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Tailgaters in Singapore. Dangers and how to deal with them

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What is tailgating? Tailgating is when a motorist drives too close to the car in front and doesn’t leave sufficient distance to brake in time if needed.

Why do people tailgate?

There are many reasons why people tailgate in Singapore. Here are just a few;

The impatient driver.  He’s in a hurry and tries to bully the driver in front to speed up.

Mr Kiasu. This driver doesn’t want anyone to cut in on him. He wants to be at the front of the queue….whatever it takes.

Auto-pilot. This driver is in a daydream and isn’t concentrating. He’s half asleep and unaware that there’s very little space between him and the car in front.

Newbie driver. This driver is inexperienced and just doesn’t understand the distance needed to brake in time when travelling at high speeds, especially on the motorway.

Road rage. Some drivers tailgate in order to intimidate and punish other motorists who may have offended them in some way.

Over confident. Some drivers enjoy the thrill of speeding and over-estimate their own driving skills. They like to exert their power on the roads.

Is tailgating illegal in Singapore?

Whilst tailgating itself isn’t illegal as such there are circumstances where it could be classed as careless driving or even reckless driving in which case you would incur points on your licence at the very least. Tailgating could also land you in court and lead to a driving ban and thousands of dollars in fines if a serious collision occurs as a result. In the UK tailgaters are automatically fined $200 and have three points slapped on their driving licence.

What are the dangers?

A case in Singapore highlighted the real dangers of tailgating when a five year-old boy was left paralysed following a car accident. Offender Lai Kum Tai, 40, tailgated the car driven by the boy’s father.

Lai was driving at just a car’s length behind, travelling at 80kmh on the SLE when he smashed into the back of the family car. Lai was banned from driving for three years and fined $5,000. In sentencing, the judge said he hoped the tragic case would deter others from tailgating on expressways at such high speeds.

So, what is the best way to deal with tailgating in Singapore?

  • Let the tailgater pass as soon as you can and when it is safe to do so. Don’t make impulsive lane changes to try to lose the tailgater. At any speed, this kind of behavior is highly dangerous. Keep calm and practice safe driving.
  • Don’t try to aggravate the situation, as tempting as it may be. It’s not worth it and it’s a no-win situation. It will only make matters much worse and is likely to escalate into road rage.
  • If it’s not safe to let the tailgater pass, then make sure you leave plenty of space between you and the car in front of you. If the car in front has to brake suddenly, then you’re less likely to end up being sandwiched between two cars.
  • Avoid braking sharply.Ease off your accelerator and slow down gradually. If you start flashing your brake lights then you’ll aggravate the tailgater and the brake lights will start to lose their impact. The tailgater won’t take evasive action if you really do have to slam on your brakes.

What is a safe distance between cars?

  • For approximately every 30kmh of speed, following distance should be two car lengths.
  • At around 60kmh, following distance should be four car lengths.
  • And at 90kmh, following distance should be six cars.

Safe distances in good and bad weather

  • You should drive at least three seconds behind the vehicle in front during ideal conditions.

Triple this number during bad weather - nine seconds when it is raining. The stopping distance increases dramatically on slippery roads. Therefore is important to slow your speed down when it rains.

Tailgaters evading carpark charges nabbed.

Meanwhile, the Tailgating Detection System (TDS) was introduced here in Singapore in the second half of 2018.

Tailgaters no longer get away with evading their parking fees as they are detected upon exit of the car park. Sensors sited at the exits of the Electronic Parking Systems EPS carparks measure the distance between vehicles as they approach the carpark gantries. The culprit’s cars and details will be caught on camera

Budget Direct Insurance Singapore is committed to helping you to stay safe on our roads.

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