Driving in Bacolod

12:10 AM

Yes! You need "Balls."

Does anybody still heed the traffic lights? There is this joke about the traffic light. “Here in Bacolod, when the traffic light is green, it means GO. If red, it means STOP. If orange, it means GO FASTER. Unfortunately, some people take this seriously with the aim of beating the red light. 

Intersections here remind us of Vin Diesel’s Fast and Furious line, “I live my life a quarter mile at a time.”

If everyone else is doing it, why not? WRONG! What about those who choose to obey the traffic rules. They get stuck and it is very, very, very annoying. One solid example is the Rizal St and Lacson St Intersection (you know that place near Business Inn, former location BIR…). At that time we were on our way to SM City Bacolod. 

It was already a green light, for the motorists traveling along Rizal Road towards the Bacolod Public Plaza, but they are stuck at the intersection (as the timer counts down) because the stubborn drivers of Bata-Libertad Jeepneys braved to take the left turn despite the red light.  

Streets of Bacolod City
Jeepneys drivers still taking a right turn despite the red light at the Rizal-Bata Intersection

By the time the intersection was clear, there was only 10 seconds left for the other lane to cross. The driver up ahead also had the same mentality and went for it and the cycle went on and on. It took a while before we finally got through.

Streets of Bacolod City
And here’s more. Against the flow of traffic, there is this one other driver who inch-by-inch tried to cross (No, he was not turning right! He just wanted to squeeze through the intersecting lane.). There are other intersections here with the same situation. 


Moving on, a few years ago a certain British expat by the name Stephen Bentley published an e-book via Amazon Kindle titled "How to Drive Like an Idiot in Bacolod. He detailed all his negative experiences on the road on that book and said that it covers 98% of the Philippines, given that he has lived in places such as Davao, Manila, CDO and so on.
 
I thought he was being exaggerated and very OA and I disagree with some of the things that he said. Take not that I am not advocating his book, but, but, but myself as a Bacoleño, I can say he was not being entirely absurd.

Of course don't take him literally and drive around like an idiot...

Streets of Bacolod CityThere are indeed a few things that people should know about driving in this city. Here is another picture taken somewhere in "shopping" area. The picture shows that there is a slight traffic congestion and the driver with the biggest guts will get to pass through first.

There are times when you simply just have suck it up and just inch your way through traffic. So, if you are driving a vehicle with manual transmission, prepare to experience sore feet and or cramps by the end of the day. Good for you if your car is "matic." 

Streets of Bacolod City
At around the same time this photo was taken, the scary part was on the other side. With two lanes already congested, the driver of the taxi was trying to pass through the far right, but before he could do so, the driver of the jeepney came out of nowhere and hurriedly drifted to the right-most lane



So friends, always be careful...
 
Would you still dare to drive? Yes, because you just have to…

Eyes on the road…and your mirrors, too

Never let your guard down. Always be ready to hit the brakes. Unfortunately, no matter how careful you are if you don’t hit another vehicle, there is a big chance that it is your car that gets hit.

Months ago, we were driving down a moderately busy street when all of a sudden the  driver of a motorcycle stopped a few seconds ahead of us. Luckily, my husband was able to stop the car in the nick of time. However, a girl on a motorcycle was not able to hit the brakes soon enough and collided with our rear bumper. She was not harmed physically but she gave our car an awful dent.   

Take note: she had the chance to stop because she was at least 3 seconds behind us, it’s just that she was not really paying attention. We saw her on the mirror just before she bumped into the back of our car.
She did not have a driver’s license nor did her motorcycle have registration papers or insurance. Sigh! I was too kind I just took her number and took her word that she will shoulder the damages. She was spared of the fines she would be paying had we called a BTAO officer and she low-balled the repair of our car. Sigh!
Lesson learned! Make sure you have complete papers…license and registration all that and have insurance. Also, please for your own safety don’t drive just yet if you’re driving skills are not so good. And please don't let drivers like that get away with it--our mistake.

It might be harsh but looking back, they need to see why they really NEED to be super careful--OMG don't be tangegot! Looking back, we should have reported her to the authorities, but that is now "spilled milk."

Those are just two of many things that can tick off drivers, especially those who would rather obey traffic rules or those who know how to give other drivers consideration. Sad to say, these things happen every day and most people would just shrug it off and go on with their lives.

Other things you need to be aware of

These are other things that you need to be aware of while on the road. Take these points as a reminder. It seems that it has already become a way of life, there is nothing you can do and you can't change it overnight. So, don’t stress over it. For the safety of everyone, awareness is important.
  • Be careful when you turn right because even if the sign says "no stopping," PUVs, buses and other vehicles will still stop if no one is watching.
Streets of Bacolod City
jeepney driver waits for passengers by the side of the road where it says "No Stopping"

  • Please, if you are not going to take the right turn don’t block the right lane.

Streets of Bacolod City

  •  Be wary of jeepney drivers who pass you (overtake) out of nowhere only to stop a few meters ahead at the sight of a prospect passenger. 
Streets of Bacolod City
A jeep stopping in the middle of the road to drop off a passenger

  • Don’t use high-beam unless really necessary, it hurts the eyes of other drivers besides the fact that it is annoying.
  •     And if you know how to drive, also know how to park your car.Some drivers have no qualms about parking their cars in the middle of the road. Haaaays.

Streets of Bacolod City

  • Be careful when you pull over, always look at your rear and mirror and don’t hit the brakes abruptly especially when someone is tailgating.

I am not an expert driver but I am a considerate and careful driver. Not to mention, I feel embarrassed if I, in anyway, cause delay to other motorists.

Did I miss anything? Let me know on the comments below or send me an email.

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