ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Autos»
  • Regulations & Driving Rules

Driving in a Foreign Country

Updated on February 8, 2016
Typical intersection mess with no traffic signal
Typical intersection mess with no traffic signal
Lots of tricycles
Lots of tricycles
The Jeepney
The Jeepney

For many travelers, the best way to see a new country is to rent a car and drive it. Experience everything about the country you are in with the added convenience of avoiding buses and taxis. Driving in most countries is a similar experience to a degree, I mean, the basic traffic laws and signage are generally universal. Traffic lights follow the same meanings across most of the globe, but driving in Third World countries, or even 2nd World countries can be a real lesson when compared to driving in First World countries (USA, Europe, and Australia). Of course, once you understand the drivers in a Third World and adapt, driving is actually fun.

In many Third World nations, there is minimum police and traffic control in rural and urban environments. A driver from the USA is generally taught to yield to oncoming traffic, to give the pedestrian the right of way, be a defensive driver more than an aggressive driver (of course, this varies), not to pass when oncoming cars are approaching and so on. Most speed signage is in metric or kilometers.

After driving in the Philippines, the courteous driver methods are discarded. If you do not toss these habits out, you will be stuck in a quagmire of traffic consisting of tricycles ( a motorcycle with a passenger side car, Jeepney’s (a large pickup truck with a long bed that carries 20 people enclosed), taxis and personal cars and trucks.

Early on, First World drivers must convert their driving to one of being a bully and be willing to play the game of “chicken” with your car, otherwise, you will go nowhere fast and everyone will be taking advantage of your politeness.

Driving in Cebu City and Davao, two of the Philippines largest urban areas, teaches you that if you want to cross a four-way intersection with no traffic lights or stop signs, the only way is to slowly move your car into the sea of mess to make your turn. All kinds of vehicles will be coming at you from many directions making you a bit nervous about collision, yet at the last moment, when the other drivers know you are dead set of crossing, they yield and stop. If you do not act like a bully, traffic will just pass you. Nobody wants to get into accident so the game of chicken works at the last moment. Motorcycles and tricycles litter the roads and Jeepney’s are road hogs just like buses, they their drivers basically do whatever it takes to go from point A to B. As a driver, you have to adopt the same attitude.

Because of the tricycles and Jeeps, the road is much more congested and challenges your attention all the time. Roads merge with no warning, traffic lights are infrequent, lanes suddenly vanish or are only for turns. Pedestrians also cause sudden problems, yet, unlike in the USA, where they have the right of way, in many Asian countries, they have no right of way. So, as a driver, you do not stop for them, they stop for you.

Another tactic is to allow the vehicle in front of you, create a path for you to follow by tailgating it as you inch forward across the chaotic intersection. The larger the vehicle the better, because size does matter. Tricycles will usually pull to the side when they see a car behind them, Jeeps will also because like a bus, their route has many stops. Regular size buses simply challenge anyone to take them on.

Most of the “highways” are really just two lane roads. There are a few four lane highways. The two lanes forces you to pass whenever possible, especially if the road is lined with tricycles, then step on the gas and pass on their left even if there are oncoming cars because what happens is that the oncoming cars will also pull to their right side of the road, allowing for more space. So, for a brief hectic moment, it looks like a head-on collision. Yet, it never happens. Once you are out of the urban areas, driving is much more relaxed.

Another skill needed that is not used much is reverse driving. There were so many times while in the city that my reverse driving skills were tested because there is little room for parking, narrow single lane roads. In one case, I drove down a very narrow one lane road to an apartment only unable to figure out how to get out. Luckily, a local guided me out.

Lastly, another lesson is that you cannot trust Google maps all the time. We used it most of the time in the Philippines and it was a great help, but not always. Google may know a road from point A to B is the most direct and fastest, but it does not know its condition! The road may start out as a nice two lane paved road and an hour later, turn into a rocky, dirt, pothole, one land road, that is better for an off road vehicle! True, it is a road, though!

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • perrya profile image
      Author

      perrya 2 years ago

      As the old saying goes, "when in Rome, do as the Romans do". Just adapt, don't fight it, join it.

    • emge profile image

      Madan 2 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Interesting hub. I drive a lot at other places and reading this is handy

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)