Most visitors when they try driving in the Philippines get road shock. For first timers they think it is just impossible and even a nightmare especially when they encounter the small and busy streets and weird driving habits, but if you get use to it you will have realized that it is not as bad as you think or it is not as bad as other third world country. It takes time to get used to and learn, but you will definitely learn in time.
One thing to remember though, when you are using a vehicle in this country, expect travel to be slow especially if you get into town and notice slow moving vehicles which often stops even in the middle of the road! There are jeepneys that often stop to take in passengers and when passengers get off too and not to forget the trikes which really makes driving very slow in the streets. By the way trikes for those who are not familiar with are a motorbike with a sidecar intended to take passengers on short distances only.
Another thing to remember when driving are the roads are no place for shy drivers. You have to be assertive especially when on a heavy traffic. Being assertive, but not aggressive is the right word. You have to protect your way and as the traffic progress you have to edge your way forward slowly or you will be left behind. Keep on moving along with cars until you are off the heavily traffic place.
Philippines roads by international standards are quite narrow and roads outside towns are two-lanes and two way roads and the opposite lanes are divided into two. One thing you will learn though, Filipino drivers often ignore these markings, and you will notice that a two-lane road will often have four lines of traffic trying to push their way.
Drive a Vehicle in the Provinces
You can see three kinds of roads in the Philippines – gravel road, asphalt and of course the concrete road. Concrete roads tend to have fewer potholes although there are some heavily use concrete road that is use with heavy trucks that have severe cracks on it or big holes. This can sometimes cause accidents for drivers who are caught by surprise. So if you are driving be alert always and watch closely.
Asphalt road on the other hand has a good foundation that offers a quite and smooth ride. Just be careful because flooding due to heavy rain can cause asphalt to break off or crack.
Another kind of road you might encounter when you drive is gravel road. There are two kinds of gravel roads – loose gravel and graded gravel. The latter kind is when the surface is worked a small gravel stones is pressed in the surfaced and hard packed under.
Loose gravel is usually used in mountain paths with surface containing rocks. This gravel is a combination of large stones. Unfortunately this gravel tends to collect at edge of the road and exposing rock out rocks. If you are driving a car in this kind of road there is a tendency that your car can get damaged since cars have only six inches ground clearance so that the lockout rock might damage your car underneath.
Dangers in the Road
There are always hazards or dangers so it is just appropriate that one should be careful and one should familiarize with the local road before heading out. Check out the following tips when driving in rural areas:
- During hot days especially in rural areas, the usual two lane roads becomes one. You will find that one lane is covered with corn or rice. They use it to dry their rice or corn, although it is strongly prohibited still you can find this in most rural areas so beware of this for you to avoid any accidents if you encounter one.
- When drive a vehicle in Barangays or small towns, be careful and always drive slowly. Filipinos especially children love to stay outside and play or even cook along the side of the street. What is even more irritating is when they close half of the lane of the road in the Barangay just for playing basketball. It can really be a nightmare to you especially if you are not used to this kind of setting.
You will realize that it is quite common in the rural areas to use their roads for crop drying, basketball court, playground for children that are very dangerous and even a covered court for party. All these things may be too unbelievable for some, but when you get on the way and reach these areas, you will learn the truth and probably the best thing to handle this is just to smile at people and just ignore this kind of irritation. The people do know that a vehicle must get through so that a way will always be made for you to get through even though you have to wait a few minutes for it.
Probably the most hated scene for drivers and take note even for Filipino drivers is sharing the streets with the local tricycles. This is a common transport use in the rural areas. These transports are very useful yet it can disrupt traffic flow especially in the city. Keep in mind too that most of this trike drivers does not follow traffic laws and rules so be careful if you are driving side by side with one.
Driving in the Road at Night
Driving at night in Philippine provinces can be dangerous since most of the areas outside the cities have no lights at the side of the roads. This can be very dangerous for the drivers and can cause accidents too. To be safe better drive when there is still light and you can still clearly see the road and what is in it.
Driving during Rainy Season
Driving during the rainy season can be hazardous since roods can get flooded sometimes and there are even instances where mud sections you can find so that if you find one try to maneuver in the shallowest part to avoid getting stuck. Avoid getting stuck because it is quite hard to find help. When you are on the way it is good if you come prepared and always bring with you a good heavy-duty rope so that if you do get stuck, a passing vehicle or even a local farmer with his Carabao can help you pull out your vehicle.
Driving in Mountainous Area
When driving in mountain areas or evening rural areas, maintain a speed to which you can stop easily and quickly. You do not know what you encounter in the way so maintain a pace where you can easily control your vehicle if in case you encounter something like a mud slide or a rock or even an animal that suddenly crosses the way.
Driving there can be wearisome at first, but when you get use to it you realized you will come to enjoy it. But, always be prepared and always drive defensively. Do not be too loose when you drive instead always expect the unexpected when it comes to Philippine driving.
Requirements to get a Drivers License
For you to be able to drive legally in the roads in the Philippines you need to have a drivers license in the Philippines. There are three types of driers license namely – Professional Driver’s License, Non-Professional Driver’s License and Student Permit.
Minimum age is sixteen years old and they have to have a student permit to drive plus they have to be accompanied by a person who has professional Driver’s License. Non-Professional License is issued to person of seventeen years old and Professional license is for eighteen years old and above.
Philippine Driver’s License can be used in other country like Spain under the agreement signed by the Filipino and Spanish government last April 16, 2010. Foreign nationals who have a valid driver’s license can use it in the Philippines for duration of three months from the date of arrival. If one prefers to convert there foreign driver’s license to a Philippines driver’s license, they can without taking an exam if the license is still valid if not then applicant is subject to written and practical exams.
[amzn_multi_product_inline keyword=’living in Philippines’ count=’5′ page=’1′ sort=’default’ category=’Books’]