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Tips for Expats Driving in Woodlands

Driving in a new country can be daunting. These tips offer insight into what to expect when driving in Woodlands.
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1. Understanding the Driving Rules

Driving in Singapore, including Woodlands, is on the left-hand side of the road. The country has strict traffic rules and heavy penalties for violations. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these rules before you start driving. For instance, seat belts are mandatory for all passengers, and using a mobile phone while driving is prohibited unless it’s hands-free.

2. Car Recommendation

Given the high cost of owning a car in Singapore due to the Certificate of Entitlement (COE), many expats opt for smaller, more fuel-efficient cars. However, the type of car you choose will largely depend on your personal needs and budget. It’s also worth noting that Singapore has an excellent public transportation system, so owning a car isn’t necessary for everyone.

3. Parking in Woodlands

Finding parking in Woodlands can be challenging during peak hours, but it’s generally easier than in the city center. Parking rates vary depending on the location, but they’re usually more affordable compared to other parts of Singapore. Some residential buildings offer parking for residents, so check with your landlord or property manager.

4. Driving with an International License

Foreigners can drive in Singapore with a valid International Driving Permit (IDP) or a foreign license that is in English. However, this is only allowed for up to 12 months from the date of your arrival in Singapore. After this period, you’ll need to obtain a Singapore driving license.

5. Obtaining a Singapore Driving License

If you’re a foreigner who has been in Singapore for more than 12 months, you’ll need to convert your foreign driving license to a Singapore driving license. This involves passing the Basic Theory Test (BTT). Once you pass the BTT, you can apply for conversion at the Traffic Police Driving Test Centre. You’ll need to bring your passport, NRIC/Entry Permit/Employment Pass/Dependant Pass/Social Visit Pass/Work Permit, valid foreign driving license, and the BTT pass slip.

6. Be Aware of Electronic Road Pricing (ERP)

Singapore uses a system called Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) to manage traffic by road pricing. ERP charges are incurred when you drive through certain roads during peak hours. The charges are automatically deducted from a cash card inserted into an in-vehicle unit (IU) installed in the car. Make sure you’re aware of these charges and always have enough balance on your cash card.

7. Regular Car Maintenance

Given Singapore’s tropical climate, regular car maintenance is crucial. Regular servicing can help prevent overheating and other issues. Also, make sure your car’s air conditioning system is in good working condition to cope with the heat and humidity.

Joshua WoodJoshua Wood, LPC joined Expat Exchange in 2000 and serves as one of its Co-Presidents. He is also one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. Prior to Expat Exchange, Joshua worked for NBC Cable (MSNBC and CNBC Primetime). Joshua has a BA from Syracuse and a Master's in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Mr. Wood is also a licensed counselor and psychotherapist.

Some of Joshua's articles include Pros and Cons of Living in Portugal, 10 Best Places to Live in Ireland and Pros and Cons of Living in Uruguay. Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.

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