Tales From The Road 1 : Some Bad Habits Of The Filipino Driver

Everywhere we look, there are cars. And of course, since this is not The Jetson’s future timeline, each one of those cars has a live human inside of it, working the controls to make sure that the vehicle is under control.

Driving a vehicle is a privilege, not a right, as the LTO so rightfully states. Driving a vehicle makes our lives easier – helps us meet deadlines, brings our stuff that we normally cannot carry by ourselves and for a select few, provides us with a thrill that some are willing to trade in for sex.

I’ve been driving for about two and a half years [2013], as a non-professional license holder. The amount of time I’d spent on the road is of course, waaaay too short if we compare it to, say my father, who’d been driving for about forty years. But however short my time is compared to him, or others out there for that matter, there’re quite a bit of things out there that I have experienced sufficiently to talk and write about.

A lot of things can make driving less of a pleasurable experience, and more of a chore. It could be a defective car, damping your excitement to get behind the wheel. It could be that you’re driving for someone as a favor – your boss or a nosy family member. But nothing more irks me off than the actions of your fellow motorists.

The Filipino driver takes great pride in his ingenuity and skill behind the wheel. Lemme talk about some of the bad driving habits that Filipino drivers commit on the road. From this point on, there may not be much in the way of pics since my two hands are always on the wheel. But let’s proceed, and at the end of this blog, I hope you’d picked up a thing or two at the end of this.

Habit : Most drivers, regardless of speed tend to stay on the left side of the road. If you’re moving at the speed limit, this should be ok as this would make it the maximum passing speed. However, we find drivers who stay on the left side of the road but move not much faster than a funeral hearse. A tie-in to this incorrect practice is that when you flash your lights to signify your intent to pass, 95% (I just made up this statistic haha) will not budge, and some will actually signal you to pass on the right side.

Why This Is Bad : First of all, all signages on expressways state : “Slow Moving Vehicles Keep Right”. This means that if you’re moving at speeds around the minimum speed limit of 60 kph, you should be on the right side to allow faster moving vehicles to use the left lane for passing. Some others may ask, why on the left. If the obvious had not yet dawned to those poor souls, the left side is where you sit, making it the point on the car where you can easily judge distances on the car. And the right side is, of course, your blind side where you are less able to judge distances. The reason they put the passing lane on the left is to allow you to easily see from behind the car you’re about to pass that everything is clear up front. Which is why passing on the right side is plain wrong – the emergency shoulders are situated on the right side, people are on the right side of the road. And since you’re seated on the left side of the vehicle, the right side is your blindspot because you cannot effectively judge distances on the right as well as you can on the left. A lot of accidents happen because people pass on the right – they swipe a car that may have broken down on the side of the road and often hit people on the side of the road.

Habit : Those lines on the are just to show you the divisions on the road and that you can pass anywhere.

Why This is Bad : This is not true. Those lines on the road of course help to keep you on the correct path, but they also tell you where you can pass. Dashed lines tell you that you can pass anywhere as long as the situation presents itself to be safe. A solid white line separates the direction of traffic on the road – very common on roads without an intersection. It also you should not cross over it for passing. A solid white line or a double one for that matter means absolutely no passing or crossing over into the other lane.

There are exceptions though. On some roads, you can see a solid yellow line on one side an a dashed line on the other. This means that the lane where the solid line is painted on, cannot pass at any time. The lane where the dashed line is, allows for passing under safe conditions.

Habit : Cats and Dogs = Hazard Lights

Why This is Bad : This is a very, very, very common and annoying driving habit. When driving in heavy rain, you find drivers all around flashing their hazards – while moving along the road! They say that during a downpour wherein visibility is lessened, one should turn on their hazard lights to make themselves more visible to the driver following you. This is simply wrong. For one, if you activate your hazards, the turn signals do not work. Therefore the driver behind you has to make like a psychic and guess if you’ll move to the left or right side of the road, or will have to make a turn. This can result in him rear ending you.

Still, others say that since the condition is hazardous for driving, you should turn on your hazards to let the person a few car lengths behind you know of the condition you’re in. As if you’re car is experiencing low visibility and the car behind has a clear view like on a sunny day. If the condition presents itself to be hazardous to your driving but you can’t stop since you think Slenderman is behind you, then turn on your tail lights, move to the right side of the road and proceed at a slower pace.

…well on second thought.

The best way, if you can, is to stop somewhere, say a convenience store and wait it out until conditions are good enough for you to continue driving.

One thing to do, if your car is properly equipped, is to activate the rear fog light (or as fellow Lancer Box owners call, ‘turbo light’) and the front fog lights, which of course are best in yellow. This aids visibility, but in the Philippines, there’s not very much use in having rear fogs as there isn’t much fog around to dull the light of your tail lights, so just turning on your tail lights along with your front clearance lights should be fine in broad daylight.

an example of a rear foglight installed into the rear bumper cover of an 350Z
how a rear fog light is actually used. notice how it’s easily visible despite the fog

**here is an a good write up given by Top Gear PH on the matter

Habit : Parking = Hazards

Why This Is Bad : Another very common trait although less harmful, is still a weird sight. People do this, more so if they’re backing up into a parking space. The hazards serve absolutely no purpose in parking, and can potentially confuse people around you. If you’re backing up, and you think you’re presenting a hazard to the car behind you, or the people around you, then please turn in your license.

Habit : If you’re driving at night, turn on your high beams.

Why This Is Bad : …sure if you have no vehicles in front of you, or in the opposite lane. Filipinos however are probably scared of Aswang so they turn on their high beams at every opportunity. This makes it easier to see far ahead of you. However if  you’re following a car, the high beams become very distracting to the driver in front when he looks are the rear view mirror. The glare will not allow him to see anything behind, and also dulls his eyes to the road up front as his eyes will adjust to the bright light you’re dumping on them. Another scenario is that when you’re on the opposite lane who are on high beams when you pass each other. A third and even stupider scenario is the incoming vehicle is on his low beams, which all seems fine, until you are a few car lengths from each other then they will flash their high beams as if to greet you. At that moment, when you’re blinded by the light, you may not be able to see clearly in front of you, increasing the risk that you may bumping into something – or someone.

Habit : Even if you’re in the middle of the road, it’s ok to take a left or right turn.

Why This Is Bad : In a multi lane road, it is often shown on the roar itself which lanes can take the turn. But we had everyone and their brother who come from the middle of the road and often eat up one, two even three lanes to make a turn.You can easily swipe someone who’s moving straight ahead, but a lot of people do it anyway.

I’ll probably cut it here because it’s already 0130, and I’m quite hungry. If you’ve learned something from this blog, then that’s awesome. I hope that you will use this knowledge to your advantage while on the road. And also somehow, I hope that knowing about these will allow you to enjoy your drives.

[originally appeared on lifeinadreamlessworld.blogspot.com]

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