Philippines Speed limit

Do Low Philippines Speed Limits Cause Traffic Jams and Accidents?

Suggesting that low Philippines Speed limits is the cause traffic jams and accidents is probably going to cause some controversy, however there is some logic in this argument.

In the Philippines speed limits are very low.

Philippines Speed Limits

Philippines Speed limit


If you use Waze when you drive and look at the speed limits you will see that even a lot of dual carriageways in the Philippines are regarded as through streets” or boulevards so have a 40kph (25mph) speed limit on them.

(A dual carriageway is a road with 2 or more lanes in each direction with a solid dividing strip in the middle.)

If you have ever driven in Europe you will realise just how low Philippines speed limits are.

We will compare them to the UK so you can see what we mean.

UK Speed Limits

UK Speed Limits

*UK Motorway = Philippines Expressway

Comparing Philippines Speed Limits

If we compare built-up areas what are classed as city and municipal streets in the Philippines, you will see the speed limit is 48kph in the UK compared to just 30kph in the Philippines, so 18kph higher in the UK.

Next lets look at dual carriageways on country roads the speed limit is 112kph in the UK and just 80kph in the Philippines. In built up area in the Philippines they are regarded as boulevards so the speed limit is 40kph in the UK such a road will often have a marked speed limit which is normally 40mph which is 64kph, that is a whopping 24kph faster than the same type of road in the Philippines.

Because many cities in the Philippines are very large and spread out and often one city merges into the next with no countryside between them, it means you can drive long distances at a maximum of 40kph.

Speed Kills

Every motoring organisation in the world will tell you the faster you drive the more likely you are to have a fatal accident. While I totally agree with this there are other factors to consider.

World Health Organisation

If you look at the World Health Organisation (WHO) figures the Estimated road traffic death rate (per 100 000 population) for the Philippines in 2013 it was 10.5 per 100 000 population, in that same year it was just 2.9 per 100 000 population in the UK, yet in the UK they drive much faster.

We know at this point you will be saying there are many other factors that account for this, such as strict driving tests in the UK where you have to pass a test driving on the streets not just a classroom test. There is also the fact laws are strictly enforced in the UK, as is strict tests to make sure vehicles are roadworthy.

If you have driven in Europe you will probably be thinking another reason is drivers have more courtesy in Europe and pull out of junctions in front of you far less. It is rare to see drivers contraflow in Europe, the list goes on and on.

This is where it becomes controversial

Could the reason why so many drivers in the Philippines seem to have so little regard for other road users, why they pull out in front of you, contraflow, use 2 or more lanes to turn left and the many other things they do that are cause congestion and are dangerous be down to the fact they know that most people are travelling so slow they have time to stop.

If you pull out in front of other drivers in the UK it is very likely because of the speed they travel at they will hit you, so you make sure you don’t pull out in front of other cars.

If you block the lanes of a dual carriageway to make a turn in the UK someone is going to drive into the back of you, if you are lucky it will just be a car and you will get a shunt and maybe whiplash. If it is a truck it is going to right-off your car, push it distance along the road and cause you serious injury or even kill you, because of the speed trucks travel at it will not be able to stop in time. So you don’t block a dual carriageway because of this.

If you contraflow in the UK something is going to come at you at speed and there will be a head on accident that you would be lucky to walk away from.

I am sure you can think of many more things drivers do in the Philippines but it is very rare for drivers in Europe to do, simply because the speed other vehicles travel at makes it to dangerous.

Slow vehicles travelling in the overtaking lane (Left hand lane in the Philippines) is something you see all the time in the Philippines, they slow up , cause congestion and make other drivers undertake which is dangerous. In the UK if you travel in the overtaking lane doing just 30 to 40kph someone is going to rear end you for sure because of the speed they drive at, so you don’t drive at low-speed in the overtaking lane.  

Pedestrians Behavior because of Philippines Speed Limits

In the Philippines it is normal to see people walking in the road and it does not seem to matter what sort of road it is, it is also normal for people to step out in front of you and just put their hand up for you to stop, many don’t even look before crossing. Could the reason for this be they know most people are driving slow enough to stop or avoid them. Maybe if the traffic was faster they would realise how dangerous it is and not do it.

In the UK people don’t walk in the road taking up a whole lane of a dual carriageway because they know vehicles are travelling to fast to stop for them.

To Conclude

We are not suggesting people should drive faster or break Philippines Speed Limits, we are just making the observation that maybe the reason that people do things that cause traffic jams and possible accidents in the Philippines is because most vehicles are driving so slow they do not fear them and because of this they expect them to giveaway or stop for them. In crowded streets the difference between the 20kph speed limit in the Philippines and the 48kph in the UK, makes a huge difference to how people behave in front of them vehicles,

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