Caught (up) in traffic

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Daily Archives: May 1, 2013


I recently read an article about signaling in the United States. It states that about 25% of turns are not signaled. That is, drivers do not signal prior to turning left or right at an intersection. This comes as somewhat a surprise for me as I thought this statistic should be lower in the US ┬áconsidering their stricter procedures for getting a license. I don’t really observe signaling behavior in the US when I am there also because maybe I assume that traffic enforcement is also stricter and errant behavior would usually be caught and the driver cited by the police.

In the Philippines, it’s a lot worse with many if not most drivers of all types of vehicles including motorcycles not indicating their intention to turn for other motorists. Drivers of public utility vehicles like buses, jeepneys and taxis are perceived to be the ones with the highest likelihood of not signaling prior to turning at an intersection or to change lanes. The results, of course, are chaotic driving conditions along Philippine roads and especially in urban streets where motorcycles add to the complexity as riders zip in and out of every conceivable space between vehicles.

I am not aware of any formal studies on signaling and related driver behavior in the Philippines. Perhaps there is one somewhere and not necessarily on traffic engineering but on psychology or other behavioral studies. Such researches, while appearing to be simple and somewhat trivial to some, can be quite helpful in understanding driver behavior and how these can influence the road environment. Abrupt or poor anticipation of turning or lane changing may lead to road crashes and motorists in the country are not the easiest to educate after getting their licenses. Of course, nothing can replace consistent, strict enforcement of traffic rules and regulations to encourage good behavior along our roads but this would just be a reinforcement of what was supposed to have been taught at driving school in the first place.

Here’s the link to the article appearing on the website Atlantic Cities:

DIY Urbanism of the Day: How Many Drivers in Your Nabe Aren’t Signaling?