Friday, March 2, 2007

Driving In Metro Manila, Part 1

Statistics show that cardiac arrest is one of the leading causes of death in the Philippines. However, statistics failed to show that the leading cause of cardiac arrest is stress, and the leading cause of stress is driving in Metro Manila. Hence, by transitivity, the leading cause of death in the Philippines is driving in Metro Manila.

Of course, there's a flaw in the logic. There are other leading causes of death, like singing "My Way", or other causes of stress, like listening to someone sing "My Way". However, in my experience, I believe my logic is correct.

I am often angry getting home. That seven-kilometer drive is hell for me. It seems people just want to get home so fast they they fail to realize driving so recklessly will take them home longer. And the seconds they save weaving in and out of traffic will turn into hours of waiting once they have an accident. Buti kung sila lang ang mapeperwisyo; damay pati iba.

Only in the Philippines will you see a three-lane road turn into seven lanes. To think there are now more SUVs on the road than Beetles. These big cars will just cut into my lane, not fearing that their F-1 Ford will wreck my 1990 Toyota Corolla. Palibhasa comprehensive sila, samantalang TPL lang ako. 'Di ba nila naisip puwede silang matetano sa sasakyan ko? And the price of my car will not even pay for the damage in case I scratch them.

It is the rich, the government officials, and the expats that drive so wildly. Is this some kind of a symptom, that because of their status they believe they own the country? And that "owning the roads" is just a manifestation of this belief?

Then, there are women drivers. No, I won't generalize that all women drive badly. There are just a few women drivers, so that, percent-wise, we seem to think that all should not be given the license to drive. Compare that to jeepney or bus drivers. Because these PI, I mean, PU drivers are so many we don't believe that all jeepney and bus drivers are bad ones. Almost all, but not all.

But, percent-wise, I think the one with the highest percentage of bad drivers compared to the total are those driving government-accredited tow trucks. They are always on the look-out for stalled and illegally parked cars, and fail to see the traffic signs. Perhaps, just like IBM salespeople, AMWAY distributors, or MMDA traffic aides, they, too, have their quotas to fulfill.

I am trying to be proactive with the situation. Listening to Francis Kong on 98.7 DZFE, The Master's Touch, is always enlightening. Popping audiobooks by John Maxwell in my casette player is not only entertaining but educational, as well. Giving way to those cutting my lane makes me more relaxed. However, when doing so, I cannot hear my radio because of the horns blaring from the car behind me. Malas niya, ako ang nasa harapan niya. I also plan to stock up a lot of books by Alex Lacson, "12 Little Things Every Filipino Can Do To Help Our Country", and distribute them along the road.

Driving in Metro Manila need not be stressful. However slow the flow of traffic is, one can get home in one piece, if not in one sane mind, if we just all follow the traffic rules. And if everybody does so, traffic will not really be slow after all.