Come the end of October, Filipinos across the country set aside a day or two to visit their departed loved ones. It’s a yearly exodus that finds cars and people from all walks of life drive for many hours and kilometers to reach their destinations, all in observance of All Saints’ Day.
Our local roads will be packed with cars, and expressways will have long lines at toll booths and exits, so it pays to be prepared. We’ve compiled a quick list of driving and safety tips for this occasion, hopefully helping you be safe and ready for any unforeseen circumstances.
1. Make sure your vehicle is good to go
Before setting off on any trip, it pays to check on the condition of your vehicle. Check things like tire condition, oil level, coolant, battery, and ensure that all your vehicle’s lights are functioning correctly. Headlights, tail lights, brake lights, and signal lights should be working properly, as you’ll be spending many hours on the road with other vehicles in different conditions. Your vehicle needs to be in a good enough state to make a journey with you and you passengers, and not endanger anyone else that you’ll be sharing the road with. If you can’t do minor repairs or fixes yourself, find a shop or mechanic that can do them for you before your planned trip.
2. Plan your route
Make sure your destination and how you reach it is fully laid out. Take note of gas stations and repair shops that may be of use on the way, in case of emergencies. Also take into consideration the influx of vehicles and make allowances for diversionary routes or maybe even being on the road at a different time. In any case, make use of Waze or any app that will help you as you drive, but keep your hands on the wheel and input all your driving info before setting off.
3. Save emergency numbers
List down all the emergency numbers you can, such as police, fire, and paramedic services. If your car has a 24/7 towing or breakdown plan, keep it handy, as well. This is a good time to go over all the resources and numbers you have at your disposal in case something happens before or when you reach your destination.
4. Expect traffic
You’ll find that everyone will be out on the roads for a few days, so expect a slow crawl and complete standstill in traffic due to volume. This is normal, and getting frustrated won’t help in any way. Maybe adjust to leave earlier or later on the day you have chosen to travel to account for the waves of vehicles, or even postpone the trip for one day. You’ll be surprised at how traffic thins out when everyone’s not rushing to head out first thing.
5. Keep your cool
Make sure you are hydrated and fed with frequent stops, and don’t forget the regular restroom breaks. If you do hit traffic, just go with the flow and be patient and courteous; we’re all trying to get somewhere, and making a big deal out of things won’t help the situation. There will be people who will counterflow, pass on the shoulder, won’t fall in line, and cut you off, but remain defensive and keep a level head. Also remember that more cars means more vehicles with varying types of drivers, so drive within your limits and follow traffic laws and regulations. There’s no need to be aggressive.