I totally find it rather unreal when people reminisce time past when traffic was a novelty. Some even post online photos of almost empty streets during rush hours or pedestrians leisurely crossing main streets with the ease of a snail. Of course those times in Manila were the sweetest. A bygone era when lives were paced with subtlety and the air was light and breezy. So unreal nowadays and dwelling upon these sweet memories will only stress a stressed up scenario to an uncomfortable next level. These days when EDSA is so cluttered with under and overways; sliced through by a cranky railway system and an unending widening , repair and what-have-yous ; there isn’t a ghost of a chance of an unclogged intersection or gaily moving smoothly until the next. It is now a natural phenomenon to be stuck right up and travel time is longer than Rapunzel’s hair. Other main thoroughfares are not to be left out with the EDSA confusion. Roxas Boulevard and all that leads there and from are most likely to be moderate to heavy to very heavy to parking lot exceeding almost 45 minutes at the most on a particular spot. It seems to be like forever but when it starts inching out to a rolling pace, everything is forgiven. Several measures are being considered to more or less soften the issue but from a distant view, it all boils down to the lack of discipline of most drivers while on the road. The lack of it so far is what is being pummeled down in media and online circuits. It is said that most of these creatures behind the wheel feel that they own the road and when they all converge at a certain stretch they try to outdo each other and get funneled into a situation when figuring a crossroad or intersection. This then affects the incoming flow and in the absence [or presence] of traffic aides/enforcers crochets itself into a chaotic knot. The noise that ensues and the nerves wracked in these situations are only quantified when an incidence of road rage is reported. This already now considered to be NORMAL. So what is there to do? Here are some tips to alleviate the stress when driving around Manila :
1. Before getting into your vehicle, pack a considerable amount of water & food.
2. Before starting the car, say a little prayer. Visualize a light traffic scene while doing so.
3. Pop in some real nice music ; music that makes you happy whatever it is.
4. Pool in as much people to ride with you. Driving alone is the bomb.
5. Be sure that you are familiar with 4 or more routes that you can take to your destination.
6. Make sure you vehicle is in good condition; tires and all. Be sure that your mirrors are clear.
7. Keep your eyes on the road. Put all thoughts on hold, especially those that are nasty ; nasty thoughts are irritants and in cases where you might be stalled for a while in traffic, you might vent them upon other drivers.
8. Be considerate. Always be the ‘gentleman’ type who won’t mind to let others pass with ease.
9. Spare your honking powers. Honk only when extremely necessary.
10. Be very observant with the route you are taking. Take note of signs that were not there the last time you drove through it.
11. Put all calls on hold. Never ever text or entertain call on mobile phone. BUT if stuck for a long time, at least advise your family or office of your situation through a very short call.
12. Anticipate actions by co-drivers. Acknowledge car signals verbally [to yourself].
13. SMILE to yourself and sing with your favorite song. Nod to fellow drivers if they look your way.
14. If you figure in an accident, do not panic. Follow protocol. Do not go on a blaming game.
15. After every pleasant trip, say another prayer and drink a cool glass of water.
DRIVE with your BEST SELF.