There’s nothing quite like the feeling of driving down on an open highway with the windows down and your hair flowing freely in the wind. You smile as you peer out your car window while driving along the picturesque outdoors. It’s a perfect scene, yes, but highly impossible in Metro Manila.
It’s impractical and unsafe for anyone to drive around in such a carefree manner in the Philippines. Danger lurks around every corner and if you’re not careful, you can quickly turn into a hapless victim. Driving with your windows down? You better prepare for a thief who can reach into that open window. Letting your hair flow through the breeze? A carnapper might just grab you and pull you out of your car.
Falling into the illusion of an easy-breezy drive on busy streets can spell trouble, especially for women. Driving doesn’t have to be a scary experience, but a wise driver must know how to protect himself from road danger.
1. Secure your vehicle
- Lock your car doors as soon as you get in and out of your vehicle. Do not leave it for a later time because this can give a potential attacker ample time to open your door and pull you out.
- Keep your windows shut at all times, unless needed in specific instances, such as checkpoints.
- Park your car in well-lighted places where security guards are in sight.
- Do not park beside large, unmarked, and tinted vehicles because attackers can easily pull you inside without anyone knowing.
- Always have your keys on hand so you can quickly enter your car and lock the door.
2. Have basic vehicular knowledge
- Familiarize yourself with those symbols on your dashboard. It’s important to know when your gas is almost out and if your engine is overheating. This will prevent your car from unexpectedly stalling while you are driving.
- Make sure to regularly check your vehicle for leaks or flat tires. These will help prevent your car from randomly breaking down in the middle of the road in undesirable locations and times of the day.
3. Always be aware of your surroundings
- If texting while driving or putting on make-up in the car is a habit of yours, put an end to it.
- Be alert with what’s going on around you because attackers can easily sneak up on you while you’re doing something.
- Before getting into your car, make sure that no suspicious characters are lurking nearby.
- If a suspected attacker seems to be following you, don’t be shy to ask the security guard to accompany you to your vehicle.
- If you get pulled over for while driving, make sure that you are really dealing with a police officer or an MMDA official. If you’re not sure, ask for identification. If they ask you to roll down your window, open it just a few inches.
These are just a few basic tips on protecting yourself from possible harm on the road. Driving securely is always a work in progress because criminals always dream up new schemes everyday. You must always update yourself with new modus operandi by watching the news regularly.
For women drivers, you can always do something to keep yourself from being a victim. Driving around Metro Manila will probably never be a Zen-like experience, but if you keep your mind on road safety and security, it can be quite a pleasant experience.