On the surface, the circuit-breaker has been no good for us drivers and enthusiasts.
For one thing, we’re not getting our money’s worth. Despite under-using our cars, we’re still paying our instalments, road tax and insurance.
Those of us who still go to authorised dealers for maintenance cannot do so during this period either. Heck, we’re not even allowed to wash or detail our cars.
However, this circuit-breaker has also given me two things: time and perspective. And lately, it’s begun to dawn on me that this period is actually not so bad.
From a driver’s perspective, there are tangible benefits that I am grateful for.
EVERY DRIVE IS MORE MEANINGFUL.
I only drive once or twice a week. But each of those drives is more fun than ever.
With the circuit-breaker keeping most folks at home, the roads are virtually deserted. Driving has become more relaxed. I’ve yet to encounter a road hog or speed demon (or PMD user).
My favourite stretches and corners are always empty. Road rage is something I haven’t felt in over a month.
With barely any commercial vehicles or illegally modified two-stroke motorcycles running around, the drives are quieter. I’m enjoying my music even more than before.
IN A WAY, I’M GETTING MY MONEY’S WORTH.
Suddenly, those aforementioned fixed running costs seem worth it. I’m paying a lot despite under-using my car. But each time I drive it, it feels like money well spent.
It certainly feels better than before, when I paid the same amounts but had to put up with poorer road and traffic conditions.
MY FUEL EXPENSES HAVE DRASTICALLY DROPPED.
The last time I filled up was before March 25. I haven’t visited the pumps this entire April.
And now that I finally do need to pump petrol, I don’t even need a full tank. I estimate that $70 worth of 95-octane or three-quarters of a tank is probably more than enough to see me through the month of May.
That means I’m only going to spend $70 on petrol for two months! Before the circuit-breaker, I spent anywhere from $120 to $170 on petrol per month.
As a bonus, my fuel consumption has also improved – without me changing my driving style. I used to get 11.5km/L, but I easily do 12.9km/L, thanks to the congestion-free roads.
I’VE SPENT LESS ON CAR GROOMING, TOO.
Detailing my car is one of my hobbies. But this circuit-breaker has also broken that habit. As a result, I’ll be spending less on car grooming products these two months (to the missus’ relief).
And not that I want to, but I’m also saving money by not being able to go to my car groomer – the only other folks I’d entrust my vehicle to.
Anyway, I’ll happily hand my car over to them when this is all over.
LESS TYRE WEAR
I clock around 700-800km a month. But during the circuit-breaker period, I probably clock 100km a month.
With a two-month circuit-breaker, that means my tyres will have 600-700km less on them when this is over.
Of course, that may not prolong my next tyre change by much. After all, my tyres must be replaced by October 2021. But every little bit helps, and for that, I am grateful.
FEWER WORN PARTS
Using my car less also means less wear on items such as brake pads and wiper blades, too.
My car interior also takes less of a beating since it sits in a sheltered carpark. My paintwork, though really filthy, is at least less exposed to sunlight, too.
BETTER CARPARK CONDITIONS
With the circuit-breaker in effect, carparks in larger malls are usually empty. That’s great news if you’re the type who is picky about where you park.
In addition to fewer cars, there’s also a smaller chance that someone will park beside you. Especially if you park far from the entrance or lift. So, getting in and out of your car is going to be easier.
Besides, we must practice social distancing, so it’s not good to park beside anyone else either.