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  • Claire Vorster

Worst car accidents in Singapore involving rivers. What can we learn?

Pic credit: Toine Garnier/Unsplash

Singapore is a fast moving city with over half a million cars on the road. The city is also located one degree (137 km) north of the equator. This means one thing – rain, lots of rain. Torrential and persistent rain requires drainage systems, both natural and man-made.

The road safety team at Budget Direct Insurance asks the question – what can we learn from car accidents that have involved one of Singapore’s rivers?

Following these examples, you will find road safety advice to help when driving in Singapore, especially when near a river or in wet conditions.

Quick facts - river accidents

1. River Valley Road

Two people died in January 2016 after their car plunged into a feeder canal for the Singapore River.

According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), the accident happened at about 9pm near Valley Point Shopping Centre located at 491 River Valley Road. Eyewitnesses stated that the car exited the mall, crashed through a barrier and landed nose-first in the canal.

The Valley Point Shopping Centre exit faces onto the canal. The damaged barriers have since been replaced.

2. Other river accidents

Over the years, there have been other reported cases involving cars plunging into the Singapore River:

  • In March 1991, a taxi driver blacked out and drove into the Singapore River when it was at high tide. Thankfully, the cab driver was rescued by a hawker who dived into the river after seeing the accident.

  • In October 1993, a Jaguar sports car smashed through a guardrail on a bridge crossing Geylang River. The car plunged five metres, killing the driver and two passengers. Three other passengers were taken to hospital.

  • Another accident happened in December 1993 when a Ford Laser tumbled into the Singapore River near Boat Quay and Tew Chew Street. The driver, aged 22, drowned in the accident.

  • The worst accident of this kind occurred near Clarke Quay in 1989. This crash killed five people. “The 31-year-old driver of the Toyota Corolla was later found to have been drunk at the time of the accident.”, January 26, 2016

What can we learn?

Singapore is dotted with rivers, canals and drains to cope with our regular, extreme downpours. Drivers should be aware of the following:

1. Driving with extra care along roads linked to drainage systems.

2. Driving cautiously when exiting car parks. Car parks can be darker than Singapore’s streets, especially at night. Give your eyes time to adjust to the light, the road and any hazards.

3. Driving more slowly during and after rain when the roads may be slick. Wet roads affect your car’s manoeuvring and stopping time. In wet conditions there is also a danger of aquaplaning.

4. When driving for longer periods of time, make sure to take regular breaks. Do not drive when tired.

5. Not driving under the influence of alcohol.

6. Not texting, holding a mobile device or applying make up while driving.

Safe driving, regular car checks and maintenance are sure-fire ways to ensure that you and your car have a great future together.

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