6 Driving Safety Tips to Help Protect You and Save You Money
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It’s safe to drive in Singapore. According to the Singapore Police Force, the number of fatal accidents in 2017 was an all-time low. There were only 122 fatalities in 2017, and the numbers are falling. But that’s no reason to get complacent when you drive on the roads here. After all, driving safely not only saves you a trip to the morgue or the hospital, but can also save you some money in the process.
Here are 6 driving safety tips to make sure you and your vehicle are free from accidents:
1. Don’t speed up when you see the amber light
This seems like a weird driving safety tip to start with, but the one traffic statistic that is actually not dropping is the number of red-light running violations. 2017 saw 45,617 cases of running the red light, an increase of 32.5% from 2016. That’s almost 125 cases A DAY! Come on, people!
Trying to beat the red light is really irresponsible and you’re not only putting yourself at risk, you’re also putting innocent motorists and pedestrians at risk by doing so. You don’t want to be the cause of the 117 or so accidents the Singapore Police Force sees everyday due to running a red light.
And what’s more, if you get caught by one of 240 red light cameras across the island, you could be fined $200 and incur 12 demerit points! If you’re a new driver, that’s just one demerit point away from losing your licence and needing to go back to driving school all over again.
Look, I know it’s a split-second decision and often instinctual. Many of us don’t see the amber light until we’re almost at the junction and we’re driving too fast to stop conveniently. But that brings me to my next point.
2. Don’t speed!
Speeding in Singapore is just not cool. Especially in the heartlands! Most stretches of our roads just aren’t long enough to get any kind of adrenaline rush from revving your engine and kicking it into a high gear. You don’t want to be that douchebag who keeps revving at one junction only to stop at the next traffic light… 200 metres away.
Let’s not forget that there are almost 80 different kinds of speed cameras all around the island. Many of them have prominent warning signs to remind you to slow down within that zone, so there’s really no excuse for speeding in Singapore.
Depending on how fast you were going above the speed limit, you could be fined $130 or more, receive at least 4 demerit points, or even prosecuted in court and be suspended from driving immediately. So why speed and get fined? Save up money for the next point.
3. Make sure your vehicle gets regular servicing
This seems like a weird recommendation because it sounds like we’re telling you to spend more money, not save money. But the consequences of a poorly maintained car are both costly and sometimes fatal.
In general, you’d want to send your car for maintenance every 10,000km. That averages to about once or twice a year, depending on your usage. Your maintenance checklist should include replacing your engine oil filter, and topping up fluids like battery water, transmission fluids and brake fluids.
But there are two things you should not wait for your regular car maintenance cycle to check – tyres and coolant level.
4. Pump your tires regularly
This may seem like a real chore and it may be difficult to find a petrol station with an air pump in good condition, but that doesn’t mean you can avoid inflating your tyres every now and then.
We all can imagine what driving with a flat tyre must feel like, but insufficient tyre pressure is less obvious. The consequences are costly though – in extreme cases, the increased friction on your tyres could eventually result in a loss of control of your vehicle due to tread separation or tyre blowout.
Not only does under-inflated tyres affect your grip and steering precision, but it also increases fuel consumption and the amount of wear and tear on your tyres. So why take the risk of spending more on fuel and replacing worn out tyres when you can just inflate them for free?
It’s best to check your tyre pressure once a month, and make sure to pump your tyres according to the manufacturer’s specifications.
5. Check your coolant level to prevent overheating
Another aspect of car maintenance that gets overlooked by motorists in Singapore is the coolant level. In hot climates like ours, we’re used to seeing our water temperature gauge rise to a certain mid-point.
However, if it goes beyond the usual mark, or if your temperature indicator lights up in that eerie red, then you might need to add more coolant to the radiator and coolant reservoir tank. This will give you just enough leeway to drive to the nearest workshop.
The coolant is important to prevent your engine from overheating. An overheated engine could result in permanent damage to its inner workings and may require a mechanic to take apart the engine to fix. That’s going to cost you.
Of course, if your temperature gauge isn’t moving at all, even when you’re driving… then you definitely need to get that fixed. Trust me, the cost of replacing a gauge is nothing compared to replacing an entire engine.
6. Choose a car insurance policy that matches your driving habits
What has car insurance got to do with safe driving habits? Everything! The No Claim Discount, or NCD, is something that all car insurers offer to encourage driving safely. If you don’t make any claims on your car insurance for a year, you get 10% NCD on the following year’s policy. Stay safe for up to 5 consecutive years, and you get up to 50% NCD. That’s a huge discount!
Of course, you should also consider shilling out for an NCD protector – so that a single claim doesn’t cost you your entire NCD, wasting not just money but years of safe driving.
Another great way to waste money is not just getting an overpriced car insurance policy, but one that is not tailored to your driving habits.
If you’re a generally safe driver, you’d want to consider Income’s Drive Master. It rewards safe driving habits with up to an additional 25% discount on your car insurance policy after the 50% No Claim Discount. Thanks to Income’s Drive Master, means you could be saving up to 64% altogether on your car insurance premiums each year.
After all, if you’re going to be taking all these driving safety tips seriously, you might as well get rewarded for it, right?
To find out more about Income’s car insurance policies, click here.