Some Filipinos are perceived as poor drivers, not due to ignorance, but rather because of disorderly and discourteous behavior. It may be common to see drivers running red lights and parking in prohibited areas, and these bad driving habits, though generally regulated by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), are believed to run deep, stemming from the indifference rooted in a morally corrupt societal fabric. This negative driving behavior reflects an even broader cultural disposition toward rudeness and defiance, all of which seem to be traits that extend beyond the act of driving itself.
Regardless of the reason for such bad driving habits, Filipino drivers can be a challenge to drive alongside with. The roads are no better. When you go for a drive, it’s easy to witness a cacophony of questionable driving habits, most of which even contribute to the already bad traffic woes. In this article, let’s take a look at some of the most common driving habits that Filipinos need to unlearn for a safer and smoother driving experience.
15 Bad Driving Habits of Filipino Drivers
Maybe it’s the prevailing perception among Filipinos that rules are not fixed and do not necessarily apply to them or the famed Filipino improvisational spirit, or maybe even the confidence of being in their home turf, but many Filipinos drivers aren’t very keen on following the rules of the road. In fact, some may even see this as a sense of entitlement ingrained in the culture, allowing them to believe that even traffic rules can be bent or ignored without consequences. Whatever the reason, many Filipino drivers have an ingrained propensity for rule-breaking and some other bad driving habits, which, if pointed out, may help them realize and unlearn.
Getting more Filipinos to quit their bad driving habits is something that the government should incest on, and for good reasons. First, adopting safer driving practices enhances overall road safety, reducing the risk of accidents and injuries. Improved driving behavior contributes to a smoother traffic flow, minimizing congestion and frustration among drivers. It is also essential for fostering a more positive driving culture. Respect for traffic rules and consideration for fellow road users create a harmonious environment, promoting a sense of shared responsibility for everyone’s safety.
Additionally, breaking away from negative habits contributes to a better public image, both domestically and internationally, reflecting positively on the nation as a whole. Furthermore, adherence to traffic regulations leads to a more efficient transportation system, benefiting everyone on the road, ultimately creating a safer, more organized, and respectful driving environment for all.
Here’s a list of some of the most common bad driving habits that earned the Filipino drivers their notoriety on the streets.
Disregard for Traffic Signs (DTS) and Rules
One of the glaring issues on Philippine roads is the pervasive disregard for traffic signs (DTS) and rules. Running red lights, ignoring stop signs, and failing to yield contribute to a chaotic traffic flow. Addressing this issue requires a collective effort to promote a culture of adherence to traffic regulations.
Overtaking, when done recklessly, is a major contributor to road accidents. Filipinos often exhibit impatience when stuck behind slower vehicles, leading to dangerous overtaking maneuvers. Encouraging patience and responsible overtaking can significantly reduce the risk of collisions.
Inadequate Use of Signal Lights
Signal lights seem to be an underrated feature in Filipino driving culture. Many drivers fail to use them, making it challenging for others to anticipate their moves. Promoting the consistent and correct use of signal lights is crucial for fostering safer road communication.
Failure to Give Way to Pedestrians
Pedestrian crosswalks are often treated as optional by some Filipino drivers. This neglect places pedestrians at risk and hampers the flow of traffic. Encouraging drivers to yield to pedestrians not only ensures safety but also contributes to a more efficient road system.
Overdependence on Horns
The ubiquitous honking of horns has become a signature sound on Philippine roads. However, the excessive use of horns, especially in heavy traffic, adds to the noise pollution and creates a stressful driving environment. For some reason, Filipino drivers like blowing their horns way too often, it’s practically ingrained in the Filipino road culture. In some cases, some drivers even have the nerve to unnecessarily use their horns in hospital and church areas. Encouraging the judicious use of horns can lead to a more peaceful and considerate driving atmosphere.
Lack of Lane Discipline
Maintaining lane discipline is a challenge on Philippine roads, with vehicles often straddling multiple lanes. Filipinos like to change lanes too often, resulting in lack of order on the roads and leading to congestion and frustration among drivers. Promoting a more disciplined approach to lane usage can ease traffic flow and enhance overall road safety.
Improper Parking Practices
Parking can be a nightmare in busy urban areas due to improper and illegal parking practices. Sidewalks, no-parking zones, and even major thoroughfares become makeshift parking spaces. Encouraging responsible parking and strict enforcement of parking regulations are essential steps to alleviate this issue. It also includes the use of hazard lights for parking in various locations, particularly when the driver awaits a passenger engaged in a brief activity, such as using an ATM. This is bad driving behavior and it can pose an inconvenience for fellow motorists as it often involves blocking one lane.
Neglect of Turn Signals
The use of turn signals is a simple yet crucial aspect of safe driving. Unfortunately, many Filipino drivers neglect this basic courtesy, leaving others to guess their intentions. Emphasizing the importance of using turn signals can significantly reduce confusion and enhance road safety.
The rise of mobile devices has brought with it a surge in distracted driving incidents. Texting, calling, and even browsing while driving pose serious risks to road safety. Promoting awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and advocating for hands-free technology can mitigate these risks. When behind the wheel, a driver’s primary responsibility is to concentrate on the road. This is particularly detailed in the Anti-Distracted Driving Law as any distractions on the road directly impacts the safety of passengers, fellow road users, and pedestrians, potentially determining life or death outcomes.
Lack of Respect for Emergency Vehicles
Emergency vehicles frequently face challenges navigating through traffic, encountering a lack of consideration from other drivers. Raising awareness about the significance of yielding to ambulances, fire trucks, and police vehicles can play a crucial role in preserving lives during urgent situations. Unfortunately, some Filipino drivers not only not yield to emergency vehicles, some also sees them as opportunities to sneak through tight patches.
Tailgating or Mid-lane Hogging
Whether perceived as a defensive driving strategy or sheer impoliteness, tailgating or hogging the mid-lane tends to irk many drivers. Even when a vehicle signals appropriately for a lane change, the request is often disregarded. In essence, a notable number of Filipinos appear to lack awareness of road courtesy. In the provinces, left-lane hogging is also a thing.
Not using Helmets, Seatbelts, and Child Restraint System (CRS)
Non-compliance with dress codes and safety measures such as helmets, seatbelts, and child restraint systems (CRS) is common among Filipino car owners. Not only does it reflect a concerning and prevalent bad habit, but some people even believe that these safety measures are optional or unnecessary, thanks to the absence of stringent penalties or consistent enforcement by authorities. Unfortunately, this particular bad driving habit can bring a high risk of injury or fatality in the event of an accident or a collision. It is a solid proof that there is a lack of strict enforcement, cultural attitudes, and a general disregard for the importance of safety precautions on the road.
Using Commemorative/Privilege Plates
Utilizing commemorative or privilege plates, whether displaying titles like Attorney, PNP Class of ’89, or indicating affiliation with a government agency, serves a straightforward purpose – to dissuade traffic personnel from issuing citations for road violations. The irksome aspect of this practice lies in the blatant “I am exempt from traffic law” attitude it conveys, which can be perceived as an in-your-face display of entitlement.
Driving in a “Gangsta Lean”
Driving with fully extended arms and a reclined seat, often referred to as the “gangsta lean,” is strongly discouraged in any driving scenario. This posture hampers the driver’s ability to react quickly and steer away from potential collisions due to its excessively relaxed nature.
The recommended driving position entails sitting up straight in the driver’s seat with slightly bent arms. Achieving the correct distance to the steering wheel involves placing wrists at the 12 o’clock side of the wheel and attempting to move it at the 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock positions. If you feel like it takes excessive effort to steer, adjust the seat or steering wheel distance accordingly to ensure optimal control and responsiveness.
Using Hazard Lights during Heavy Rain
Using hazard lights during heavy rain is a commonly observed yet a bad, unofficial practice, primarily on expressways but increasingly prevalent in urban settings. Sure, turning on the hazard lights in torrential downpours enhances visibility and signals drivers behind to reduce speed. However, it’s crucial to note that drivers can inherently sense the challenging conditions without the aid of hazard lights. Plus, it communicates to other motorists that you are in distress and need to stop. Instead, the recommended approach is to use headlights to improve visibility without sending a distress signal.
Filipinos are notorious for their bad driving habits and inherent lack of discipline and consideration for others on the road. Whether it is deliberate or a deeply-rooted sense of entitlement and indifference, these ingrained driving habits require a concerted effort from both authorities and the driving community to address. We can’t always tolerate bad driving habits. After all, cultivating a culture of responsibility, patience, and adherence to traffic rules is paramount for fostering safer and more efficient roads in the Philippines. By unlearning these bad driving habits, Filipinos can contribute to creating a road environment that prioritizes safety, courtesy, and respect for all users.