a lorry were involved in an incident involving a drugged-out driver, and a Bentley wrecked four stationary vehicles in a carpark in Ang Mo Kio on 29th May. Heck there’s even people who were street racing in the KPE (Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway) tunnel.
These incidents might have you thinking it’s a jungle out there, but that’s not quite true.
The fact is, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) has confirmed that road traffic in Singapore has fallen by an average of 60 percent since the beginning of 2020, and accident rates have also dropped – but by a lesser degree of 40 percent.
It’s also matched by a rise in another statistic: Speeding offences.
Statistics from the Traffic Police show that in 2019, there were an average of 15,000 speeding violations per month. In the last two months, despite the reduction in vehicular traffic, the absolute number of speeding offences per month have remained about the same.
The less congested roads might simply have lulled more drivers into driving faster than they normally would, so it’s worth nothing how fast you are driving the next time you find yourself with plenty of road space along the ECP.
However, despite the recent traffic accident images circulating on the internet, our roads are actually safer than before. According to statistics from the Traffic Police, we have been consistently reducing the amount of fatalities from road accidents in Singapore.
Granted, as a large number of drivers are now driving less than ever before, their muscle memory and situational awareness while operating a vehicle may not be as sharp as it was pre-circuit breaker, so it’s important that you avoid distractions while driving. Even if you are still driving regularly, other drivers on the road may not be as attentive and you do need to watch out for the unexpected actions of other road users.
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While the dramatic accidents on local roads over the last couple of weeks may look alarming, it’s worth noting that this is also likely due to more people having the time and mental bandwidth to share these incidents over the internet, as people get jaded from repeating the same routines at home everyday and any bit of interesting news will be shared with friends over the phone rather than in person.
This does not mean that there are more car accidents on the roads, just that those that have already happened had lots of photos taken and shared online.
As the country prepares to cautiously reopen the economy next week, drivers should also check their cars to make sure they are in good operating condition. You should have started your car and taken it on a short drive at least once a week to keep the car’s battery from totally depleting. Don’t find out too late that your car needs to be taken to a workshop, because there is a high chance that thousands of other drivers will need to service their cars and there will be queues like those you see at hair salons right now.