Wednesday afternoon brought terrible news of a family of four Singaporeans who died in a horrific crash in Port Dickson, a town in the west coast of Malaysia.
Graphic images, some of which showed the bodies of the deceased family pinned beneath the crushed Singapore-registered Honda Stream, circulated Facebook and Twitter before relatives of the family called for them to be taken down out of respect.
The tragic accident, according to Malaysian news agency Bernama, was caused by a lorry driver who hit a motorcycle before skidding into the opposite lane and crashing into the Honda Stream, a Mercedes and a Perodua Myvi.
The lorry driver initially fled but turned himself in to the authorities at about 5:30pm Wednesday, according to The Straits Times.
Five others were reportedly injured in the crash, apart from the four Singaporeans who died.
The Singaporeans were identified as 54-year-old Rosli Samad, who died on the way to a hospital in Port Dickson, as well as 51-year-old Maimunah Sapari, 21-year-old Nur Amalina Rosli and 18-year-old Dayana Sarah Rosli. The three women reportedly died at the scene.
11 dead in 5 accidents over past month
What makes all this more disturbing is the fact that a total of 11 Singaporeans have died in traffic accidents overseas in the past month alone.
With many Singaporeans and their families going on holidays abroad lately, and more folks renting cars abroad or driving up to other countries, it's cause for a lot more caution and care.
The accidents reported in the past month, from the most recent:
1. 2 dead in motorcycle accident in Thailand
When: December 31
Where: Phatthalung, Thailand
Ng Yong Sing, 27, and Vanalyn Png, 22, were flung from their motorcycle into a drain after reportedly skidding on a wet road.
2. 3 dead in car accident in U.S.
When: December 22
Where: Arizona, USA
Yeo Heng Soon, 62, Chua Cher Hwee, 56 and their son Justin Yeo, 22, were driving toward the Grand Canyon when their car reportedly crossed a painted median on the highway and collided head-on with a van. The younger Yeo's 19-year-old sister Justlyn survived the crash.
3. 1 dead in accident in South Africa
When: December 21
Where: Johannesburg, South Africa
Koh Yuan Ling, 33, was travelling with her sister when she was killed in a traffic accident, less than 24 hours after they arrived in Johannesburg. Her sister, Koh Yuan Jie, survived with injuries and was taken to a local hospital.
4. 1 dead in accident in New Zealand
When: December 11
Where: South Island, New Zealand
Seow Kai Yuan, whose age was not indicated in news reports, was killed after the vehicle he was driving collided head-on with another on State Highway 6. One of them, according to local police, was likely to have crossed the centre line.
Be careful when driving overseas
This goes without saying, but one should always be cautious when planning to drive overseas.
Check ahead of time to make sure:
- you are sufficiently experienced,
- have got an international driver's licence,
- you know how to drive in the weather conditions the country you're going to might have e.g. snow, fog, hail,
- you understand the nature of the roads in that country — some aren't well-maintained or have really high incidence rates of traffic accidents, so you may want to avoid driving there,
- are familiar with local road traffic rules, and
- if you're not confident, don't drive. Either get someone more experienced to do so, or hire a local driver with the car you rent.
Most importantly, always buy travel insurance, especially if you're driving abroad.
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