One of the things I have found in the Philippines that amazes me, is the driving. I have never experienced anything like the driving and the drivers here. I have driven in South Korea, France, Germany, been in traffic in Lima, Peru (that was a night mare in it's self), but nothing like here in manila.
There are so many issues with not only the drivers, also with the traffic enforcers, (traffic cops so to speak). Just the volume of traffic is a nightmare from cars, buses, taxi, jeepneys, to trikes there are so many vehicles on the roads.
My take on the problems, beside the volume, the traffic lay out of EDSA in Manila. This main roadway that almost circles Manila is a four lane highway for private vehicles, and 2 lanes used for buses, and taxis. There are no traffic lights on EDSA, but there are U-turn locations. What is a U-turn location? It is just that, instead of making a left hand turn, you can only make a U-turn. This is at the far left hand lane, and is usually 1 or 2 lanes. But the drivers, car, taxis, buses, most of the time use all 4 lanes in order to set them selves up to make the U-turn.
Look at it like this, your traveling on a 4 lane highway in your city, the traffic in both directions is backed up, only moving about 15 to 20 miles per hour. In your side of the highway, everyone wants to make the U-turn, so everyone uses all 4 lanes to turn, if your behind them and want to go straight, your stuck, you have to wait. Some drivers will cut you off, just to get in front of you, they will change lanes and force you over, once the turn is made, the on coming traffic has to move, or stop so the U-turners can make their turn, if not, they will just cut you off.
Now we move on, just driving on EDSA straight during rush hour, (which some days is all day) can be a challenge, once again the people are in a hurry, they will cut you off, just to get in front of you, even if there is only a few inches between you and the car in front of you, or they will just start to change lanes, you can either hold your ground, stop to let them in, or move over, causing someone else to do what your doing.
Taxis and buses are the worst, I think most of them may not have a drivers license. They will cut into your lane without looking to their left, it is like their heads are fixed on the right side of their vehicles. Horns are a must, you have to get their attention, so they will look right, so you don't hit them, and they don't hit you.
Now traffic enforcers, these are men and women, who enforce the traffic law, and direct traffic. Now there are traffic light on secondary roads, along with 2 to 4 traffic enforcers directing traffic. You may ask why do you need traffic enforcers at a traffic light? My question as well, my only answer is they need jobs. Do they do a good job, not at all. The don't know how to direct traffic, when cars are directed to go east to west, and hold cars north to south, they still will allow cars to make a turn into the east, west traffic causing the traffic to stop to make way. And with 2 to 4 traffic enforcer, no one is directing the traffic the same direction, It is like watching monkeys in a traffic jam trying to keep cars moving in all directions.
Most of the traffic enforcer don't know the traffic laws, if they do make you pull over for a infraction, chances are you will get a ticket of something other then the law your broke. Case in point, my wife turned right on a red light, at this intersection you are not allowed to do this. We were pulled over by 2 traffic enforcers, who told her what she did wrong, and then started to write a ticket for wreckless driving. She argued the point, but to no avail, in the end they took a P200.00 bribe, and we were on our way. As they were talking, I could see there was nothing written on the ticket, it was blank, so these traffic enforcer were only wanting a bribe, their are not there to enforce the laws, they are there to pad their pockets.
Can't forget the real cops, though I don't know if they enforce the traffic laws, I would hope so. They don't seem interested in enforcing any laws to do with traffic, as they are breaking the laws as well. Running traffic lights, cutting lanes, swerving (their law-not for sure what this law is), splitting lanes on motorcycles, turning on their emergency lights to get though traffic faster.
Onto the motorcycles, there riders are like a cancer, they spread everywhere. The don't follow the traffic laws most all the time, they drive between lanes, between vehicles, they always want to be upfront at a traffic light. Yep they weave in and out of traffic, I am very surprised there are not more motorcycle involved in auto accidents. Most people do not like the motorcycles, but hell I can't really say too much good about the other drivers, at least the motorcycles are moving forward, though in a very dangerous manner.
Busses and taxis, these are the worst of the worst, they will in a blink of an eyes, cut into your lanes, without warning, your defense is your horn to wake them up, stopping or moving over. They have no respect for you, your vehicle nor anyones safety. It si all about getting the passenges in, and to the next drop off point.
There was a study here in Manila on the condition of EDSA and buses, the study reports that EDSA could safely handle 1300 buses, but there are 2300 buses. I could not tell you how many taxis are on EDSA, one good thing, Jeepneys are not allowed on EDSA, but there are every where on the secondary street, they too are like a cancer, they just don't have a clue as how to drive in a respectful manner, nor a safe manner.
So if you ever come to Manila, or the Philippines, be aware it is drive at your own risk, as the people here don't care about your safety, nor their.
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