SINCE I arrived from the United States in 2008, it took me three years before I finally decided to drive my car. Inept drivers drove me crazy. A friend advised me that I should first study the culture of the drivers here especially those driving public utility vehicles.
I was surprised to hear such an advice since in the U.S., the only requirement for one to drive is a driver’s license after passing the written test and the test drive. The presumption is that one abides by the traffic rules and regulations.
The basics should be part of our school curriculum so that at an early stage Filipinos will have an idea of our traffic rules and regulations. I remembered an instance that while waiting for my turn to turn left, a pedestrian crossed the street in a diagonal direction meaning from northeast to southwest instead of the usual west to east or north to south. I almost hit her since I was turning left. What is most horrible is that in doing so she passed by a traffic enforcer who did not admonish her.
Going back to my friend’s advice, I did exactly what she told me and studied the mindset of Filipino drivers. First among other things, I found out that there is complete disregard for our traffic rules and regulations.
Allow me to be sarcastic this once. Driving counter flow and without a helmet are indications of how much value a driver here puts on his life. What do I think of fathers who take their toddlers (with no helmet) for a joy ride on their bikes? Latest news banning kids on motorcycles is a welcome development.
A driver who drives his motorcycle in zig-zags is gravely confused. Hey, you are no longer on a computer game. A bus driver who wants the road to himself—blowing his horn, so he can force you to move on to the side—is a bully. A jeepney driver from Danao City who drives at a speed of light intimidates other motorists into thinking he has a gun stashed to his waist. A trisikad driver who insists on driving his bike on the highway has to convince me that he has equal right to the street as the SUV driver. The former is driving at a speed of five kilometers per hour as opposed to the SUV’s 40 to 60 kph.
Apart from the usual test given by our transportation office, I suggest a psychological test should be given as well to determine if an applicant is mature enough to drive on our streets.
Published in the SunStar Cebu newspaper on May 22, 2017.
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