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The real dangers of dashboard clutter in Singapore.

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It is hardly surprising that many people choose to personalise or decorate the interior of their car; it is, after all, an extension of their personal space and people can spend a significant amount of time in their vehicles. So what do you find decorating dashboards and car interiors in Singapore and are there any related safety concerns you need to be aware of?

Once you start looking, it’s quickly apparent there is an enormous variety of car decorations out there, perhaps in part a reflection of the vibrant cultural mix enjoyed in Singapore. Just take a ride in a taxi and more often than not you’ll find lucky Chinese cats, protective religious icons such as Buddhas and Ganesha and items such as Tasbihs (muslim prayer beads) and rosary beads dangling from the rearview mirror. More generic items include hanging air fresheners, football team coats of arms and furry dice.

Despite many of these things being placed in cars to bring good luck, it’s worth remembering that dangling items, excessive use of stickers on windscreens and items placed on parcel shelves can obscure the driver’s view and create blind spots.

car toys

A spokesperson for Budget Direct Insurance, said, “Drivers need to have a full and unobstructed view of the road and traffic around them in order to drive safely; we do not recommend hanging or displaying any item in your car that can reduce visibility or distract the driver.”

Dangling items banned in some countries

In some countries, including Australia, the UK, over half of US states and in the Philippines, the safety risk from hanging objects and restricted windscreen visibility is explicitly recognised in legislation. In the Philippines for instance, dangling rosaries and religious icons have been banned since 2017, rather controversially, as part of a more wide-ranging anti-distracted driving law. In some US states the police may stop any car that has objects hung from the rearview mirror that in any way obstructs or impairs vision through the front windscreen. While there is no specific mention of dangling or dashboard items on the Singapore statute books, the Singapore Traffic Police confirmed that such matters would fall under Singapore Road Traffic (Motor Vehicles, Construction and Use) Rules 111 and 117 which require the glass of all vehicles to be maintained so as not to obscure the vision of the driver.

In a statement to Budget Direct Insurance, Singapore’s Land Transport Authority enforcement officers said they may take action against the use of items that obscure the driver’s view for example:

  • The use of dark tinted films on the glass of the windscreen and windows which may obscure the vision of the driver;
  • The use of curtains fitted on the windows and rear windscreen which obscure the vision of the driver while the vehicle is being driven on a road;
  • The use of sunshades fitted on the windscreen and windows (measured more than 150mm from the top edge of the front windscreen and more than 100mm from the top edge of the rear windscreen and side windows) of vehicles.

Meanwhile, any reduced driver visibility can be especially dangerous for pedestrians too. While pedestrians may enjoy the right of way on a green man crossing, depending on the type of crossing they do rely on drivers being alert to their presence and stopping in time.

Parcel shelves are not immune to clutter - some car owners use them to proudly display their collectibles; it is not uncommon to see an array of “Hello Kitty” toys, teddy bears, and even on occasion a full set of Star Wars figurines! While maybe fun or cute, remember these too can restrict vision and the harder items, and items such as tissue boxes can easily become projectiles if the vehicle has to stop suddenly.

So while an element of personalisation can be fun, think carefully about safety before you hang or place items on the dashboard or parcel shelf of your car.......and perhaps leave that collection of model airplanes for pride of place back home!

Budget Direct Insurance
No-Nonsense, money saving cover for your car

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