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Thursday, May 03, 2012

Driving Drives Me Crazy

If  I am to name one stressful activity I do on a daily basis, driving will make it to the top of my list. Our traffic and road condition plus PUV drivers' inability to follow simple rules like 'NO Loading/Unloading', make driving a test of ones patience especially in the morning. Factor in the motorcycles that would appear out of nowhere from all directions and zigzag their way like snakes rushing for the next meal and we've got a perfect concoction for road rage. And oh, did I mention that traffic signs are more of just suggestions than rules?


I sometimes wonder why I go through it every single day especially with my current physical condition but conclude in the end that it may be safer to drive than to take a ride in a jeepney or bus driven by someone with a serious death wish.

A couple of years ago, a foreigner friend visited and the first thing he noticed (aside from our ugly airport that needs improvement) were the public utility vehicles that stopped at absolutely anywhere to load and unload passengers. He asked if these drivers went to any driving school and our licensing procedure. I laughed to hide my embarrassment.

But embarrassed doesn't mean I denied the truth. I was honest enough to tell him these drivers didn't take any formal driving lessons. In fact they may have learned how to drive from an old-former-driver-turned-drunkard/junkie using a dilapidated assembled jeepney. Of course I didn't thrust the knife deeper by saying some of these drivers couldn't even read much more comprehend a simple traffic sign.

For sure our license issuance process will be compared to that of other countries' much stringent and red tape free procedure - where one need to take seminars, formal lectures, written exams and actual driving tests. The closest one could get in cheating is by reviewing in advance a dmv driver manual for the written test.

This reminds me of the written test I took when I applied for my drivers' ID. I wanted to expedite the process so I paid 'under the table' for me to skip the driving test and automatically pass the written exams. Automatically pass the written test didn't mean not taking it at all but rather being given a test paper with the answers already marked. Now, that's cheating! (and don't get the wrong idea, I am not proud).

The written tests weren't actually difficult; I'd say people are just lazy to read the study resources and want to take the fast lane. I am just not sure if this is the same case for PUV drivers - as mentioned some of them couldn't even read. Or should I say refuse to follow what they read? Perhaps the latter is more applicable because even my 5 year-old daughter knows we should stop when the light turns red.

The government is now starting a program where women are being trained to drive buses and other PUVs. They reckon women are more concerned about safety and are likely to follow traffic rules. In a way it could be true but we'll find out when the program starts. Meanwhile, our best foot forward is to be more defensive on the road and here are a few tips:

1. Keep away from bad drivers
2. Keep away from bad drivers
3. Don't drive.

Well, they say if you can drive in Manila, you can drive anywhere in the world!


Adult Driving Course said...

It's fine to feel that way. The road is a dangerous place for anyone after all - licensed or not. On a lighter note, people will get to appreciate traffic rules and road safety when they receive appropriate education from qualified instructors. On the whole, your experience is not at all unusual. You'll get used to driving after some theoretical and actual driving lessons.

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