Every day, the Metro Manila Accident Recording and Analysis System (MMARAS) records an average of 299 car crashes every day in the National Capital Region. The biggest culprit? Human error, which has caused 12 fatalities, 841 injuries, and 2,601 counts of damage to property.
What are the most common mistakes Filipino drivers do behind the wheel? Here are some of them.
1. Speeding while turning
In 2013, a bus overturned in front of the Quezon City Hall, causing 18 injuries and a traffic nightmare to other motorists. According to the police, the driver was allegedly over-speeding at 70-80kph, causing the vehicle to fall on its side as it plied the Elliptical Road.
Why does this happen? Let’s incorporate the laws of physics. Vehicles with higher center of gravity—such as utility vehicles, vans, and trucks—have a tendency to fall on its side while doing a high-speed turn.
Once a heavy vehicle makes a turn, the mass is shifted toward the direction of the turn. If a driver does this on high speed, the shift will be much more abrupt and will pull the car down on the side of the turn, causing it to roll over.
2. Coasting in neutral
If you’re driving an automatic car, chances are you’ve heard this from one of your “expert” friends. By letting gravity pull your vehicle down the slope, you no longer have to apply any pressure on the gas pedal and, voila, instant savings!
Unfortunately, people who practice and preach coasting downhill in neutral are forgetting one thing: you’re giving away a good chunk of control on your car in exchange of a few drops of saved gasoline.
According Top Gear Philippines technical editor Ferman Lao, shifting to neutral will mean you cannot accelerate or decelerate since your engine is disconnected from the wheel.
“There’s at least a one to three second delay from the time you see something that prompts you to engage your transmission, to the time the car will start responding,” he wrote. In addition, he also said that coasting in neutral will put too much stress on your brakes in case you try to stop abruptly. Your brake pads may overheat and brake fluid boil.
3. Resting your hand on the shifter
Letting your hand rest on the gear stick is, in the words of Tony Star, “not a great plan.” Even if you are already savvy behind the wheel, keeping your hand tightly gripped on the shifting knob will mean that one hand is missing from the steering wheel—and that is never good.
So whenever you’re driving, remember to keep your hands at 10 and 2 o’clock.
4. Not using the handbrake when parking on slope
As we’ve mentioned in one of our previous articles, it is a must that you use handbrake when parking on incline.
When you park your car on slope with no handbrakes applied, the only thing that stops it from rolling down is a finger-sized part called parking pawl, which may break if your driveline components are under stress. If your parking pawl is in constant stress, it can cause quicker tearing and eventual breakage, which can lead to a broken transmission.
5. Suffering from tunnel vision
Tunnel vision occurs when you tend to put your focus on the vehicle directly in front of you—and ignoring everything else. While it may save you from collision from the front, it will dramatically drop your awareness to the other sides of your car. Therefore, accidents can ensue.
So how do you stop this from happening? According to online car classifieds Carmudi : “Do not follow it too closely; change lanes and give yourself some space between your car and the vehicle ahead.”
In addition, keep on scanning your side mirrors and rearview mirror every now and then to keep your defensive driving game up.