by Ricky Publico, on category "Lifestyle"
April 17, 2019
Are you planning to go out-of-town this Holy Week? Brace yourselves. According to SMC Tollways, traffic volume is expected to increase up to 10% this year due to the long break. Expect major roads and highways to be heavily congested as early as Wednesday night. In order to beat—nay, survive—the impending traffic, it is important to make some preparations and note down pointers for a hassle-free drive. Here are some tips to get you started.
Nothing beats getting ahead of traffic. Leave earlier than planned to avoid the volume of cars traveling this Holy Week. If you’re planning to take a long drive to Baguio or La Union, leave home before dawn, ideally around 3 am to 4 am. If you can afford to, why not take a vacation leave on Holy Wednesday and start the drive from there? Doing this allows you to avoid the rush of vehicles taking the same route. Plus, who doesn’t want an extra day of vacation?
Instagram photo by @donnacherdlc
There’s no one definitive route to take when you’re going somewhere. Consider taking alternate routes when planning your Holy Week trip. New roads and highways such as the TPLEX Pozorrubio Exit, Mabiga Interchange, and Barkadahan Bridge were opened to the public last year to help ease traffic and reduce travel time. Do some research on possible routes in advance to identify which one can take you to your destination the soonest.
But if your research led you to nowhere, technology is your friend. Download and utilize driving apps such as Waze, Google Maps, and Drivemode to determine the latest traffic conditions and to monitor accidents, police locations, and other possible road obstacles. Apart from helping you reduce travel time, these apps will also allow you to track other vehicles on the road, which is perfect for convoys. Just don’t get too distracted when using a phone while driving.
It goes without saying that before taking a trip, you need a fully functional car. For a safe and fluid trip, ensure that your vehicle is in excellent condition. Follow the PNP-HPG’s time-tested BLOWBAGETS checklist before your trip: Battery, Light, Oil, Water, Brakes, Air, Gas, Engine, Tools, and Self. Don’t forget to bring your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and insurance certificate just in case. Remember, there’s no such thing as being too prepared.
Will it rain on the day of your trip? Are there social events that will affect traffic? Are roads flooded or closed for excavation? It pays to be updated on the latest road conditions across the country before setting out to your destination. Catch the latest news on TV or online before leaving and tune in to your car radio from time to time for more updates. Staying on top of the news allows you to avoid possible roadblocks and create a back-up vacation plan.
Instagram photo by @iamtheonoski
It sucks that you have to deal with traffic, but you know what’s worse? Being the cause of traffic. So it’s self-explanatory: Don’t be the cause of traffic. Stay in your lane no matter how congested the road is. Follow the traffic lights, take note of speeding limits, and be respectful to traffic enforcers. Always maintain a calm composure and be considerate of other drivers who are stuck in traffic. Remember that driver discipline and kindness always pay on the road.
Make traffic more bearable and more memorable by preparing the ultimate music playlist that will serve as the official soundtrack of your trip. If you don’t have the time, just ask a friend or relative to compile some great tunes for you on Spotify. Music will keep you focused and attentive while your eyes are on the road. It can also make the drive more lively and entertaining for you and your family. Just make sure not to pick calm songs to avoid dozing off.
Always prepare yourself, physically and mentally, before any type of trip. Pack enough food and water for you and your travel companions to prevent anyone from getting hungry or dehydrated, especially if you’re traveling with children. Grab a quick bite before leaving or pack some snacks that you can easily eat while driving. You can also make quick stops at restaurants along the way so you can eat, rest, and relieve yourself before going back to the road again.
Beating traffic is always the hardest part of any long vacation. After all this fuss, you will have the entire Holy Week for fun activities with your loved ones. Consider this as your motivation for going through the trouble of making all these travel preparations. Plan your trip thoroughly, check your vehicle, and keep yourself in tip-top shape to ensure a Holy Week vacation like no other.