Guide to driving fabulously on the roadBy Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Ladies will always have to deal with a supposed reputation for bad driving. We always have that “damn-if-you-do and damn-if-you-don’t” dilemma when it comes to handling the steering wheel. If we drive within speed limits, we usually hear the comment “babae kasi (because she’s a girl).” When we drive faster than the guys, we get the same snide remark. When we slightly brush across the road, we are already neurotic. We get the double-standard treatment on our driving ability just because we don’t see the difference between the stock mags and their new 20-inch wheel bling.
Nevertheless, since we women tend to mature faster than men, let us move past this social stereotyping and just do what needs to be done. Didn’t someone say that behind every successful man is a stronger woman? The fact that more and more women are now in the top positions in the motoring industry, dictating what cars our male motorists should drool over, speaks volumes on the female voice in motoring? They say a girl can tell a man what to do, but a great woman can make him think it was his great idea in the first place. We thought of compiling the common complaints men have against us in driving. So that we can lead by example, here are some refresher tips on how to drive and be fabulous on the road:
1) Don’t be fickle when making a turn. When you know you will be turning right at the next corner, set yourself up by staying on the rightmost lane for turning. Don’t channel “truck driver” when turning and try to cut everybody by taking it 2-3 lanes outwards.
2) Don’t send mixed signals.
a. The signal light is there for a reason, so use it. Don’t forget that it only goes either right or left. No semi-right or semi-left.
b. Don’t put the hazard lights on when the rain starts pouring. Not only are you sending mixed signals to other motorists about your actual state, they may also not stop and help when you have a real emergency. Save the drama for the real thing.
3) Taking turns is the best compromise. In instances that other cars must merge into your lane, the best and most efficient option is to take turns. This is slowly getting into the psyche of the Filipino motorist. One car in front of you will not make a difference on your arrival time. A dent in the bumper will after a nudging war will.
4) Giving the right of way.
a. Round about. The car that is already in the innermost lane of the roundabout has the right of way. Cars who are about to enter should wait for those on the inner ring to pass.
b. Uphill and downhill overtaking. The car going uphill usually has the right of way because he would need more momentum going up instead of a car going downhill which would just need to brake.
c. On the expressway. The leftmost lane is only for overtaking. So after you overtake, move back to the right lane and maintain the speed limit.
5) Don’t be a copycat. Never, ever (one more time with feelings) ever counterflow traffic no matter how tempting it is. This usually causes bottlenecks and increases your travel time. We usually apply mob mentality on this driving faux pas. Don’t. You are better than those uncivilized and undisciplined jeepney drivers. If nobody will join the bandwagon when they counter flow, people will slowly realize that this is not a good thing and it will be easier for traffic enforcer to ticket these drivers.
6) Don’t power trip with pedestrians. Apply your beauty queen manners and perseverance when people are crossing. Don’t nudge them or worse honk at them. Just remember that you are inside an air-conditioned vehicle while they have to suffer the heat and pollution outside. If you were in their shoes wouldn’t you want rush as well?
7) Don’t be a clingy driver. Nobody wants a girl that follows him around to closely; same with tailgating. Give the car in front of you enough space to move around and enough space for you to avoid a dented bumper when he suddenly stops calling err…stops or change directions.
8) Dazzle at the right time. There is a difference between blinding them with your great looks and blinding them while driving. Driving high beam to the oncoming traffic not only gives them headaches but also lessens the driver’s ability to gauge space, speed and the situation; this may cause accidents at high speed. Do turn on the bright lights when no one is on the opposite lane so that people can see you from a distance and dim when there is somebody oncoming.
9) Don’t fish on two rivers. Dating two guys simultaneously is usually frowned upon. Same with driving in the middle of two lanes or worse parking in the middle of two slots. There’s no point for two timing your lane or slot nor will it make you arrive faster to your destination.
Driving sins are not exclusive to women, but we are easy targets because we came next in the privilege of driving. The way from drab to fabulous is called discipline. Even if no one is looking (or there is no police around) maintain these rules for a stress free driving experience. When men call us names, let us just understand their need to look like they are always right or know where they are going.