Driving in the Philippines can be tough; bad drivers, challenging road conditions, and inconsistent signs and markings all play a factor. Driving a motor vehicle isn’t just about getting from point A to point B with the use of the controls, it takes an understanding of different symbols, signs, and markings to properly and courteously navigate our roadways.
Here, we break down the most common signs you’ll see on the road, but with a twist. Of course, we explain the proper meaning and usage of the traffic signs, but here, we also share the most common mistakes drivers commit upon seeing these signs.
Wrong: Most vehicles ignore this sign or treat it as nice road decor, rolling on through without even preparing to stop. Or they do stop, and decide to cut off traffic anyway, or, go completely out of turn. All in an effort to save 5 seconds.
Right: Upon seeing this sign, your vehicle must come to a complete pause before the stop line, giving way to traffic or pedestrians that have the right of way. In the case of an intersection with stop signs for traffic coming in different directions, whoever stops first gets to go first; this keeps things moving and creates a safe traversal for vehicles.
Wrong: If I’m going fast enough, everybody else has to stop. That’s the common interpretation of this sign on our roads. Or if my vehicle is big or expensive enough, others will have to stop for me. Misplaced entitlement can lead to accidents!
Right: Yield is also known as the give way sign. So, upon seeing this sign, you must give way to traffic that has the right of way. Depending on the situation, a full stop is not necessary, with importance being placed on letting traffic pass and you pulling out safely.
Wrong: Despite the use of big text, a clear symbol, and the assumption that we can all read, many vehicles ignore this basic regulatory sign. Drivers usually make these wrong maneuvers in the dead of night when no one is there to enforce the law, or when there’s no one to honk at them.
Right: This sign is pretty self-explanatory. Traffic must not make any turns in the specified direction. Doing so is a violation, and will get you a ticket and a long conversation with a traffic enforcer.
Wrong: For the most part, vehicles usually slow down, but still don’t give way to children. Worse, they honk as they fly by at unsafe speeds, often wanting to overtake everyone else following the law.
Right: This sign means that the area you are driving into has a school in the vicinity, and is guaranteed to have children. Slow down and be aware of pedestrians crossing. Always give way to pedestrians, and follow the crossing guard if one is present.
Wrong: Despite their proliferation around our country, many people still don’t get in the proper lanes or read these signs at all, causing unnecessary traffic and last minute lane changes. Just look up!
Right: Usually painted green with a town or city in the direction of the accompanying arrow, this this road sign gives drivers an idea of the direction they’re going, with a general idea of the distance to the next location or next junction.
Wrong: “If I leave my hazard lights on, I can park for five minutes”, that’s how this sign is treated. It doesn’t matter if I block traffic, as long as I can get my soda or coffee ASAP. Worse, cars will park once they see a single violator getting away with it. Monkey see, monkey do!
Right: In the absence of any additional information (parking hours, rates, etc), this sign means that there is absolutely no parking on this side of the road at all ALL times.