Road Safety: Brakes, Screech, Stop and Smile

We hear or see road accidents and think, it won’t happen to us. Truth is, no matter how careful we are, accidents happen. My first car was a Daihatsu Charade and that car took a good beating. With it, I learned a lot of do’s and dont’s in driving. Although lessons from my sweet charade were put at heart, the lessons never stopped coming. Driving is no joke. We are responsible not only for our own life but with the lives of others we come across on the road.

We can say we are very careful. We yield. We follow traffic rules and road signs. Yes, all of us want to be safe. But I bet most of us had our share of recklessness on the road during bumper to bumper traffic, when rushing to work or appointments or certain events made us upset before taking the wheel. This happens even to the mild tempered. It’s understandable but still, an unacceptable excuse.

My friend Jaime said I drove like a TAS Trans driver some years back when we drove to Resorts World in separate cars. I remember getting annoyed after seeing that our epic MMDA blocked the access road leading to Edsa which of course led to the far u-turn slot at Resorts World. We rushed because Michelle was going to meet us there. After the concerned observation of Jaime. I drove more like a “girl”, that even papa began sleeping in the car while I drove. Prior to this, he was always on the look out with his hand ready to grab the handbrake.

This week, I was so blessed to avoid two accidents. No rushing really. I talk to the Lord on my leisurely morning drive to work. I see students, school buses and everyone else all made up to face the day. The first accident happened while driving along Zapote-Alabang Road. The traffic enforcers waived ahead for all cars heading southeast to counterflow. So, I followed the other cars ahead of me when suddenly they swerved left and right.

There, in front of me, a few meters away, was a jeepney in the middle of the road that apparently tried to cross to the other side from the new Phoenix Gas Station. I hit the brake and the handbrake at the same time. The car screeched, swerved to the right until it stopped (barely a feet away from the driver who was still frozen, still anticipating possible scenarios of his recklessness). After he saw that we both missed apparent disaster, he waived, smiled and went on his merry way. I was shaking, scared but thankful, writing a big note to self, “Do not follow counterflow no matter how high the MMDA enforcers waive their arms not until after the gas station.”



After that I took a different route. I used Casimiro Road. After the new McDonalds, I can cruise at comfy 30-40 kph. I entered BF Resort Village. Everyday, there are numerous cars parked in front of that meatshop across Metrobank. As I neared it, an old lady came out from behind one of the parked cars and “ran in old lady speed” towards the other side of the road. Again, brakes, screech and stop. It wasn’t just me this time, the cars and tricycles behind me hit their brakes as well.

We made screeching symphony together and it was scary. My car stopped with the old lady and me face to face, parallel to each other. Thank God she reached the island in the middle of the road just in time. I could’ve hit her, the car behind me could’ve hit me and so on. We made eye contact. She smiled naughtily at me as though she won a race. That smile was something else, it made me smile too, from relief and belief that God saved all of us and that He created this awesome grandma to teach all of us a lesson that early morning. The message was loud and clear, never go with the flow nor get too comfortable and to be both careful and cautious at all times. Other people like to play chicken on the road. Be the chicken and surely, we’ll get to wherever we’re going safely. We owe it to people who love us to keep safe specially when cruising the ever-changing traffic conditions everywhere.

Why were the old lady and the frozen jeepney driver smiling? Perhaps they were thankful for being saved or maybe joyous over their victory of beating the odds. But I know in my heart, their smiles were exactly what I needed to beat the nervousness that could’ve eaten up my peace of mind. As it was written in Proverbs 16:15,

“When the king smiles, there is life; his favor refreshes like a spring rain.” 

Those smiles were exactly what I needed in that exact moment. I thank Him for that. I also thank Him for keeping the brakes of my car in good condition and my keeping my reflexes ready to use them. He is so goood. (MTP 12/12/13)



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