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August 6, 2015

Tips for foreigners who wants to drive in the Philippines

Driving safely in the Philippines

If you are a foreigner and would like to travel the Philippines driving a car, well then, that won’t be a problem because all foreigners are given a ninety day permit to drive from the first day you landed in the Philippines. As long as you have a valid driver’s license written in English language, then you are free to roam around in the convenience of a vehicle.

The next question you would have in mind is if there is available rent a car in the Philippines, the answer is definitely YES! You can find several business listing on website that are accredited rent-a-car owners. Most of them would require your valid driver’s license, passport and identification card.

So now you have a car and ready to hit the road for the first time in the Philippines, but before you go, I’ll give you some tips on what to expect on Philippine roads as driving etiquette may vary slightly or tremendously from your country.

1. Left hand drive. Vehicles in the Philippines have its steering wheel on the left side of the dashboard, so you use the right side of the road in navigating.

2. Buckle up. Never forget to fasten your seatbelt not just for your safety but also traffic authorities, especially in the city are strict in implementing this rule, you’ll get penalized by an enforcer if caught not wearing seatbelt on the road while driving, and if the passenger beside you is not also wearing one.

3. Maximum speed. Major thoroughfares implements 60 to 80 kph maximum driving speed, Expressways allows up to 100 kph maximum speed. Just be wary of the speed limit signs on the road so you’ll never get apprehended, especially on expressways where there are patrols cars strictly implementing speed limits.

4. Unrelenting traffic. Most developed cities in the Philippines have this problem, the worst traffic you may encounter is in Metro Manila during business hours, you should always keep your patience with you whenever you drive in key cities of the Philippines, better veer away driving on public vehicle routes, try an alternate route going to your destination instead.

5. Watch out for the snakes on the road. They are not literally a snake, they are those drivers who are vehemently swerving on the street as if they own it, be it on a motorbike, car, bus and even truck drivers. If you, encounter them on the road, just give way and you’ll be out of stress.

6. Be courteous. Always give way, especially to people who are crossing the street, even if that person is not in a pedestrian way, in the Philippines it is always the fault of the driver if you hit a person and got injured.

7. Speed per lane. How I wish this is fully enforced here in the Philippines to avoid chaos in the street and to lessen accident.  

I am not trying to scare foreigners here, but I am just giving a real scenario of what is really happening on the Philippine road. I have been driving in the Philippines for nineteen years now, but have not practiced my driving in another country yet, for now I am reading on other travel bloggers tips about their experiences in driving in another country at this link

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