Driving at Night Just Got Safer… Maybe.

Many times we make the trek into Calbayog City (Samar) late in the afternoon and wind up staying until after dark. The wife meets with her Zumba group in the evenings several nights during the week, and when I go with her, I’ll go to either the gym or just hang out somewhere and have a beer and wait for her to finish (I’m very unpredictible). When it’s time to head home, it’s a 12 kilometer, nerves-of-steel exercize, driving home through the “the gauntlet.” That’s what I call the national highway (AH26) here at night where everything from chickens and dogs to people to pedicabs ply the roadway… all with no lights!

There have been more than a few times where we would leave the city traveling the highway into the rural areas after dark where we have driven up on a pedicab operator peddling his lone passenger along at speeds that would make a turtle proud, endangering themselves and all other traffic on the road. Because I am near-sighted I wear eyeglasses to drive at night, but that does’t help me much on those dark nights when you approach one of these vehicles from the rear at breakneck speeds of 60 kph (about 37 mph). While you can easily travel at speeds of 80-85 kph during the day in the rural areas, it is foolish to try that after dark. Pedicabs never have lights and most times not even a single reflector. You just cannot see them in the dark. Like me, they are unpredictable!

Pedicab nusience
Pedicabs a plenty!

One evening I was passing a motorized trike – which are also safety hazzards in their own right… traveling slowly along with no tail lights and a barely functioning or no headlight – I almost took out an approaching pedicab in the opposite lane. I just didn’t see him until he was heading off the roadway towards the ditch. Well, it wasn’t really that close and he obviously took evasive action before I seen him, but ordeals like this are  disasters waiting to happen, and they happen way too often. It was too close for comfort for me anyway.

Anybody who drives here knows of the roadway hazards, and will probably be happy to hear this news. The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) has ordered the “ban” of tricycles, pedicabs and motorized pedicabs on national highways. My first thought when reading this notice was YEAH!!! But then I came to my senses and realised this is just another “national ordinance” that will be mostly uninforced… or will it?

Even if it does happen to be enforced way out here in the province, it doesn’t mean you can take your eyes off the road for one skinny second. Because all those other hazards remain! And just about the time anyone begins to feel a bit more comfortable driving at night, there will be that one rebeleous pedicab driver that is above the law. Always.

Read more about the latest DILG order here…

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