Last Updated on 2023-03-30 , 10:08 am
Discretionary right turns—the subject of so much traffic discussion and controversy.
It’s no wonder why.
In a recent incident, a 39-year-old woman was sent flying when a car hit her at a discretionary right turn, right after a bus narrowly missed her as well.
Here’s what you need to know.
Woman Was Sent Flying
The accident was captured on a clip posted on Facebook group SG Road Vigilante, known for posting driving and traffic-related incidents.
It’s since garnered more than 32,000 views on the platform.
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The incident happened at a junction between Yuan Ching Road and Tah Ching Road in Taman Jurong.
The clip shows that the pedestrian crossing light is green, signalling that it’s technically safe for pedestrians to cross.
However, a bus makes a discretionary right turn at the junction, nearly colliding with the woman.
She’s not so lucky the second time around, because a Mazda collides with her after making the exact same turn, knocking her off her feet and sending her flying.
Luckily, she’s able to get up seconds later, and can be seen clutching her left leg.
The police were alerted to the incident at around 7.30 am, and the woman was conveyed to the hospital conscious.
What’s a Discretionary Right Turn?
So, why were the bus and the car allowed to turn right, despite the pedestrian’s green light flashing?
The answer is a discretionary right turn.
The discretionary right turn, as the name suggests, allows drivers to use their judgement to assess the flow of traffic and make a right turn, as long as there’s a suitable gap.
Discretionary right turns have been the subject of controversy, with people calling for them to be banned due to safety concerns like blind spots. Others also worry that drivers may be too focused on oncoming traffic while waiting for a gap to appear, and end up neglecting to see pedestrians crossing.
In response to this, red-amber-green (RAG) turning signals have been installed at some junctions, in place of the discretionary right turn.
According to Transport Minister S. Iswaran, the number of traffic accidents involving right turns at these junctions has since decreased by 40%, showing the RAG system’s efficacy, and also that drivers are really bad at making good judgement calls.
Another similar incident happened along Yuan Ching road in 2021, where a woman was struck by a careless driver and passed away.
She had been walking home, hoping to surprise her son with his favourite food after he had scored well in his O-level examinations, but was hit by a lorry and later pronounced brain dead.
The driver was arrested for careless driving.
In another incident, a Grab driver died while making a discretionary right turn at a junction in Ang Mo Kio, when a lorry travelling in the opposite direction collided with his car.
He was taken unconscious to the hospital and later died of his injuries, while the driver of the lorry and his passenger survived.
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