There are many driving myths in Singapore today and it is actually very funny seeing people hold on to these ideas as though they were actually true.
As is common with all myths, the driving myths in Singapore all started as stories. Over time, as these stories were passed on from generation to generation by means of oral tradition, they either got diluted, altered, or had their original meaning and purpose completely obliterated – thus, giving rise to the myths we now observe today.
However, not all driving ideas in Singapore passed down through oral tradition are myths. Some are actually true. However, the focus here is on the myths. They are outlined below.
- You can only be said to be drink-driving when you are caught in a car that is actually moving.
- When you see no speed limit on a road, 60km/hr is the speed limit.
- Backseat passengers do not need seatbelts
- There is absolutely nothing wrong with road hogging
- High-octane rating fuel is always best
- Rocking your car while filling the tank increases the volume of petrol the car can take
- Phone usage in or close to a petrol station have caused many explosions
- Electric cars are for those with landed properties in Singapore
The aforementioned myths are elucidated below.
The drink-driving myth
Many Singapore drivers hold on to the belief that a drink-driving charge is only valid when you are actually caught in a moving car while drinking. This is actually false.
The first thing you should understand is that being in the driver seat of a car means being in control of that car. Your motive is up for argument as we cannot be too sure. Therefore, even if you are simply resting in your car, drunk and in the driver seat, you can be charged with drink-driving related crimes.
You will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that you had no ignition-related intentions (and good luck with that!).
Best thing to do, use a taxi.
The speed limit myth
This is yet another common myth around here that is capable of winning offenders close to 20 demerit points or even having their license suspended.
The speed limit for roads in Singapore with no clearly stated speed limit remains 50km/hr. People who add the extra ten are in danger of being punished according to the law.
The backseat-seatbelt myth
Yet another popular myth states that other than the persons in the driver seat and the one next to it, every other rear seat passenger of a vehicle do not need to use seatbelts.
This is due to the belief that in the event of an accident, the rear seat passenger hardly collides with any tough object. This is not true. Serious injuries or death can result from any accident, irrespective of seating position.
To be on the safe side, if there is provision for seatbelts, use them. Repeat offenders can be jailed for a 6-month period or pay close to $2000 as fine.
The road hogging myth
It is noteworthy here that the fast lane remains, as the name implies, the fast lane. Road hogging remains an offence that can attract a fine of up to $1000.
If you are not feeling like speeding and there is a fast-moving vehicle approaching, simply move to the left side of the road. It is that simple.
The octane rating myth
Many Singaporeans are of the opinion that pumping high octane-rating fuel is the best policy, citing reasons such as its ability to guarantee a clean engine.
This is, in fact, a false belief. Fuel contains additives that help clean your engine, irrespective of octane rating. High octane rating benefits sports cars and the likes because they have engines designed for high performance and a low octane rating can knock such an engine due to ignition complications.
Therefore, if you use a regular car, buying a high octane rating fuel does not bring any special benefits. You are only paying more for what you do not need.
The car shaking myth
This is arguably the most hilarious of all the car and driving related myths. It is always funny watching Singaporeans at petrol stations trying to shake or rock their cars while filling their tanks.
While the act itself is funny, their reason and motive makes the whole idea comical.
They believe that rocking the car this way will increase the quantity of petrol that can go in. Thus, we often find many people doing this before embarking on a road trip.
In truth, it makes no difference whatsoever. Just allow the foam to settle and add fuel until your tank is full. All the shaking and rocking is really no necessary.
The phone usage – explosion myth
This is one of the easiest myths to transfer from generation to generation. It sparks fear and caution in people so many are sure to fall for it.
The belief that phones emit high energy radiation and are thus capable of causing explosions when they are used in or around petrol stations is actually reasonable. Unfortunately, being reasonable and being true are two different issues entirely.
This, like the others, is just a myth. Phones do not emit enough radiation to cause explosions. Many experiments have been conducted on igniting fuel with waves emitted by a mobile phone. None have recorded any success thus far. Unlike lighting a cigarette at a petrol station, the ringing of a phone will not bring about an explosion.
The electric car myth
This myth states that unless you are the owner of a landed property in Singapore, you have no business owning an electric car.
This is another reasonable, yet untrue, ideology. It is reasonable because it is difficult imagining a way out for people living in HDB flats. Owing to the fact that dangling cables are either funny or unrealistic, such people with multi-storey car parks will find it difficult to charge their electric cars. Or so we thought.
Times are however different and more effort is being put into making provision for charging electric cars. Irrespective of landed property ownership.
As a result of the many merits of electric cars against combustion engines, many charging points have been put in place and many more are on the way.
Myths are easy to form, and easier to believe. However, it is always better to be armed with the right knowledge.