Anyone who has lived in Singapore long enough will know that December is peak travel season, and travelling through the checkpoints to Malaysia means risking the infamous Causeway jam.
Even with proper planning and prior research, you might inadvertently find yourself caught in an eye-watering three-hour-long wait, inching your way across the linkway connecting the two countries.
With technological advancements making internet connectivity faster and cheaper for travellers, digitally-savvy natives know that there's no reason to fear the congestion, especially if traffic information are at their fingertips.
Granted, you'd have to buy data or an additional SIM card, just like for your other overseas trips. Here's an article covering your cheapest mobile data roaming options so you'll be able to surf on-the-go.
Whether you're thinking of heading in this holiday season or any other time of the year, don't take a gamble and cross the customs blind, make an informed decision with the help of these nifty tools.
1. Beat the Jam!
With over two decades of experience commuting through the Causeway, 38-year-old Malaysian and Singapore PR Hayden Lak created an app to chart traffic trends and help fellow drivers beat the custom queues.
Originally named Causewayjam.com, the website has now been converted into a handy app called "Beat the Jam!", and can be downloaded on both the App Store and Google Play.
The app is an all-in-one traffic monitoring and analysis tool that gives users comprehensive traffic information at the Causeway and Tuas second link such as how long they will have to wait in traffic and indications of whether conditions will ease up.
In addition to showing Google traffic data and traffic cameras, the app also maps and displays traffic trends so users can make a more informed decision on whether it's worth your time to cross the border.
Also available on both Apple and Android devices, Checkpoint.sg is an app that opens up and immediately shows you the traffic conditions of major roads in and out of the Tuas and Woodlands checkpoints.
The system pulls live traffic camera images in real time, and in case the camera feeds are down, there are other features such as travel time estimation and faulty camera detection.
In addition to being able to help users anticipate traffic conditions at the checkpoints, the Motorist app is able to do so islandwide.
Available on both iOS and Android devices, the app is also able to detect accidents, vehicle breakdowns and inform you of other diversions on the roads.
Supported by a community of drivers who use the app, the platform operates on a crowdsource model which means drivers help one another to identify and avoid traffic incidents.
While all these apps are pretty user-friendly and intuitive, I prefer the graphics on the first app but you can always choose to use all three to get a more accurate picture of the situation on the roads.
If you hate redundant apps cluttering up your screens or don't want to take up space in your phone downloading the aforementioned apps because you seldom travel to Johor Bahru (JB), there's always the option of browsing online monitoring websites for traffic information.
Once you have internet connectivity, hop on over to these websites to check the live situation at both checkpoints before you decide to cross the border.
1. One Motoring
This website lets users view real-time footage of traffic conditions at specific locations, although it doesn't tell you how long the wait will be.
Also, since the images are similar, I find the information a little confusing sometimes and have made the mistake of thinking I'm looking at the Woodlands checkpoint when I'm really looking at Tuas.
In addition to letting you check traffic conditions at the checkpoints, this website also lets you have a look at all the major highways in Singapore such as the AYE, BKE, CTE, MCE and more.
If you have a good knowledge of the roads within JB, this website might also be more useful for you because it lets you look at traffic conditions in all the main roads.
FOR THOSE WITHOUT 4G…
If you belong to a generation that has never bought data going in to JB (and prefer not to do so), here's one last trick I have to share.
Since the jams usually start building up after dinner when everyone is in a rush to start going home, avoid being stuck for hours by catching a late night movie and snoozing in the cinema instead.
Wait till the checkpoint line dissipates and unless you're incredibly suay (unfortunate), it's unlikely that the queue to head back to Singapore at 2am will be as bad as the evening after-dinner crowd.
If you're on Telegram (like AsiaOne is ?), you can also choose to subscribe to groups like SG Roadblocks, SG Rd Updates, SG Custom and more for up-to-date news dedicated to traffic and road conditions.
Know of any more tricks to beat the jam and survive the boredom? Let us know!