Life

Traffic Lights One Too Many

I noticed that the LTA is putting up another traffic light at a certain junction that does not exist for the past 30 years. In fact, it’s to control traffic between a HDB street and a major road. All I can say is: more jam ahead.

Already, our new expressways are littered with too many exits and slip-roads. The CTE AMK-Braddell stretch is a classic example. With too many slip roads, you are introducing chaos with cars trying to switch lanes frantically.

And the speed camera along that stretch does not help at all. You are introducing an artificial speed deterrent, forcing drivers to slow down. Notice that everytime the electronic signs show warning ahead – example traffic accident, vehicle breakdown, the traffic will naturally jam up. But when you finally reach the problem area, there is no blockage, just human nature to slow down and see what’s happening, and this results in a traffic build-up. In some instances, the electronic signboard gives wrong information: twice I found that whenever the signboard along CTE towards city displays ‘Slow Traffic at Havelock Road Exit’, the exit was free from traffic, and in fact it was smoother than when there was no warning.

In fact, if traffic police wants to control traffic speed, they could just plant some vehicles along the shoulder, make it look like an accident, and the traffic will naturally slow down.

Notice however that accidents on expressways are not entirely due to speeding. It is often due to errant driving like cutting lanes or braking too fast. Human nature tells you that one tends to be more impatient during a slow traffic, and therefore they have the tendency to ram the accelerator to compensate for the slowness, and this results in accidents.

As long as every vehicle travels at similar speeds, accidents would not happen. Look at Formula-1 racing: cars are driving at nearly 200km per hour, but few accidents. But if you let a normal sedan travelling at 100km per hour drive into the tracks and suddenly all race cars go chaotic, trying to change lanes, overtake, avoid, then bang, crash, wallop.

The traffic police should focus on catching reckless drivers who snake through the traffic by switching lanes dangerously and jamming the brakes suddenly, rather than drivers who keep to their lanes but speed because traffic is clear.

As a road user, I feel pressured to travel faster than the speed limit on the right-most lane when some cars tail-gate behind me. I have the legal right to stay within the speed limit, but morally I am not welcome. Staying in second lane is not viable because the vehicles might travel slower than my current speed, say 80km/hr.

Just some reasons why I dislike driving.

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