From taking down licence plate numbers at accidents to placing pandan leaves in our cars. Here are 12 things that are unique to Singaporean drivers.
Every country has their own unique culture and habits when it comes to cars, and Singapore is no exception. If you’re a car owner and grew up in this little red dot, you’ve probably experienced the following:
1) We Bid for a Licence (COE) to Own a Car for 10 Years
We drivers are willing to pay top dollar to get a Certificate of Entitlement (COE). If the demand for cars is high, the cost of a COE can even exceed the value of the car. Looking at past results, the highest recorded COE premium in recent years is S$96,210—and that was in 2013.
2) At an Accident Scene, We’ll Write Down the Licence Plates to Buy 4D
For reasons unknown, we Singaporeans believe that the licence plate number of a car involved in an accident is good luck. When passing an accident scene, we often slow down in order to memorise the “lucky number” to buy 4D. Not only is this bad karma (benefiting from someone else’s misfortune), but by slowly down, it can actually lead to a traffic jam. That is why the road is usually clear and smooth after the accident scene.
3) We Would Take the Risk and Drive Across the Border to Pump Petrol
We all know that we’re not supposed to drive across the Causeway to pump petrol, but there are many of us who are willing to take that risk. Why? It’s because the petrol prices in Malaysia is a lot cheaper! By how much you ask? Well, on average, Malaysian petrol is at least 3 times cheaper than petrol in Singapore.
For example, 98-Octane petrol in Singapore costs an estimate of $2.62 per litre. In Malaysia, that same petrol will only cost you $0.85 per litre in Singapore dollars.
4) We'll Also Drive Across the Border to Do Our Shopping
Besides petrol, there are also some of us who can’t resist a good bargain. That’s why we are willing to put up with the Checkpoint Jam to go shopping in JB. With Malaysia abolishing their goods and services tax (GST), we’re pretty sure many Singaporeans have taken advantage of weekend shopping trips to JB.
5) We Use Pandan Leaves to “Get Rid” of Cockroaches in Our Cars
Most Singaporeans have fond memories of inhaling the scent of pandan whenever we enter our grandparents' or parents’ car. Believed to be a deterrent, panda leaves have been used for generations to repel pesky cockroaches from our vehicles.
6) We’re Superstitious When It Comes to License Plate Numbers
Just like picking an “auspicious” colour for your car, some of us also insist on having a lucky number plate. Lucky numbers include the numbers ‘7’ and ‘8’, while characters like ‘4’ and ‘C’ are generally avoided because they sound like word ‘death’ in Chinese and Hokkien respectively.
7) The “Keep Left on the Road” Rule Doesn’t Apply to Us
Unless we are turning left, none of us truly believe in the keep left rule. Touch your heart and admit it.
8) We Sometimes Ignore the Fact that You Have Signalled
How many times have you floored the gas pedal and blatantly ignored a fellow driver who has signalled and expressed the desire to change lanes? Possibly more than once for sure.
9) Everyone Thinks They Are a Better Driver
Deny all you want, but you have to admit that most of us have the “I’m better than you” mentality when we get behind the wheel. Instead of admitting to our own fault whenever mistakes or accidents occur, we tend to shift the blame onto someone else.
10) If We Get Caught by a ‘Summon Auntie’, We Always Ask Them to “Give Chance”
Are these words, “Please give chance lah” and “I just parked my car, sumpah!” familiar to you? If they are, you’ve probably been caught with an expired parking coupon (or no parking coupon) more than once.
11) We Secretly Let Out a Sigh Whenever We See an ERP Gantry in Operation
Nothing spoils our mood more than seeing an ERP gantry in operation. Whenever we hear that dreaded “beep” from our In-Vehicle Unit, we can literally hear the wings of our hard-earned money flying away.
12) Car Due for Servicing? It Can Probably Wait
“I think I should send my car for servicing,” said no driver ever. No one really sends their vehicle for servicing on time. Even if we do, it’s because there’s something really wrong with our car. If everything is working fine and dandy, most of us will only send our cars in for servicing on a later date.
What are some other things or habits that are unique to Singapore drivers? Let us know in the comments below.
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