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Ten Tips #1: Driving Tips In Metro Manila

1:37 AM by Metro Manila Directions · 49 comments

For our first "Ten Tips", we offer helpful tips on how to survive driving in Metro Manila.  We believe there is such a thing as Metro Manila driving. Once you learn how to drive in the metro, you will be one of the most skillful drivers in the world. However, what is skillful if you're also near death all the time? Of course we're exaggerating. Learning how to drive around Metro Manila is not easy but it's not impossible. We encourage you to read through and let us know what you think.
1. Wear your seatbelt. Aside from the fact that being caught not wearing one is an offense to the country based on R.A. 8750, it is also a highly proven deterrent to further bodily injuries when accidents happen. Seatbelts prevent our bodies from being thrown towards the dashboard and windshield when sudden collissions and road mishaps happen. Let us not make the traffic enforcers apprehend us to be reminded to wear one.
2. Be mindful of your route/always have a map with you. Street maps and early preparations are a driver's best friends. Do not go out driving in the metro not know how to get to your destinations. You should first research or look for a map/route guide to see how far, how long, and how difficult your travel will be. Here in Metro Manila Directions, we provide sufficient routes for drivers on each article via our "for private vehicles" section.

3. Take note of number coding days. Knowing number coding is as basic as learning A-B-C for toddlers. Always remember on what day your vehicle cannot be used based on the MMDA number coding scheme and city ordinances and just commute. If you do not know how to get into your destination by commute, just contact us on our feedback page or email us at feedback AT metromaniladirections.com. We respond really fast.

4. Adhere to basic traffic rules. Stop at the red light. No swerving. No U-Turn. One Way. No Entry. Stick to your lane. Pedestrians first (at ALL times). Respect bicycle lanes. Don't drive on the yellow lane in EDSA. No blowing of horns. School Zone. No Parking. No loading/unloading.

5. Use your signal lights when turning. We super hate drivers who just swerve or turn without using their signal lights. It is a basic feature of a vehicle and must therefore be used at all times. This is not just to caution the driver behind you that you are changing lanes or turning but also helps that driver to avoid accidentally hitting your vehicle. If you don't use your signal light, you will always be on the losing end.

6. Gas stations are like safety pit stops. If you get lost or would just like to rest, head on for the next gas station that you find. This gas station is your safety net especially when driving at night. Do not just stop in the middle of the road - patrol cars might apprehend you or bad people might take advantage of your vulnerability.

7. Respect the law then the traffic enforcers. If the traffic enforcers feel that you are the type of person who would give in to bribery, they will just extort you; follow the law, ask for your offense and explain (argue if you must) only if the enforcer erred in catching you. If not, just hand in your license, remember the enforcer's name and get your ticket. There is one in a million chance that you'll be caught again in the next year or so. Pay your fine and just take note of that offense next time you drive in that area. Arguing further will just make you lose precious time and ruin your day, and resorting to bribery will just make you lose money and ruin your conscience.

8. Avoid buses, trucks, and jeepneys. Buses, especially ordinary buses, are known to be running faster than expected so the collision's effect is tremendous when it happens. Trucks, on the other hand, usually carry full loads and will not be able to stop abruptly if they're about to hit you. A little swerve from either of these can cause your smaller vehicle to fly. Jeepneys would stop whenever it wants so avoid speeding on the lane where it is passing by or else you won't be able to notice if it stops or not (usually they're rear stop lights are busted).
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 9. Precautionary tools are a must. Make sure you have the following: spare tires; emergency reflectors (those triangle signs you use when you get stuck on the road); at least two contact numbers of towing or assistance agencies; number at home, office, and police station; a bottle of water; a photocopy of your official papers; street map; umbrella, and a piece of rug or cloth. These items will be helpful as the need arises. Just make sure you all have them.
10. Avoid distractions. Loud music, texting, answering calls, and getting something from your bag are just examples of distractions. Avoid these at all cost, especially when you are traversing hi-ways with heavy traffic. Of course, even deserted-looking streets can surprise you - what if a kid suddenly crosses the street? Be aware of your surroundings more than yourself.
P.S. Once you've followed the ten tips above, the next thing for you to master is how to drive defensively. The basic rule is this: when driving, you should have the mindset (true or not true) that most, if not all, drivers around you will be stupid, reckless, and disobedient. They will try to cut lanes, turn without signaling, beat the red light, stop whenever they want, etc. So, the best thing for you to do is to be mindful of your surroundings.

Another note: If there is one place in Metro Manila where drivers would think more than twice before visiting, that would be Makati. The city is known to have very strict implementation of traffic rules and ordinances. A very concrete example is the number coding scheme. The general provision states that vehicles whose plate numbers are prohibited on a certain day is permitted to be on the road from 10am-3pm (as window hour); in Makati, there is no such thing. One has to really commute going to the city if he or she can't wake up early and go there before 7am. The city is also plagued with one-way streets which serves as one of the major reasons for being apprehended and the license being confiscated. 

Check out how the Japanese drivers say thank you on the road. *photos are from Google Images

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49 Responses to "Ten Tips #1: Driving Tips In Metro Manila"
Unknown said...
July 23, 2010 at 9:22 PM

YOU WROTE: "The basic rule is this: most, if not all, drivers around you are stupid, reckless, and disobedient. They will try to cut lanes, turn without signaling, beat the red light, stop whenever they want"

>>>This is true almost exclusively of drivers of public utility vehicles (taxis, buses, jeeps) and company truck drivers. Of course, idiot private drivers also exist as do they in any city worldwide BUT to say this of "most, if not all" drivers in Metro Manila is outright arrogant and definitely insulting.

Metro Manila Directions said...
July 24, 2010 at 8:49 AM

Hi S, thanks for your comment. I believe you are taking that selection in the wrong context; when I mentioned "basic rule", it is to say that it is the basic rule of defensive driving and not to factually say that all drivers in Metro Manila are bad drivers. I believe some of them are not, including you and me. :) Driving defensively entails one to be mindful and to always make sure to make precautions because you will never know, which leads to that basic rule.

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