This year has taken traffic in Manila to a whole new level. Massive, wide-reaching traffic occurs daily; but with Christmas coming up, can it possibly get any worse than this? The following practical tips might not be the perfect solutions but these can definitely get you through the holiday holdups:
Plan ahead. Way ahead. Plan your journey before setting off and allow yourself extra time. Be prepared for bad weather conditions by checking weather reports, weather apps, or by simply peeking outside. If you have a task-filled day ahead of you, organize your schedule to keep from hopping back and forth between destinations.
Speeding doesn’t get you there faster. Think about it: every day is a borderline standstill. Rushing around and squeezing your car into every possible opening along with everyone else will only contribute more to the traffic and increase the risk of accidents.
Find Waze. The mobile navigation app Waze alerts you where and how heavy traffic is, any accidents or road works on the way to your destination (provided that you use its features to report said irregularities, but that’s part of the fun), and is able to quickly calculate a new route. However, it is completely reliant on Internet access. Waze is free and available on both iOS and Android.
Work from home. If you can. You may actually accomplish more if you work from home rather than wasting precious hours – that could have been spent productively on work and family – in traffic.
Think n’ Drive. It’s a season for festive folly and merriment, and there are more ways to celebrate than giving gifts and exchanging cards. There’s bound to be a lot of partying especially for the multitudinous 20-somethings of this century. Please don’t drink and drive. Just don’t.
Prepare your car. Safety first: Keep your windows rolled up and doors locked at all times. Christmas means longer stints behind the wheel, and idling in traffic puts your engine under heavy load. Check your car’s water levels, battery charge, and tires so you don’t risk breakdowns.
Prepare yourself. Keep your seatbelt fastened. Always park in a well-lit area, preferably near a security guard. Always keep your valuables hidden: in the trunk, the center console, glove compartment, or under the seats. Better yet, leave them at home. Never leave them in plain sight. This gives thieves reasons to break into your car.
Patience. Traffic tends to make people irritable. After a while, some tend to drive aggressively. Be careful. It might be of use to install a dash camera to “record” your trips. What you capture could save you.
As a little bonus precaution, consider the option of commuting, or hitching rides with neighbors, family, co-workers, or even taking an Uber. After all, ‘tis the season for sharing! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!