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Road rage 'a real and big issue' in Singapore, as drivers bemoan sense of entitlement on roads

SINGAPORE — A man’s ugly, aggressive driving behaviour was so traumatic that Ms Dhurrga Ettikan still remembers it vividly after 12 years.

Road rage 'a real and big issue' in Singapore, as drivers bemoan sense of entitlement on roads
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  • A recent high-profile road rage incident on the Tuas Second Link cast a spotlight on the lack of graciousness by some drivers
  • While there is no official data on reports of road rage in Singapore, motorists said such behaviour is fairly common
  • They also share some of their personal experiences
  • A spokesman of a community watch group promoting road safety said that road rage often stems from a sense of entitlement
  • Experts said it is often best not to engage when finding yourself caught in such incidents

SINGAPORE — A man’s ugly, aggressive driving behaviour was so traumatic that Ms Dhurrga Ettikan still remembers it vividly after 12 years.

She was 24 years old, and driving in the right-hand or fast lane of the expressway one night, taking her teenage brother to his army camp in Kranji. 

A driver came up behind her, overtook her by moving into the lane to the left, then veered back in front of her car and slowed down to about 60kmh on the expressway, which had a speed limit of 90kmh.

Ms Dhurrga said that for a full 15 minutes, he kept at that speed and blocked her every time she tried to change lanes. 

“He was very reckless and changed lanes without signalling,” she said, adding that she was honking and flashing her car’s lights on high beam to urge him to stop hogging the road.

“When he finally let me go, he showed me his middle finger,” Ms Dhurrga, now a 36-year-old marketing director, told TODAY.

She said she doesn't know what made the man so angry but is sure that she was already driving at the speed limit when he overtook her.

“If he had honked, even though I was going at 90kmh, I would have gone to the left lane (to let him through). The point is, he overtook me without signals or anything, indicating he was unhappy with my driving,” she said.

After that night, Ms Dhurgga made it a point to have a third person sit in the car with her whenever she took her brother to his army camp so that she would not have to make her long journey back home alone.

A high-profile road rage incident on the Tuas Second Link last weekend involving two Singapore-registered cars has turned the spotlight on the lack of graciousness by some drivers on the roads. 

While there is no official data on reports of road rage in Singapore, motorists who spoke to TODAY said such behaviour is fairly common. 

Facebook pages of community watch groups that document road incidents, such as SG Road Vigilante, which documented the fracas on the Tuas Second Link, generate thousands of views and hundreds of often angry comments.

With new videos published almost every day, these groups have helped fuel a perception that ugly driving behaviour on the roads is fairly common.

SG Road Vigilante told TODAY that it has received about 50 videos depicting road rage incidents or driving disputes so far this year, compared to about 70 for the whole of last year.

Road rage incidents can take a variety of forms including aggressive honking, tailgating, "brake checking" or deliberately braking abruptly in front of another vehicle, shouting or making rude gestures.

At times, they have led to physical altercations when drivers leave their vehicles to confront another motorist.


Digital media executive Mohd Ikhmal Osman, 28, believes he has seen more of this type of behaviour over the past few months.

“Lately it’s common for drivers to cut into the lane without (indicating their turn) signals. Then, when they drive beside me, they will give you the look as though they are trying to say, ‘Stare, what stare?’”

School bus driver Sangar Nadarajah, 46, said that he often sees tempers flare especially when motorists dangerously cut the queue to get onto the expressway by swerving in whenever they see a gap.

“This is common at Jalan Bukit Merah,” he said. “Frequently, you can hear people honking and from the way they press the horn you can tell they are angry.”

When it happened to him once, he grew angry and caught up to the driver who cut his queue to glare at the driver.

“He raised his hands to say sorry, so I told myself, ‘Okay, fine’,” Mr Sangar said. “He did it purposely, but he said sorry so what can I do?”

Such incidents don’t happen only on the roads. 

Just last month, Ms Dhurrga encountered another angry driver at the car park at the Civil Service Club in Bukit Batok. 

She was in the car with her husband, her 62-year-old mother and her two-year-old child. After they parked and her mother opened the car door, the driver parked next to her started shouting that she dented his car with the door.

Her mother apologised and she came out to take a look but saw no damage to his car, so she asked the driver to show her the dent so that they could resolve the issue. 

“You want to see the dent?” Ms Dhurrga recalled him shouting, before he grabbed his car door and smashed it into her car, causing a huge dent.

Ms Dhurrga’s said her heart was racing because he looked like he was going to attack them and had his face so close to hers as he was shouting that their noses almost touched.

“He was driving a BMW and I’m driving a Honda. He was shouting at me, ‘Do you know I drive a BMW?’”

Her husband told her to leave with her mother and her child and in a spirit of conciliation went up to the man to ask if he was feeling alright, she said.

The man told her husband that he was dealing with some family problems, so her husband let the incident slide. 

Later, she searched his car plate number on Google and found three separate videos of incidents the car has been involved in, including one where an accident had been caused.

“He’s a habitual road rager,” she said. “Once I identified that, I reported it to the police because I’m worried there will be another victim.”

She said the police told her that she could take the driver to court in a civil proceeding. But she did not want to go through the hassle and paid S$600 to repair her car out of her own pocket.


A spokesman for, another community watch group on Facebook, said he believes that road rage incidents often boil down to drivers’ sense of entitlement — that they have the right of way on the road. 

It’s a real and big issue in Singapore, to the point that people are reacting based on very small incidents like lane cutting.
A spokesman for Roads.Sg, a community watch group

“It’s a real and big issue in Singapore, to the point that people are reacting based on very small incidents like lane cutting,” said the spokesman.

“Even in the incident on the Tuas Second Link, it’s really quite innocuous. Apparently someone was cutting in front of someone’s lane but it reached a flashpoint because of that sense of entitlement.”

A lot of road rage incidents in the past have gone undocumented until groups like his emerged as a way to highlight nasty road behaviour and advocate for safer roads and more gracious drivers, he said. 

With the proliferation of car dashboard cameras and ease of sharing footage on social media, he believes that the number of road rage incidents has actually gone down over the years because people are more cautious of being shamed publicly.

“In the past, small altercations like shouting at each other were the norm. Those died down a lot,” he said.

“The incidents that do come up tend to be those cases where the people are already seeing red,” he said.


Road rage by itself is not a crime in Singapore. 

However, there are a wide number of offences under the law that can encompass incidents of road rage, said criminal defence lawyer Azri Imran Tan from IRB Law.

Examples of these offences include:

  • Voluntarily causing hurt or grievous hurt
  • Causing hurt, grievous hurt or death by negligent or rash acts
  • Endangering the safety of others by way of negligent or rash acts
  • Wrongful restraint
  • Mischief
  • Deliberately wounding racial or religious feelings
  • Causing harassment

In sentencing, however, the court will ascertain whether an offence was committed out of, and arising from, the common and shared use of Singapore’s roads, said the former Deputy Public Prosecutor.

If the court determines that the offence involves road rage, then harsher penalties may be meted out.

“The law expects road users to exercise self-restraint, de-escalate conflict, and amicably resolve their differences when disagreement arises in the course of using public roads,” he said. 

“Even if the other party drove badly, or breached road traffic rules, such behaviour does not amount to provocation justifying the commission of an offence on the road, let alone violence or any act of mischief.”

Mr Tan noted that amendments to the Road Traffic Act passed in 2021 have given courts the power to disqualify motorists who commit any offence in a road rage context from driving.


Victims of road rage may choose to sue in civil proceedings, typically for damages for personal injury or property damage, Mr Tan said.

Alternatively, if a police report has been made and they are not pursuing the case, victims may file a Magistrate’s Complaint with the court for certain offences such as mischief or harassment.

The magistrate may then order mediation, further police investigations or ask the victim to undertake a private prosecution of the alleged offender.

Mr Gopinath Menon, a former vice-chairman of the Singapore Road Safety Council, said that when the other party starts using rude words or gestures, it is best to ignore and not be drawn into further argument. 

“Sometimes an apology might diffuse the situation if you were at fault. But if there is a threat of physical violence, protect yourself as best as you can.”

The spokesman said that people should not be reactive when they find themselves in a road rage incident, unless it is for self-defence. 

“It’s best not to confront. If someone puts up a dangerous act, make a police report and let the authorities deal with the person,” he said. “It always ends badly for everyone when it comes to blows.”

Related topics

road rage Tuas Second Link criminal law road safety

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