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Driving safety in the Philippines

Updated on November 17, 2013

About these tips

These tips may be obvious to frequent vehicle drivers, but I believe that many people will benefit from reading these.

These driving tips are most especially useful when driving a vehicle in the Philippines.

Check your vehicle's fuel before driving

Checking your vehicle for fuel is one of the most important things to do before going on a trip using your vehicle. Running out of fuel is definitely trouble, but it is highly preventable.
Checking your vehicle for fuel is one of the most important things to do before going on a trip using your vehicle. Running out of fuel is definitely trouble, but it is highly preventable. | Source

1. Check and maintain your vehicle

No matter where you obtained your vehicle, it is always best to check it yourself or have it checked by a reliable person. Remember that most problems are unexpected but can be prevented, so it is always good to prepare. Inconvenience or even accidents may result from overheating, faulty brakes, flat tires, leakage, and other vehicular problems not said here.

Do not forget to fuel up when the fuel tank is about to get empty, or you will encounter the same problems in your vehicle as if it were malfunctioning.

Fuel in the Philippines is not expensive, so always fuel up when necessary.

Please don't drink and drive

You may drive a vehicle. You may drink alcohol. However, you must not drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol. The reason is obvious.
You may drive a vehicle. You may drink alcohol. However, you must not drive a vehicle after drinking alcohol. The reason is obvious. | Source

2. Do not use your phone while driving

If you have stayed some time in the Philippines and frequently used public transportation, you may have seen a driver using his phone while driving. Please - never assume that it is safe. The risk of accident while doing this is much greater than driving while under the influence of alcohol. If you do so, you can also get caught by an authorized traffic officer and ask you to pay for a violation ticket and confiscate your driving license.

Avoid taking mind-altering drugs before driving

Colorful as they are, drugs that affect the functioning of the mind (except common stimulants such as caffeine) should be avoided when going to drive a vehicle.
Colorful as they are, drugs that affect the functioning of the mind (except common stimulants such as caffeine) should be avoided when going to drive a vehicle. | Source

3. Never attempt to drive under the influence of drugs

Driving under the influence of illegal or mind-altering drugs is a heavy traffic violation. If under the influence of illegal drugs, you will also definitely face criminal charges if caught. It will also greatly increase the risks of accidents that may harm people and damage property.

You are taking drugs to enjoy or prolong your life. However, don't take them if they will impair your ability to drive safely.

4. Do not drive fast in crowded places, no matter how skillful you are

Many Filipinos are used to walking on the road where vehicles are also moving on. Laws in the country are generally in favor of the pedestrian and not the driver, even if the driving accident is mainly the fault of the pedestrian walking on the wrong area.

Not all streets in the country's cities have traffic guides like traffic lights and signs.

If you see a person walking on the road where they are not supposed to be on, the best thing to do is to slow down and briefly sound the horn.

No person has ever driven a vehicle perfectly.

5. Understand and follow traffic signs

If you really know how to drive a car, you need to study traffic signs as a prerequisite for a Philippine driver's license. You can buy a driving guide from any major bookstore, or simply search the Internet for driving safety tips (like this one). It will help you have a more convenient ride and avoid accidents.

This tip will help you avoid tickets from traffic violations and accidents.

6. Avoid driving in bad weather

When there is a tropical storm, it is best to stay indoors. You are at high risk of encountering flooded areas if you continue, especially during a typhoon.

Sinking your vehicle in flood is definitely a big trouble for you, your vehicle, your passengers (if any), and things that you carry.

This tip will help you avoid problems with your health and damages to your vehicle and properties.

7. Wear your helmet when riding motorcycle

If you are really close to your destination (about 20 meters), you can easily drag your motorcycle without turning on the engine. In major roads and highways, traffic enforcers are authorized to penalize motorcycle drivers who are caught not wearing their helmets while driving.

This rule also applies to any passengers who may be riding the same motorcycle as you, but only the driver will be penalized.

Wearing a helmet while riding a motorcycle will help save your life. Most riders involved in motorcycle accidents are able to fully recover.

8. Buckle up

Fastening your seat belt when riding a car, regardless if you are a driver or passenger, reduces the risks of injury in the vehicle if it makes a strong collision with other vehicles or things of nature.

Do not think that you are careful enough for accidents to happen, because all accidents are unexpected and no one wants them.

A little effort in locking and unlocking your seat belt will help reduce injuries in case of accidents.

9. Do not open your car door to strangers

Do not open your any of your car doors to strangers for any reason, because that is an opening for them to commit crime.

Drivers allowing strangers to hitch a ride is a thing of a past. The vast number of public transportation vehicles allows for people in almost any part in the country to travel from one place to another, so there is really no need for anyone to ask for a free ride (travel fares cost as low as $0.20 per 2 miles).

Of course, you should follow security procedures (like opening your car's storage compartment) when entering private property (as with entering parking lots of malls, supermarkets and schools).

Many crimes involving vehicles are a result of unlocked or poorly protected doors.

10. Have a list of accessible hospitals and police stations

It is best to obtain contact numbers and addresses of hospitals and police stations near your destinations in the country. In case of emergency, there is very little time to find the nearest hospital or police station. Also, it is best to carry a phone (just do not use it while driving) and have a list of contacts of trusted people that may assist you in case of emergency.

In case of emergencies, every second is essential. Always be prepared.

One of the busiest places in the Philippines

11. Bring a map whenever possible

A city map is definitely a great help for drivers that need to know directions to their destinations, especially if they have no companion who is informed about streets in the country.

Make sure that you can read the map well though. Some travel guide books offer tips in reading city maps with ease.

Don't just bring a map, learn how to read it.

12. Be friendly

Being a good driver will positively affect how everyone around your vehicle treats you, including those bad guys that may be planning to do harm to you or your vehicle.

Remember that to be kind and generous does not necessarily mean that you should allow strangers to ride your vehicle, or open your car's door for them.

Friendly people are less prone to danger, and people will be more willing to help them in case the need arises.

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