A common albeit not-so-positive unifying denominator among motorists and commuters is traffic. Whether you are in the process of selecting and bringing home (hopefully to one with a garage) the car of your dreams or simply getting ready to board that P2P bus or MRT/LRT, understand that traffic is a cost that you will have to bear. More so for the former as the extra freedom motoring offers will come at a price, and we are not necessarily just talking about the PHP to buy and maintain your car.
Time is the greatest commodity that we are pointing out here, specially if you are in the driver’s seat. Passengers have an easier time since you can preoccupy yourself with distractions, productive or not, but as a responsible driver the aforementioned traffic should be your main concern.
I am pretty sure that, by now, you have noticed how bad things get. Especially when a torrential downpour occurs or if a mall situated along one of the main thoroughfares decide to throw on a huge sale.
So how did we get here?
At the end of 2015 approximately 2.5 million vehicles have been registered in Metro Manila alone according to the Philippine National Statistical Board. Think about that for a second. It doesn’t take a genius to realize that our current network of roads is insufficient to support all those cars. And once you start driving around, you will discover the stark reality of this insufficiency.
And then there’s the license issuing issue. The most relevant data from the Philippine Statistics Authority mentions that we already surpassed the 4 million mark in terms of granting driver’s licenses. This was back in 2008. So it is safe to assume that given the growth that we have gone through in the previous years you can add another 12-15% on top of that number.
And add to that one Japanese study in 2012 that showed the time lost by folks who get stuck in traffic and the additional cost of operating vehicles in metropolitan Manila’s gridlock and nearby areas amounted to about Php 2.4 billion (US$51 million) a day. That was in 2012, it’s probably even worse now.
Those are the facts that you have to contend with – a few million cars being driven around by a few million drivers in a network of roads that cannot even sustain all this volume which results in a lot of time and money lost. Seems daunting isn’t it?
But don’t fret. Just like taking on important activities (going on a trip abroad, diving in that important client meeting, or undertaking your final exam), mindful planning and preparation will be the key for you to get the best out of the situation.
Map Your Day Out
In order for you to maximize the time that you spend on the road, you first have to determine where and when you are going. These days specific time slots (rush hour, etc.) will require you to leave earlier to allocate more time to get to your destination.
For example; if your meeting is in Makati at 5pm and you are coming from QC it would be best to leave 2 hours prior to make sure that you have enough time to get to the location and park your car.
Keeping this in mind will help you better manage your time spent in traffic.
Utilize Driving Aids
Remember that instance when you got stuck in EDSA and wished you had another route to take? Well it’s a good thing that technology has already come a long way in helping us deal with our daily commute. Apps such as Waze or Gmaps are very useful in terms of navigating to that location or specific establishment that you need to get to. Just make sure that it is updated and working so that you are properly informed and rerouted whenever a build-up or accident occurs.
Be mindful, and keep cool
Have your favorite music handy, play that insightful podcast, or even listen to that audiobook that you recently downloaded. Being stuck in traffic doesn’t mean that you cannot get anything productive out of it.
Traffic is now a part of our daily lives. It is stressful and annoying but we have to be conscious of ourselves and always remember that we will eventually get to our destination. Even if there are others who get too aggressive, just remember to be the better person and try not to get affected.