I used to be a speed demon.
I had been in a major road accident once. It featured an Optimus Prime lookalike and me in my little car. Ever since that accident, I always try to be a little bit more careful every time I am behind the wheel. Who knows? Maybe, if ever there’s a next time, I won’t be as lucky as I was with Prime.
Last year I joined the current company I am with. Honestly, we are really crazy about safety. We make sure that all employees are safe in the course of their duties, even off the job. Joining this company made me doubly conscious about how I do things –driving included. Joining this company last year also came at the same time that I was really serious about slowing down. As I slowed down, I noticed that there are really a lot of assholes on the road. How can I not notice? I used to be one of them. It takes one to know one.
So far, from what have I observed, assholes outnumber the decent drivers on the road There are still those who beat red lights. There are still a lot of cars that swerve and not use turn signals while doing a lane merge. There are motorcycles who just cut into lanes coming from blind sides. Then there are the crazy pedestrians.
There are pedestrians that seem to just come out of nowhere to cross the street. Some people even try to cross eight-lane highways; sprinting across like madmen. There are even those who scale the center island just to get across. No one seems to mind how people cross the street. I’ll just call it deadly freerunning.
I don’t know how a driver in the Philippines can really be sure when pedestrians will stick to road rules or just wing it and engage in risky road behavior. This is why I am extra-careful whenever there are a lot of people on the road at the same time as I am. While it’s common practice in the Philippines to just “estimate” the space on pedestrian crossings and just zoom through –even when there are people — I find it more convenient to just stop. Stopping at pedestrian crossing lanes allow all people to just pass through without worry. It’s just too bad that not a lot of drivers here share that same thought. They’d still want to just “time” their pass through with a great deal of precision.
Being on a crossing lane does not make it automatically safe for one to cross the road. Like some sort of an evolved response, some pedestrians do not cross the road even if you stop for them. Funny thing is — whenever you DO stop — pedestrians have gotten so used to bad treatment on the road, they always appear to be in a state of disbelief that a vehicle actually stopped and is waiting for them to cross. Most of the time they appear frozen at the side of the road. I also started to notice that they pause for a good second or two. It’s almost like “first to blink” doesn’t get to cross.
Now, here’s my question: Have we all gotten used to bad behavior to the point that we appear dumbfounded if someone does something nice?