Driving to work again almost seems like a strange concept to most of us. During the circuit-breaker, many of us have been working from home for almost two months, some perhaps even longer.
What will the roads be like? Will I encounter congestion, or will traffic still be light since many are expected to continue working from home?
Well, as the saying goes, there’s only one way to find out.
But before you venture forth into the “new normal”, here are some driving tips to remember.
GIVE YOUR CAR A SHAKEDOWN
This is probably one of the most important driving tips of all. Before heading back to work, you need to ensure your car is in decent shape. Otherwise, you’re not going to get far and might even end up late.
Give your car a visual inspection as you approach it. Check the tyres and inflate them if needed. There should not be any pools of fluid below the car.
Now for the actual shakedown. Start up your car and drive for at least 15km with the audio system off. Listen for any weird noises and watch out for any warning lights that may appear.
Fill your petrol tank if necessary. You’d be surprised that there are still motorists who get stranded because their car ran out of fuel!
If everything feels good, great! You can sleep well knowing that your vehicle is up to the commute tomorrow.
LEAVE EVEN EARLIER THAN YOU PLANNED
Nobody knows what the road and traffic conditions are going to be like tomorrow. Therefore, another useful driving tip is to allot yourself more time to get to work.
It may sound ridiculous, but if it only takes you 30 minutes to drive to work, you might want to consider leaving 20 minutes earlier.
Having more time means a more relaxed drive and a buffer against any delays you might encounter.
Besides, there are benefits to reaching work early. Nicer parking spaces could be available, and there’s extra time for a coffee or breakfast. If your company allows it, you can leave earlier, too.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED
I mentioned this driving tip in an earlier article, but it’s worth repeating anyway.
We’ve been enjoying congestion-free roads with few other road users in sight. But after June 2, we have to expect everything from reckless drivers to motorcylists who ride in blind spots to suicidal jaywalkers.
The best counters to these are your attentiveness and situational awareness. Distractions – even momentary ones – can result in an accident.
TOP-UP YOUR CASHCARD
ERP (Electronic Road Pricing) isn’t coming back on till at least June 28, but that’s no reason not to top-up your CashCard.
If you’re going to start commuting to work again, you’ll probably be parking in other carparks besides your designated or company one. So, top-up that CashCard now instead of later.
SOCIAL DISTANCING FOR THE ROAD
Social distancing should be added to your general list of driving tips because it can be applied to driving situations. And it is high time we started practising it.
Always keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. As a general rule, you need a minimum of one car length per 10km/h of speed.
Alternatively, you can follow the “three-second rule”, which recommends that you pass a fixed point on the road three seconds after the car in front of you does.
Consider social distancing in carparks, too. Avoid parking near entrances and lift lobbies as that’s where shoppers tend to congregate.
If the carpark is spacious enough, parking further from entrances might help keep your car dent-free, since most drivers prefer the convenience of being near mall entrances.
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