By Tony Tan
Never would I have imagined that a simple gap in the "island" between two roads would be the cause of most of my blood-boiling driving moments.
I am referring to the U-turn. There have been many times when I see the place I had to be or the road I should have taken flash past me on the opposite side of the road, only to find a U-turn farther down. They are a much-welcomed, time-saving road feature, indeed.
However, U-turns can also give rise to driving stupidity of the highest order.
I recently moved to an area with a long road that has two lanes on either side and a wide divider in the middle, just outside my home.
Dotting this 2km stretch of tarmac are eight gaps, which allow drivers emerging from the many side roads to make a turn to the other side and carry on with their journey.
Of the eight gaps, only two have been designated as U-turns, but this has not stopped countless motorists from exercising their self-awarded right to use any of the other six to swing their cars 180 degrees anytime they want.
I have seen so many close shaves, where drivers making the illegal manoeuvre almost come into close contact with other vehicles.
The Land Transport Authority re-profiled the dividers around one of the gaps by sharpening their ends (hence making it more difficult for drivers to execute a U-turn), but this has neither stopped nor slowed the parade of clowns from doing so.
Nothing has been done to another "popular" gap, and it is the more dangerous one as it functions almost like an unregulated cross-junction - it also serves two streets that are exactly opposite each other, one of which is where I live.
You cannot imagine how alert I have to be every time I attempt to drive out. Even making a simple left turn is a problem as I have to watch out for drivers making illegal U-turns.
Know what is the worst part?
The people living around me seem resigned to the situation, accepting it as part and parcel of living along the road. They treat it as a minor inconvenience, just like the neighbourhood cats that poo all over the place and the trees that shed copious amounts of leaves into our gardens, as if it was autumn every day.
The writer is the associate editor of Torque by SPH Magazines.
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