Traffic rules every Filipino should know
By Melvin Magadia for Automart.PH
METRO MANILA, – As a responsible driver, it is important that you are aware of traffic rules.
Keep in mind that you share the road with other drivers, as well as pedestrians. Traffic rules are in place for everyone’s safety. Following these rules will also help you maintain a clean record and, under the new licensing rules, can make you eligible for a 10-year license validity on your next renewal.
On the other hand, breaking them will subject you to penalties. So for your guidance, here are some traffic rules drivers like you should follow.
1. Don’t text while driving
Taking your eyes away from the road and your hands off the steering wheel could spell trouble when you’re on the road.
Aside from getting sanctions from the Land Transportation Office or Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), you could even kill a pedestrian. Distracted driving can also be deadly for drivers.
When you're behind the wheel, your focus should be on the road ahead and not on the small screen of your mobile device.
2. Always wear your seat belt
Wearing a seatbelt may be uncomfortable and limit your movement, but it can save your life in a crash.
You can’t predict when a crash will happen. When it does, it could mean a concussion, broken bones or, at worst, death.
The law is strict when it comes to violators of this rule, so if you want to maintain a clean slate, don’t compromise your safety for comfortable seating. For example, you could be paying stiff fines or have your license revoked if you commit several offenses.
3. Stay out of the bus lane
If you are driving along EDSA, be aware of the bus lane policy being implemented by the MMDA.
The leftmost lane on this stretch is designed for city buses. If you are driving a private vehicle, stay out of this area unless it is allowed by enforcers.
The no-contact apprehension policy is being implemented in EDSA, so expect a ticket from the authorities, especially when you are trapped by the concrete barriers.
4. Respect the red light
What would you do if you are still a few meters away from the intersection and the traffic light will almost turn red? Most drivers will speed up and ignore the red light.
As a driver, stopping at the red light is a basic rule that is being taught in theoretical and practical driving courses. Sadly, it is also one of the commonly broken traffic rules.
Beating the red light is a common practice among Filipino drivers, especially if there is no enforcer manning the traffic. This can be a dangerous practice especially if you get caught in the middle of the traffic.
You will not only be flagged for beating the red light, but for obstruction as well.
5. Load and unload at the proper place
This is a traffic rule violated by both public-utility vehicle drivers and passengers.
For the former, they want to take advantage of the rush hour and pick up passengers beyond their designated pickup and drop-off points. The latter, on the other hand, stubbornly insist to be unloaded anywhere for their convenience.
6. Don’t drink and drive
Data gathered in the Power of No campaign implemented in six countries, including the Philippines, showed the dangerous effects of drunk driving.
The study revealed that about one in four road crashes in the country were because drunk driving. We cannot deny the harmful effects of alcohol. It can impair a driver’s reflexes and sound judgment.
Meanwhile, according to the MMDA’s Annual MMARAS Annual Report, drunk driving resulted to 18 incidents of damage to property and 13 non-fatal injuries in 2020.
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is a punishable act under Republic Act 10586 or the "Anti-Drunk and Drugged Driving Act of 2013." The penalties include:
- If the act did not result to physical injuries, the penalty is three months imprisonment and a fine ranging from P20,000 to P80,000.
- If the violation caused physical injuries, the penalty provided in Article 263 of the Revised Penal Code or the penalty provided in the next preceding subparagraph, whichever is higher, shall be imposed and a fine ranging from P100,000 to P200,000.
- If the act resulted in homicide, the penalty stipulated in Article 249 of the Revised Penal Code and a fine ranging from P300,000 to P500,000 shall be implemented.
- For non-professional drivers who violated the act, their license shall be confiscated and suspended for 12 months for the first offense and perpetually revoked for the second offense.
- For professional drivers, violating the act will subject them to perpetual revocation of license for the first offense.
When drunk, it is hard for drivers to recognize sounds and traffic signs, making them unable to handle situations properly. It’s all right to party, but if you are going to drink, don’t drive.
Traffic rules are there for the safety of everyone. You have a responsibility when driving a motor vehicle.
As they say in driving school, “Having a license is a privilege and not a right.”