Driving in Singapore | ExpatWoman.com

Driving in Singapore

Singapore has many rules which makes driving an absolute pleasure as the road rules are strictly followed.

Posted on

3 February 2014

Last updated on 27 June 2017
Driving in Singapore

The British colonial rule is reflected in the road rules of Singapore, typically in the fact that cars are driven on the left side of the road. This is similar in countries such as neighbouring Malaysia, Hong Kong, South Africa and Australia.

Due to the strict laws imposed by the Singaporean government on the purchase of vehicles, and the high cost involved, there are only 12 cars for every 100 people in the country. This means that the roads are not as congested and that the use of public transport is common.

Driving in Singapore

In light of Singapore’s strict laws the drivers abide by the codes and regulations set forth by the government, hence the roads are quite safe as very few people speed or drive recklessly. Furthermore the government has set some procedures in place in order to curb traffic during peak times.

The In-Vehicle Unit

The Land Transport Authority (LTA) in Singapore implemented an Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) scheme to deter traffic congestion during peak hours at various roads. The ERP scheme requires electronic gantries to be placed over the road at designated locations and that cars be equipped with an In-Vehicle Unit (IU), a rectangular device pasted on the inside bottom right of the front windscreen from the driver's view, which will deduct the toll price from a CashCard. The CashCard must be inserted into the device, and to fail to do so is in violation of law. There is no charge for entering the area during certain non-peak times.

This IU comes in handy as it doubles up as a parking card, and the cost of the parking can be deducted from the cash card, thus making parking easier. In many of Singapore’s sophisticated parking lots the spaces have sensors so there will be pointers displayed on screens pointing you to the nearest available parking space.


It is illegal to turn left on red in Singapore unless there is a ‘Left Turn on Red’ sign present. If the sign is there the driver may turn, but only after allowing pedestrians and oncoming traffic to pass first. Right turns are permissible only when one's lane has the green light signal and the opposing traffic lane, travelling in the opposite direction, is clear and favourable to execute a right turn. However, green turning signals (the outline of a right-pointing arrow) are installed onto some traffic lights.

These rules in Singapore are similar to many countries that employ left-hand traffic, and unlike countries which permit turns on red.

Driving Safety

According to the Road Traffic Act paragraph 65(B) it is illegal for a person to use a hand held device for the purposes of communicating with another person whilst operating a motor vehicle. The penalty for violating this law can lead to a fine of up to $1 000 or a fine of up to six months or both. The laws in Singapore are strictly implemented and it is advisable to purchase a hands free kit if you are planning on driving in the country.

The Act also stipulates that any person caught driving under the influence of drugs or with a blood alcohol level that is more than the prescribed limit will be guilty of an offence and liable of a fine no less than $1 000 or a prison sentence no less than 12 months or both. Furthermore the convicted party will be disqualified from having, or being allowed to apply for a driving license for a period of 12 months.

The public transport in Singapore is excellent and there are taxis available day and night so there is no reason to drink and drive.

Right hand drive

In Singapore, only right hand drive cars are allowed. There are exceptions for special purpose vehicles, diplomatic vehicles and foreign registered vehicles driven by visitors, with the label placed at the back windscreen of the vehicles indicating "Left Hand Drive" to alert other motorist that the driver's seat is on the left side instead of on the right side.