Owning a car in Manila can feel like a huge relief. For one, you don’t have to battle it out in the MRT or get exposed to air pollution in a jeep or tricycle. Even while we love Manila, it’s hard to deny the dismal state of public transportation a lot of commuters endure.
However, despite the convenience of driving, Manila drivers are not exempted from car problems. From horrendous city traffic to flooding and from auto theft to outdoor damage, driving your car around Manila can be challenging. Apart from getting a parking space to protect your car from crime and damage, there are other effortless solutions for your car woes. Take care of your car and survive driving in Manila with these 10 easy tricks.
1. Park your car properly to avoid flood damage
Even when it’s not typhoon season, Manila can get really flooded. A recurring joke is that flooding can easily happen in Manila when people spit together. It can be very difficult to restore your vehicle after flood damage. If a storm is approaching, park your car high up to keep its undercarriage safe from water. Having a parking space in your condo can be a life-saver. When you’re on the road while it’s raining hard, avoid powering through pools of water. Check first how deep the water is and maintain a slow, steady speed.
2. Gas up before a price increase
One of the top car struggles is dealing with rising gas prices. In fact, gas prices increase faster than they decrease, forcing car owners to dig deeper into their pockets. Car owners can save on gas costs with simple strategies. Gas up your car the night before a reported price increase. Where you gas up is also important. Fuel prices are often significantly lower in urban centers like Manila, so make sure to fill up your car, especially if you’re driving out of town.
3. Stay calm with police officers and traffic enforcers
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As a Manila car owner, have you ever wished that cops and traffic enforcers were as principled as Coco Martin in the hit show Ang Probinsyano? To be clear, not all cops and traffic enforcers are bad. But what to do with the erring ones? The best way to deal with them is to stay calm and be courteous. It will also come in handy if you’re aware of your rights as a driver. For example, the confiscation of car plates and driver’s license are prohibited when you’re flagged down for a traffic violation.
4. Save your car from theft
While surviving the rush hour can feel stressful for drivers, nothing feels worse than having your car stolen. Auto theft is a scary reality in Manila. There seems to be no shortage of news about cars being stolen even in broad daylight. It’s very unsafe to use a side street as your garage. Invest in a condo parking space, which has security measures in place and proper facilities to keep your car safe.
5. Handle busted traffic lights with defensive driving
Traffic lights and signals are crucial to maintain road order and smooth flow. However, things can get dangerous and confusing if a traffic light is busted. Don’t panic. Check first if there’s a traffic enforcer. If there’s none, rely on defensive driving to avoid colliding with another vehicle. Upon reaching your destination, take time to report the problem to the Metro Manila Development Authority.
6. Keep your car smelling fresh and clean
Smoke and pollution in Manila can feel suffocating. Sometimes, bad smell from the outside can get inside your car. This can be awkward if you’re with friends, a date, or your boss. Natural fresheners like sampaguita and essential oils are good options. If you want something odorless, consider charcoal-based fresheners. If these don’t banish the bad smell, have your car checked for exhaust leaks.
7. Treat pedestrians with care
Pedestrians in Manila are some of the people drivers love to hate. You often see them ignoring traffic signals and enforcers alike. They also seem to cross roads as they please. And many of them stand in the middle of the road while waiting for public transportation. Again, practice defensive driving when dealing with pedestrians. The last thing you want is to be involved in an accident with them.
8. Offer a ride to car-less friends
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Driving can sometimes feel lonely and boring. Why not invite your car-less friends for a ride or form a carpool? Whether it’s with your officemates, condo neighbors, or your child’s schoolmates, sharing a ride is a convenient way of doing a good deed. A carpool arrangement can also be a great way to save money and conserve fuel.
9. Protect your car from the elements
Is the condition of your car’s exterior deteriorating? One of the best reasons to rent a parking space is to protect your car from damaging outdoor elements such as rain, intense sunlight, and weather disturbances. A covered parking space will help keep your car looking its best. Also, having a condo parking space is way cheaper than spending for high maintenance costs for your car.
10. Download a traffic update application
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Traffic in Manila can be a nightmare. In fact, in a survey conducted by Waze, Manila traffic was voted as the worst in the world. More and more drivers are relying on traffic update applications to get a heads-up about the traffic situation. With downloadable apps, you can avoid certain routes and plot the best way to reach your destination. Another good tip is a classic: leave early to avoid the rush hour. Better early than sorry.
While the problems of Manila car owners are numerous, the solutions are often easy and practical. Following the 10 tips in this guide will help keep your car in good condition and your driving experience stress-free.