Spending time driving might be a given for car owners, but motorists here spent a great deal more time on the road than doing other activities such as shopping and being with friends, a survey has found.
Compiled by research agency 2CV and motor insurance company DirectAsia, the survey found that Singaporeans spent an average of nine hours a week in their cars.
This exceeds the roughly five hours a week spent on the road by United States drivers, according to poll findings released by a traffic safety research body last year.
The Singapore survey polled 506 drivers here aged 18 to 55 in January and its findings were released earlier this month.
When asked about the activities they spent more than five hours a week on, 77 per cent chose driving, the most common response.
This was followed by other pastimes such as meeting friends (64 per cent), shopping (51 per cent) and cooking (49 per cent).
Almost half of the respondents said driving allowed them to bond with their passengers. Half of this group were drivers aged 35 to 50, who saw car journeys as an opportunity for family bonding.
Part-time legal counsel Yap Su Ling, 48, said: “Because we are all in the same space physically, the extra time together with my girls in the car is guaranteed from the moment I pick them up to the time I drop them off.”
Ms Yap spends about 15 hours a week ferrying her two daughters, aged 16 and 14, to and from school and other events.
“When I pick them up, the day’s events are fresh and I get to hear much more than if I were to ask them later at dinner time, when they are less inclined to share,” she said.
Shipping executive Peter Leong, 63, who has also been ferrying his daughter Michelle, 22, around from the time when she was born, said: “I try to find topics to talk about with her, whether it’s schoolwork or friends, and I also talk to my wife when we are in the car together.”
He added that he will make it a point to communicate with his passengers while driving, “otherwise the ride would be very sombre”.
The survey also found that one in four drivers could not live without his car despite the high cost of owning one. Many drivers The Straits Times spoke to said that this was because of their daily needs.
Said Nanyang Technological University undergraduate and start-up founder Jeremy Lim, 27: “I always have to shuttle between school and my workplace. Plus I need to travel all over Singapore for my job, so (doing so with) a car is only logical.”
For insurance broker Dominic Chee, 26, it is also about accessibility. “If I want to watch a movie past midnight, for example, I may not be able to get public transport after that, so I need a car,” he said.
But apart from necessity, 40 per cent of those polled said they also enjoyed going for a spin without a particular destination in mind.
A quarter of respondents said that driving helped them to de-stress – a sentiment expressed especially among younger drivers.
“I find it relaxing just to go on a drive with my friends, sing at the top of our lungs and unwind,” said marketing director Jessica Nasr, 28.
This article was first published on March 26, 2016.
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