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10 Motoring New Year’s Resolutions for 2021

Declaring New Year’s Resolutions has been a common practice for many over the years. As the current year ends and the new one begins, we coincide our wishes to change a bad habit or behavior, or accomplish a goal in order to set a definitive start for the better. 

Granted not everyone ends up accomplishing their goals as the year wears on, but it is still a good start to the year for someone to seriously take on a commitment for the better. Who knows, if enough people see their resolutions through, we might live through a better world ahead.

Since you have made it this far in the motoring section, let us say goodbye to the year that was 2020 with these New Year’s Resolutions. Remember, if we want to change things around us  for the better, we must be first willing to change ourselves. 

I will thoroughly read my car’s owner’s manual 

Ah yes. How many times have we asked about  problems with our car only to have been too lazy to look up the answers in the owner’s manual? Many of the questions you bring up on social media like, “What does this light on the dashboard mean?”, or “What oil should I use on my car’s engine?”, or even, “What air pressure should I put in my tires?”, are all information printed on your car’s owner’s manual. As a responsible car owner, you should at least know how your vehicle operates. And reading the car’s owner’s manual is the first step to your emancipation from ignorance.  

I will obey all traffic rules

How many times have we cursed  others on the road for not obeying basic traffic regulations? While we condemn the other guy for jumping the red light, or overtaking on a double yellow lane road, or parking beside a no parking sign, the real question should be, “Have we never violated road rules ourselves?” Resolving to dutifully and religiously obey traffic signs, lane markings, and road conventions, is the start of the change we deserve. The more we commit to this resolution, the saner and safer our roads will be.

I will study all the pertinent road laws and teach them to as many as I can

The Freedom of Information Executive Order signed by President Duterte allows normal individuals like us to request for copies of the latest laws, regulations, and memoranda from transportation related agencies of the government. 

Need to know the exact guidelines when RFIDs malfunction at the expressways? Or how about up to when you can register your car without penalties? The exact fines for installing aftermarket lights? All these and more are covered by their respective memoranda which you can search for at the agencies’ own websites. 

Keeping yourself and more of the people you know informed is key to transforming the behavior of motorists on the road. The more we know, the less we are prone to mistakes. The less mistakes, the more orderly we become on the road. 

I will use my signal lights and make way for those who do

Perhaps one of the easiest resolutions we can all undertake. Using your signal lights way before changing lanes and conceding the space ahead for someone who has signalled his intention to switch to the lane you are on, are two simple acts that will lessen stress on the road. Remember, we are all merely sharing the street. Our lane is not “ours”, it is meant for everyone to use. So giving way and letting others know in advance your intentions, are key to creating a calm and relaxing driving experience. 

I will stop for a crossing pedestrian

Pedestrians are the most defenseless road users. Think about it, what will protect them from a two-ton metal object hurtling towards them at speed? As motorists, it should be our obligation to let pedestrians cross in peace, without them second guessing whether we will stop for them or not. And as pedestrians, it should also be our duty to make use of pedestrian lanes or walkways at all times. Let us not play patintero  with cars. Both parties will only end up losing. 

I will fall in line and not cut in front of another car

What is so hard about falling in line? Everyone is going to get to where they are going anyway. If you have missed the line going into a flyover or a tunnel, or a toll booth, suck it up. You should have planned your move hundreds of meters earlier. Learn from it and the next time you pass by the area, be in the right position ahead of time and save others from your inconsiderate behavior. The mentality that you should one up on everybody else should stop.

I will not inconvenience or unduly stress out others on the road

Forcing your way through on the road and getting away with it is an attitude that easily triggers rage and can even lead to accidents. Respecting others as equals creates a culture of safety and decency. Tailgating a merging car instead of taking turns with other motorists is just a selfish practice that has to stop. Forcing others to brake for you is just the height of entitlement motoring should be rid of. Again, sharing road space is the key

If you want to create and foster a driving culture based on amicable sharing, you should not deprive others of their space and momentum as well. 

I will be critical of poorly implemented government measures

Over the years, there have been many government regulations that may have served the public  better had they been given more thought, planned more meticulously, and implemented with efficiency. Sadly, it has been the curse of the motorist to endure such ill-conceived and haphazardly executed programs. But it does not have to be this way. 

We should demand better service from the government. We should call their attention whenever they fall short. And we should remind them that we deserve more than half-baked projects and being made to endure the life of a lab rat.

But I will also actively contribute well-researched solutions to problems

Harping about what is wrong with traffic and motoring in general is only half the effort. Doing something about is the real big step towards change. Offering tongue-in-cheek solutions or band-aid measures devoid of historical perspective does not fully contribute to addressing the problem. It only stirs up rancor and divides. 

Read up on the problem, study the papers made by transportation and urban planning experts and ask for information before you hit the keyboards. Who knows? That eureka moment could be yours. 

I will use my car less

Sounds counterintuitive but hear us out. Remember back in April, when we were all under ECQ lockdown and there were hardly any cars on the road? Did you see how clear the skies were? How quiet and peaceful everything was? How clean the roads had become with fewer cars on them? 

With ongoing improvements to public transport in the pipeline, it is hoped that more and more people will opt for the convenience a properly operating bus or train line is supposed to offer. The coming COVID-19 vaccine should help us see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

Despite our hopes for a better, safer and more peaceful future, in the end, it will be up to us to start the changes needed to achieve the life we aspire for. We have learned a lot in 2020, like what we can do and what we can be when deprived of what we have taken for granted for so long. Armed with this self-realization, let us all come together to make 2021 and beyond a better place to drive in. 

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