Singapore MRT CarriageSingapore MRT Carriage

DRIVING IN SINGAPORE

Singapore has an excellent public transport system so most short-term visitors to the city-state don’t need to rent a car to get around. However, if you do wish to rent a car, most major car rental companies such as Avis, Hertz, and Budget have offices here. Here’s a quick guide answering the important questions you may have about driving in Singapore. 
Driving in Singapore

Am I allowed to drive in Singapore?

You’ll need a valid driving license in English in order to rent a car in Singapore. If your license isn’t in English, you may need an International Driver’s License from your home country. You can also get the International Driver’s License from the Automobile Association of Singapore. You’ll need a Singapore license if you’re living here for more than 12 months, or if you are a Permanent Resident or citizen. 

Driving in Singapore

What’s the driving experience like in Singapore?

Cars drive on the left side of the road in Singapore. The metric system is used, so any speed limit you see is in km/h. On roads in built-up areas, the speed limit is around 50km/h, and on expressways, normally between 80km/h and 90km/h. Traffic can be heavy during peak hours. Roads are generally very well-signed and in excellent condition, so it’s relatively easy to find your way around most places. You can add a GPS (Sat-Nav) unit to your rental car; these usually cover all of Singapore and parts of Peninsula Malaysia, too.

Driving in Singapore

What are the costs involved?

Driving in Singapore can be an expensive undertaking. Aside from rental rates and insurance being high, you may find that parking charges are expensive, especially in and around the CBD. In addition, there are road tolls known as Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) at certain times of the day which can add up. Every car comes with an in-vehicle unit (IU) which reads a stored value CashCard; this is used for road tolls and for parking charges in many car parks. These can be topped up at 7-11 stores, ATMs, and electronic top-up stations in car parks.

What are the road rules?

Drinking and driving is a serious offence in Singapore and the authorities are very strict about this. The Land Transport Authority (LTA) is also cracking down on the use of mobile phones while driving. Headlights need to be on from 7pm to 7am, and seat belts are mandatory for the driver and passengers. If you are in an accident, exchange insurance details with the other parties involved, and take plenty of photographs of the scene. Serious accidents and accidents where someone is injured require the involvement of the police.

Driving in Singapore

Can I drive to Malaysia, Thailand, and beyond from Singapore?

It’s certainly possible to drive overland to many countries from Singapore, with the correct permissions and documentation. Your car rental agreement may limit your travel to within Singapore, and driving out of Singapore may be subject to a daily surcharge. Check with your car rental company and a reliable tour operator for more details.

As is the case anywhere in the world, a little consideration and patience goes a long way on the road. Plan your routes ahead, get to know the local laws, and happy driving!