The lack of a real driving test in the Philippines is causing the country so many problems, accidents, traffic jams, slow traffic could all be fixed by having a driving test.
It seems like every day in the media they are talking about a new system to reduce the traffic but none of them will work unless drivers know how to drive correctly.
Many of the traffic jams in the Philippines are caused by poor driving, making 2 or more lanes to turn left, cutting junctions, being in the wrong lane, pulling out in front of people on a through road, the list goes on and on.
When someone visits the country for the first time the poor standard of driving comes as a shock. I have had many visitors ask me if there are any rules to the road here because it seems like a free for all with no rules.
I should point out that I am not criticising Filipinos and saying they are all bad drivers, I know some very good Filipino drivers, it is the system that is at fault because it does not ensure that people know how to drive before they are allowed on the road.
Philippines Driving Test
Some readers at this point will be saying there are driving tests in the Philippines, while this is true there is a very simple driving test it hardly checks to see if you can drive correctly and know the rules of the road.
The written test is made up of random questions from a list of 100 questions which can be found online, hardly a tough test it is so easy that I tried the test on LTO website and did it in Tagalog a language I know very few words, and I was still able to pass it.
As for the practical driving test which involves driving a car once or twice around a square or a circle, all that proves is you can make a car move and you can stop it. It does not prove that you can drive in real road situations.
Many do not know they are Driving Incorrectly
Some of the things that other drivers have said to me has made me realise that many simply do not know the rules of the road.
Just 2 weeks ago I was met by a driver that was contra flowing, he expected the drivers coming towards him to move over reducing it to one lane in the other direction, his reason for contra flowing was there was traffic and it became clear he believed it was legal to contraflow and make an extra lane when there was traffic.
Other things that I have had drivers insist they are right when clearly they are not are a motorcycle that overtook me on the inside and 10 metres later turning right causing me to slam on the brakes, on talking to him he was unaware that what he did was wrong.
When approaching a junction being met by drivers that are turning left that are on the wrong side of the road cutting the junction, again they seem to have no idea that you should not cut a junction.
Rather than waiting in line at a turning coming alongside the car in front making two, three or even for lanes, so blocking the turn for everyone else. Again they simply do not know this is wrong and they have never been tested to see if they know how to drive correctly.
So how would a driving test help?
A real road driving test over 30 minutes to an hour would make sure drivers knew the rules of the road.
A real driving test should be on real roads with real traffic, the route should always vary so no one knows what route they will be asked to take, and should be planned to take in left and right turns, Y junctions and as many types of driving situations as possible.
Making sure people know how to drive correctly would help ease congestion on the countries roads, they would now it is wrong to make 2 or 3 lanes when turning, they would now it is wrong to contraflow, they would know which lane to drive in, they would learn to give way to traffic on a through road. All this and more would keep traffic flowing better.
LTO Does not have time to do real Driving Tests
I remember reading before that when they tried to introduce better driving tests LTO said it does not have time to test in such away.
I guess it comes down to what is more important peoples lives or being able to get a drivers licence quickly. It is normal in many countries to have to wait two to three months to get a driving test.
Await of two to three months is not a bad thing it is a good thing it gives people wanting to take their driving tests plenty of time to study the rules of the road, and to have driving lessons. The fact that if they fail they have to wait another 2 to 3 months means they do all they can to pass their driving test first time, so they study more.
What if you can’t pass the Philippines Driving Test
There will be many people unable to pass their driving test for many reasons. Some people simply have the wrong attitude, some lack the common sense to pass it, others can simply not get the knack of controlling a car and many fail because of nerves. While it might seem hard not allowing someone to drive because of nervousness you have to think if their nervousness is a problem in a driving test it might well become a problem on the road.
In some countries in Europe, the pass rate for driving tests is only 43%, many of those that fail will go on and pass in other attempts but some simply never pass.
It all comes down to if you are unable to pass a driving test you are probably a danger to other road users and should not be driving.
It is time for LTO to introduce real driving tests.