For two decades and running, the city of Baguio remains as the leading destination for road trippers during summer, at least in the Philippine main island of Luzon, based on roadside assistance figures of a top vehicle manufacturer.
Data from the Toyota Motorist Assistance Program also indicate that fading/overheating of brakes, and the wear and tear of the clutch, are the top vehicle problems motorists encounter and ask assistance for during these trips.
Toyota’s roadside assistance program has been providing free troubleshooting services for motorists for 22 years, regardless of brand and model, at strategic sites in Luzon at the peak of the summer season (usually during Holy Week).
Toyota provided Inquirer Motoring a chart showing the number of units serviced per site every year starting 2006. After Baguio, the next most popular destinations are La Union and Tagaytay. The results are based solely on surveys done on motorists asking for roadside assistance.
In 2012, Baguio, La Union, Narvacan, Ilocos Sur and Tagaytay were the top four frequented service sites. These were followed by Halang in Calamba, Urdaneta in Pangasinan, Naga City, Camarines Sur and Calauag, Quezon.
Data showed that overheating problems frequently occurred in older models. Other problems were reported, such as those involving starters, alternators, batteries, belts, and loss of power.
Not all motorists who had asked for Toyota’s roadside assistance were encountering problems at the time. Toyota Motor Philippines’ customer service operations department says that its team had also seen customers who have availed of the services even if they haven’t encountered any problems. As their normal practice, before proceeding on their trips, they had their cars undergo a “safety checkup.”
Sixty-five percent of motorists who requested for assis tance at the Toyota Motorist Assistance sites in 2012 were driving Toyota brands, followed by Mitsubishi (9 percent), Nissan, Hyundai, Isuzu (four percent each), and Honda (3 percent).
This year, motorists on the road from Maundy Thursday to Easter Sunday (March 28 to 31) can ask for roadside assistance from Toyota service teams in eight major destinations across Luzon: Bantay, Ilocos Sur; Rosario, La Union; Baguio City, Benguet; Urdaneta, Pangasinan; Tagaytay City; Calamba, Laguna; Lucena City, Quezon; and Sipocot, Camarines Sur.
Meanwhile, Toyota certified technicians are offering a free 20-point safety inspection at Toyota dealerships and motorist sites up to March 23.
• Drive early in the morning. Leaving early puts less stress on the vehicle. There is less traffic and visibility on the road gets better as you get tired; don’t stay behind the wheel too long. Stop and rest or stretch at regular intervals. A good benchmark is to take a 10-minute break after every two hours of driving. Taking a break refocuses your concentration while driving.
• Do your homework—finalize maintenance procedures. Visit a dealer early for preventive maintenance service.
• Wear light, and rehydrate. Keep your travel outfits as cool as possible. Bring plenty of drinking water in the car. Use sunglasses and sun block. And since you’ll be traveling during the Holy Week, expect to come across processions of the “Stations of the Cross” on the country roads, so keep your cool, and try to smile as you wait.
• Use the maps, and do the research. Check your GPS as well, if you have one. It’s always better to research on the route you’ll be taking. You’ll especially want to know if you’ll be traveling on roads undergoing major construction.
• Estimate your travel time. This way, you’ll have an idea when you’ll be at certain points on your trip. This will help you to plan rest and meal stops. It will also help you plan to avoid traveling through a major city or area of road construction during rush hours.
• Clean it up. A dirty, messy car adds to the stress of driving. Get your car cleaned. Put in some car fresheners, and take out the unnecessary knick-knacks.
• Don’t forget the motion sickness meds. It should be in your first aid kit.
• Get all your papers in order. Check your plates, registration and insurance information to make sure they are all valid. Be sure to place your insurance company’s emergency contact number in your car.
• Alternate driving duties with someone you trust. It would be so much easier for you and for the other passengers who would appreciate a rested driver behind the wheels.
• Peace of mind comes with insurance. So, be insured first—you and your car—before embarking on that long trip.