Driving in the Philippines and traffic accidents.

I have noticed that despite the fact that traffic in the Philippines can be  heavy as anywhere in the US there seems to be fewer accidents. I understand that what I think I am seeing may not be accurate so to increase the data I want to ask you if you notice something similar.

If you do also think that there are fewer accidents for the kind of traffic we have here what do you attribute that to?

Just saw a chart on which the rate of traffic deaths per 100,000 inhabitants ranked the Philippines  116th, USA 127th. The rates are 6 or 7 times higher in central Africa.  Most of Asia is low, probably low in Bangkok and Jakarta because it is so crowded no one can get up enough speed to cause death.  Probably less drunken driving in the Philippines but more unsafe practices such as driving in the dark with no lights or reflectors.

A quick check in the US there are 264 million vehicles with a population of 233 million adults. One plus per adult.

In the Philippines there are 12 million registered vehicles with a adult population of 62 million. One per each five adults.

Poor countries have fewer vehicles. It would be hard to reconcile any actual tangible information from the above figures considering how many unlicensed legal vehicles are in the third world.  (motor scooters & such).

Slow average speeds are a big part of it. In our car here in Cebu the average speed displayed by the trip computer is most frequently stuck at 10kph. Madness. I wouldn't put up with that for a minute in the US, lol. But here in metro Cebu it is the norm and there's no way around it. It has gotten more congested each year that I have been coming here.

Another factor is that Filipinos have amazing skills on a motorbike, it's like they were born with that ability. Bad judgement but outstanding hand-eye skills. The fact that they have as few accidents as they do while aggressively passing cars on the right side (the most dangerous place to do it) and threading through traffic speaks to those abilities. It only rarely seems to end badly, considering the consistent level of bad behavior. Sometimes it reminds me of schools of fish and I'm sure there is some chaos theory going on with it. Rules don't matter, they all just apply the theory of advance at all costs, look out only for myself.. and it seems to work.

I do get pissed off when they get behind the wheel of an SUV and drive the same way, blocking intersections, double parking anywhere, and aggressively pushing lesser vehicles out of the way. Thats when you really see the lack of discipline and concern for others.

We live right on the winding coastal and mountainous national road.

It's a drag strip.

I saw a tanker truck upside down on one part of it years ago.

About a month ago a man died on it near us.

Another man reported seeing the motorbike of the man who died shortly before the crash. He said the rider was hunched over like he was asleep and traveling at a high rate of speed. 

The van drivers used to scare the hell out of me when we first came here.

Now I like to sit in the front seat with the cam rolling.

Pnwcyclist says "another factor is that Filipinos have amazing skills on a motorbike, it's like they were born with that ability" = pse note cutting in, weaving out, dashing in, whilst balancing 3-4 people w/o helmets all on a motorbike...yes this all can be done but pse not on the highway for heavens sake...pse note that every action fm them will have a reaction fm vehicle drivers like us.
I hv been practising 'defensive' driving for over 30yrs & I hv come to expect this ruthless riding you call skills & I hv always expected the worst & since nothing is being done about it, I hv "GIVEN UP" & made it a point not to drive [at] nights, especially long distance, mainly because of this inconsiderate behaviour that in happening daily....Haizzz i wish I had your confidence.
Cheers & Drive Safe

My wife wanted to get a motorbike for her to drive.

I said no.

The Dutch did an experiment 20 years ago, they removed all road signs and markings from a dangerous junction.  The result was that people woke up,  slowed down And paid attention, there was a huge drop in the amount of accidents at the junction.

I’ve noticed that observation generally (with  notable exceptions) seems to be better than in Europe or the USA, where a lot of drivers are lulled into a false sense of invincibility.

Oursus :

The Dutch did an experiment 20 years ago, they removed all road signs and markings from a dangerous junction.  The result was that people woke up,  slowed down And paid attention, there was a huge drop in the amount of accidents at the junction.

I’ve noticed that observation generally (with  notable exceptions) seems to be better than in Europe or the USA, where a lot of drivers are lulled into a false sense of invincibility.

I tend to agree more on this aspect. How about the incidence of shootings during traffic congestion in the Philippines like what happens in the US and Brazil?

Oursus :

The Dutch did an experiment 20 years ago, they removed all road signs and markings from a dangerous junction.  The result was that people woke up,  slowed down And paid attention, there was a huge drop in the amount of accidents at the junction.

I’ve noticed that observation generally (with  notable exceptions) seems to be better than in Europe or the USA, where a lot of drivers are lulled into a false sense of invincibility.

I agree.

I have also noted a high degree pf skill in Filipino drivers.

The driving public is also more homogeneous in Philippines than in the west. This point is harder for me to define, but I think that it matters.

Sorry...Philippine Destiny...i hv to disagree...My personal opinion is 'Reckless'...try doing what they do at a speed of say 70 km/h...the whole dynamics change.
If not for defensive driving/riding someone/someday is going to pay the price for their recklessness.

manwonder :

Sorry...Philippine Destiny...i hv to disagree...My personal opinion is 'Reckless'...try doing what they do at a speed of say 70 km/h...the whole dynamics change.
If not for defensive driving/riding someone/someday is going to pay the price for their recklessness.

I understand that it seems reckless to us. It is a cultural difference. There is a flow within the system. Not necessarily orderly, but harmony. They understand one another. They have the same mindset.  Of course accidents do happen.

You should go for a drive in Saudi Arabia if you want to see true recklessness.

robal :
Oursus :

The Dutch did an experiment 20 years ago, they removed all road signs and markings from a dangerous junction.  The result was that people woke up,  slowed down And paid attention, there was a huge drop in the amount of accidents at the junction.

I’ve noticed that observation generally (with  notable exceptions) seems to be better than in Europe or the USA, where a lot of drivers are lulled into a false sense of invincibility.

I tend to agree more on this aspect. How about the incidence of shootings during traffic congestion in the Philippines like what happens in the US and Brazil?

Road rage does happen in the Philippines.  I have never witnessed it personally.

A man was shot on the road in front of our house. He was in a car and the shooter was on motorbike. I don't know the circumstances - whether it was road rage or something else.

In the US it was a regular occurrence.

I am a lifelong motorcyclist and very aware/defensive driver. We had a big bike here for a year but I got tired of all the motorbikes swarming me and blocking any possible escape route, so I finally sold it. I felt an accident was inevitable and the likelihood of surving afterward was low. I have seeen many ambulances trying to work through the traffic and there's no way it's going to end well if injuries are severe.

My girl loves motorcycles and wants one too. I said not here.

pnwcyclist :

I am a lifelong motorcyclist and very aware/defensive driver. We had a big bike here for a year but I got tired of all the motorbikes swarming me and blocking any possible escape route, so I finally sold it. I felt an accident was inevitable and the likelihood of surving afterward was low. I have seeen many ambulances trying to work through the traffic and there's no way it's going to end well if injuries are severe.

My girl loves motorcycles and wants one too. I said not here.

I got to ride in one of the ambulances last year. They turned what was usually a 60 minute ride into maybe a 30 minute ride - or maybe even less. But it was a clear stretch with little traffic.

700 PHP round trip - they even transported a load of groceries on the return trip

wish I could hire them every time

Agreed guys;
Pse remember that we as the 'foreigners' WILL always to be blamed if there were ever was an accident. (per feedback fm my local police mates themselves.)...we are just sitting ducks waiting to be culled. That is even with or without having those in dash cameras /or who was at fault appeals.
So I would still drive defensively even if it takes an extra 50% effort from me vs the locals.
Thanks & Pse drive safely.

Driving in the Phils I dont, for the reason any incident my white face is a liability. But I have lived and driven in may countries in Europe and Asia. One thing I have found that works wherever I go. Is this you have to learn to drive like a local, you can't drive as if your back home. It wont work, it will be frustrating and at worst very expensive you have to lose all your preconceived ideas on is good driving, in short 'when in Rome'. Once you have managed that its amazing how easy it becomes.
The simple advice  is, if you can't then dont drive.

Philippine Destiny :
pnwcyclist :

I am a lifelong motorcyclist and very aware/defensive driver. We had a big bike here for a year but I got tired of all the motorbikes swarming me and blocking any possible escape route, so I finally sold it. I felt an accident was inevitable and the likelihood of surving afterward was low. I have seeen many ambulances trying to work through the traffic and there's no way it's going to end well if injuries are severe.

My girl loves motorcycles and wants one too. I said not here.

I got to ride in one of the ambulances last year. They turned what was usually a 60 minute ride into maybe a 30 minute ride - or maybe even less. But it was a clear stretch with little traffic.

700 PHP round trip - they even transported a load of groceries on the return trip

wish I could hire them every time

Hell why call "Grab",  when you can go by ambulance in half the time for a few pasos more. Thanks for the tip, S&R is across the street from St. Lukes Hospital.

Ha ha ha.. funny!

W9XR :
Philippine Destiny :
pnwcyclist :

I am a lifelong motorcyclist and very aware/defensive driver. We had a big bike here for a year but I got tired of all the motorbikes swarming me and blocking any possible escape route, so I finally sold it. I felt an accident was inevitable and the likelihood of surving afterward was low. I have seeen many ambulances trying to work through the traffic and there's no way it's going to end well if injuries are severe.

My girl loves motorcycles and wants one too. I said not here.

I got to ride in one of the ambulances last year. They turned what was usually a 60 minute ride into maybe a 30 minute ride - or maybe even less. But it was a clear stretch with little traffic.

700 PHP round trip - they even transported a load of groceries on the return trip

wish I could hire them every time

Hell why call "Grab",  when you can go by ambulance in half the time for a few pasos more. Thanks for the tip, S&R is across the street from St. Lukes Hospital.

You just need to acquire dengue like I did. Such fun. No, really.

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