Friday, March 6, 2015

Driving in Manila for Foreigners - Tip #6: Manila drivers drive with the front of their car.

When the average driver anywhere else in the world decides to change lanes, he/she usually will check the sideview mirror or take a peek over their shoulder at the lane next to them to make sure the lane is clear enough for their whole car to fit before merging over to the next lane. Well, that is NOT how people drive in Manila. Drivers here drive with the front half or even front quarter of their car...pretty much from the driver forward. What do I mean by this? Well, when someone wants to change lanes here, they won't check to see if there's enough space for their whole car. They'll instead wedge the front quarter of their car into the other lane, forcing the car in that lane to slow or stop so they can then complete their lane change.

Remember what I said previously about making your own right of way? This is that concept at work. It pretty much works like this...once they get that front quarter of their car in, they've got it. They've MADE the right of way theirs, and it's expected that the other cars will heed this and let them in. Not doing so will likely result in a collision.

So, if you're driving around Manila, keep this in mind. When someone uses this tactic and bullies his way into your lane, don't get mad. Getting mad will just increase your blood pressure, give you gray hairs, and possibly shorten your life expectancy. Remember, that's just how people here drive. Yield and let them in. But revel in the fact that you can use this same tactic to your advantage as well. You can use this to MAKE your right of way just like everyone else does. If you employ it, and employ it well, it definitely will help in getting you around Manila "successfully".