Two months in and now we’re on a different kind of quarantine. Starting May 16, 2020, the National Capital Region, along with Laguna and Cebu City, will be under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine (MECQ). This bridges the gap between General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), aiming to slowly revive the failing economy in important markets while still imposing measures to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.
I currently reside in Metro Manila and most of you know, a trip to the grocery should require you to possess a quarantine pass. As I’m the designated shopper in our household, I’ve done quite a few grocery runs to buy essential items. I’ve come to observe two things: the roads are clear and there are bad driving habits during these times that need to stop. Here are just a few that I’ve seen so far:
Beating the red light
Whether it’s a car or a vehicle, I couldn’t count in my hands how many times I have seen motorists ignoring the bright red traffic light on top of posts. Just to remind you, whether you’re area is in GCQ, ECQ, or MECQ, traffic laws still apply and that includes following traffic lights.
There’s a pretty simple reason for that, really. If you don’t follow the red light, there’s a chance that another vehicle will hit you. It’s simply that dangerous.
I have to take a one-way street during my grocery runs. To my surprise, a sedan was headed towards me as I enter the three-laner. Sure, the road’s pretty clear right now but that doesn’t mean that you can just stop, turn your vehicle around, and go against the flow of traffic.
Just the same as beating the red light, counterflowing is dangerous, especially on wide one-way avenues.
The Philippines, just like any other country, has set speed limits depending on the road type. While stretching your car’s legs is pretty important right now, which you can do while doing grocery runs, it isn’t an excuse to go beyond speed limits.
And yes, the reason remains – it’s dangerous and can endanger not only your lives but also the lives of other road users.
Last year, the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) and other LGUs have imposed a strict implementation of illegal parking policy in Metro Manila. This enforcement may have become a bit lenient right now since most vehicles are forced to stay at homes, but that doesn’t mean that we can just park wherever and whenever we want.
Double street parking, parking on the driveway, and improper parking on grocery lots – these are just a few examples of inconsiderate ways to park that I observed.
Not using turn signals
I’m taking this one personally as I was almost hit by a car who cut me off on a two-lane avenue without warning. Good thing I was running at a moderate speed.
Two lanes, three lanes, four lanes – no matter how narrow or wide the roads are, you should always use your turn signals. Aside from that, you should always do a glance-over before making a lane change, just as you would in a normal driving situation.
This may not be driving-related but I’ve observed pedestrians not observing traffic rules as well when I was on my grocery run. One may argue that the roads are clearer now so it isn’t that dangerous to cross a street without a single care.
But then again, you’ll never know when an accident will happen, that’s why it’s called an accident. I think it’s self-explanatory why jaywalking is dangerous.
Granted, these bad habits I mentioned here are probably the same annoyances we encounter even before the pandemic set in, but the clearer roads (and lack of law enforcement) shouldn’t be a license to be a danger to the society.
So as we wait this pandemic out and we’re stuck to just occasional road use, I’m appealing to everyone to stay responsible behind the steering wheel. You don’t want to end up arguing about a fender-bender in these times, do you? That should be at the least of our worries right now.