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The 10 worst driving habits of Filipino drivers

Do Filipinos have the worst driving habits in the world? Observations from several foreigners and returning OFWs suggest we may be the most undisciplined road users in the world. Add to that the traffic probelm that simply gets worse every day. In 2012, CNN’s travel website CNNGo named the Philippines as the world’s third worst city for driving. And while this discussion could be as broad as the country’s roads, we have limited it to the top ten worst driving habits of Filipino drivers:

Using horns too often

Honking a car in a traffice

I don’t know why Filipinos simply love to blow their car horns. It does not speed up the traffic nor was it built for the purpose of unleashing your rage onto the vehicle in front of you. Horns were made so you can call attention during emergencies, such as to alert a crossing pedestrian who you may hit. This practice has been so ingrained in our road culture that some drivers even have the nerve to unnecessarily use their horns in hospital and church areas.

Texting while driving

Texting while driving in the Philippines

We all know that multi-tasking is a requirement for many of our workers and laborers. However, to actually talk or text on your phone while driving is simply stupid. A driver’s job when he has the wheel is to focus on the road. It is a serious responsibility which could possibly mean life or death for your passengers or other people who use the road, pedestrians included.

Beating the red light

Beating the Red Light Philippine roads

Filipinos seem to have the wrong perception of time. On the road, we sure are in a hurry, but we never seem to arrive at appointments early or on time. Beating the red light, especially when there is no traffic enforcer or during the wee hours of the night is very common in Metro Manila and other cities. It is also one of the main causes of road collisions.

Changing lanes too often

Switching lanes too often

Some drivers simply can’t make up their mind about what lane to take while others simply want to take advantage of any lane that appears to moving faster. So what’s so bad about changing lanes? Well, it is one of the main reasons why some cars rear end others. Swerving without precautions, such as not using signal lights or switching across solid lines is considered a traffic violation.

Tailgating or mid lane hugging

Tailgating and midlane tailgating

I don’t know if you can consider it a defensive driving technique or just simply being rude, but this one ticks off most drivers. Even if the lane-changing car has properly signalled to the other driver, his request can be ignored. Bottom line- few Filipinos know road courtesy.

Not using seatbelts

Not using seatbelts

Just because you are driving through traffic and your car is running less than 10 kilometers per hour does not mean you can not fasten your seat belt. Under RA 8750, failure to install seatbelts has a fine of P250.00 on the first offense and up to one weeks suspension on the third.

Using hazard lights to park anywhere

Signal lights while parking

This is very common, especially if the driver is waiting for a passenger who has gotten out of their car for a quick side activity like withdrawing money from an ATM. It can be a inconvenience for other motorists because you are blocking one lane.

Unloading passengers anywhere

No loading area jeepeney

Another one of the cultural habit that has to go is the “para” mentality, where drivers simply let their passengers get out of the vehicle anywhere. Jeepneys do it frequently and so do private passenger vehicles. Loading or unloading in prohibited zones has a lowly fine of P150.00 for each offense, which may be the reason it is very tempting.

Bribing a traffic enforcer

Bribing a traffic officer

There has been a lot of buzz about how MMDA personnel are corrupt. But on the other hand, it goes both ways. Bribery has been rooted in our driving culture, so much so that it has become a blame game- which comes first: the chicken or the egg? The point is that this type of undisciplined behavior only thrives because some motorists find it to be the easiest way to get out of paying their penalties

Using commemorative/privilege plates

Commemorative car plate

It comes in many forms- Attorney, PNP Class of ’89, office of a government agency, etc., and their purpose is simple- to deter traffic personnel from citing road violations if they ever commit one. What is irksome about this practice is the in your face “I’m exempt from traffic law” attitude that they portray.

These are just some of the negative driving habits that most drivers in the Philippines have at one time or another used. On many occasions, some ill-mannered drivers even have the knack of bending traffic rules or causing discomfort to fellow road users because of the cultural orientation we have had for decades.

Do you know any other bad driving habits that Filipinos practice? Write your comments below, and let your voice be heard.

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