Getting Prepared For The Philippines > Driving and Vehicles in RP

Observation While Driving in the Philippines

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Now having been driving here for just over one year I have observed the following.

1. It seems Filipinos have no idea of the width, length or height of their vehicle

2.  Most have to come almost to a stop to make a turn and will make a move to the opposite direction of their turn prior to turning and slowly proceed with the turn.

3.  Do not use the right lane to make a right turn if space is available.

4.  When passing they do not really accelerate to get past the vehicle they are passing.

5.  If there are designated turn lanes at an intersection they get in the turn lane even if they are going straight or try to make a turn from the non turn lanes.

While there are many other things while driving these are a few I see all the time.


One of the very few things that I dislike about the Philippines.  A lot of the drivers.  Mainly jeep drivers.  3/4 of them need to have their driver's license yanked.  Too many do not know what it means to stay in your own lane and of course using two lanes when picking up or dropping off passengers.  With pedestrians, I can not believe how many feel that even if there is a cross walk, they have the right of way under all circumstances.  They will come out of no where at the last fraction of a second and do it from a blind spot from on the other side of the windshield post and cross in front of you as you are almost on top of them.  They think putting up their hand causes traffic to automatically stop.  I can see where someone who is susceptible to road rage would not last here before something detrimental would happen to them.

I've been in two "fender bender" accidents since i've been here this time around.

One was when a man went into the right hand turn lane to get around a large box truck that was trying to go either straight or left while trying to cross the busy main road that i was on.  I was literally at the front left edge of the truck when the idiot came out at full speed.  Didn't even slow down to look to see who was coming from the massive blind spot that existed the complete box truck.  Seriously...who drives that stupid.  I slammed the brakes and caught his back wheel part because everyone on the sidewalk started yelling at him and he slammed his brakes also. 

Tina was behind me on the bike.  She was in the first trimester for our son.  I came unglued on that driver.  Asking what the f*** he was thinking driving right into that intersection with no way of knowing what he was doing and that my wife was pregnant.  He kept saying sorry while some sidewalk people pulled his bike off the road(the chain was knocked off) and also moved my bike over. 

The red cross was there in minutes and there was a drug store on the corner.  But man, that guy ran as fast as he can as every witness pinned the blame on him when the police finally showed up.  The red cross beat the police big time to the scene.  A big joke, but common in the Phils for how long it take the police to show up.  It may have helped me with the witnesses as Tina was behind me and it wasn't just me.

The 2nd accident was due to exactly what you were saying about going wide one way before making a turn the other way.  But one extra thing happened in my accident.  The dude was in front of me with either a gf or wife on back.  He actually had on his right turn blinker...slowed down and went in to right lane.  So I stayed in left lane and kept same speed, then he turned hard left right in front of me.  His girl started yelling at him while some local on the corner made mention his right turn signal was on and he only yelled a few words at me before he realized both his girl and the witness were going on him.  He shut up and took off.  Didn't say a thing to me and just ran. 

Truth is I am fine he ran as I have seen and heard horror stories about pinoy at fault but blame the foreigner stuff.  But both these accidents did little to my bike.  Scuffed up the front fender is about all they really did and when the bikes when down on side broke a mirror that is an easy and cheap fix at the honda dealer. 

So the crazy turn that start with going the wrong way and who complete lack of reality when it comes to blindspots to the average pinoy on the street caused both my accidents.  Like you mentioned, 2 of the worse things you see on the roads in the Philippines.

By far the worst, most unskilled, and inconsiderate drivers I have encountered on this planet, and it is not even close.   I have driven everyday for the last 5 years, and without fail, WTF and/or What an asshole, comes out of my mouth.   
Just watching them back up makes me feel like I could make millions of pesos teaching the local population how to properly back up (and do it in less than 9 minutes). 
I still chuckle each time I see somebody back up and put on their emergency flashers

I do not drive when we are in the Philippines but I have had two issues walking, first one was I made it to the center island only to have car rub its wheel against the center island so he could hit me with his mirror, I am not sure if it was on purpose or he just could not drive, then two was when my wife and I crossed Escario Street in Cebu City with a green light only to make it to the sidewalk and have a motorcycle on the sidewalk going the wrong way almost run me over because I was never expecting any traffic to be going in that direction, lesson learned and now I look both ways even on the sidewalk.

The drivers in Cebu City are terrible, when we take taxis they do not stop for stop signs and sometimes not for lights either, I always joke that most laws in Cebu are only a suggestion, as without many traffic enforcers or police around, no one seems to obey them.

Now in Cagayan de Oro, I have never had a problem, I can even walk out in the street and people will stop to let me cross, I guess it is that there are a lot less white guys walking around, so they probably do not want to run me over because it might cost them a lot of money but in Cebu there are many westerners, so I am just one of many but I can still point at drivers and usually get them to stop when I cross the street and have the light on my side.

In Manila the last time I was there walking around near the embassy, no one stopped for traffic lights so getting across the street meant me having to dare the drivers to hit me by pointing my finger at the driver and glaring at them as I crossed.


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