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How to have a great 2020 road experience

By Jeanette Ipapo-Tuason Philippine Daily Inquirer January 08,2020

A lot of people posted in their feed how 2020 will be different for them.

Goals, improvements, and reductions. January is probably the month where people are most positive about everything. We are all kinder, more energetic, and more pleasant. Until we get fed up with everything that doesn’t work in our lives. Tempers are awakened, patience and kindness take a backseat.

If you have read a lot of self-help books or watched a lot of the positivism videos, you probably encountered the lesson for a happier life: change what you can control and let go of the things you don’t have control of.

So, for my first column piece for 2020, I want to start on a positive note, ’cause hey, it’s January. I have listed down things that I think we have control and no control of, that influence our road experience, in hopes that it will give us a better one for 2020.

No Control

1) Construction. There are a lot of congestion in the country because of road, bridge and rail constructions. According to property expert David Leechiu, we are seeing a lot more infrastructure being built by this administration, which will be completed by 2021. The last time we had this kind of development was during the construction of the Maharlika roads in the ’70s.

2) Undisciplined road users. You’ve seen that viral photo where one bus decides to block the other lanes of Edsa to get passengers, thus creating a big bottleneck. Unfortunately, one or two jerks on the road can ruin the day of millions. Is it because we Filipinos lost the meaning of consideration when we updated our Abakada? (if you know this word you just dated yourself)

3) Rain. One of the funniest jokes about traffic is that it’s like instant noodles. You just need to add water. With a country with four seasons, Warm, Warmer, Wet, and Wetter. Water is a given.

4) Waze ghosting you. 2019 was the year of ghosting not just in relationships but also with Waze. There are many times while I was trying to find a better route, Waze decided to give up on me.

Things you can control

1) Your mindset regarding construction and or undisciplined road user. You can be mad and do a full-on rage on social media. But it doesn’t really give you anything but an extra wrinkle and an ugly disposition. Instead, think of it as the tunnel before reaching the silver lining. After all the roads are done, traffic will be better. As for undisciplined road users, in the next couple of years will come up with an excellent education program or something like Hydra’s Project Insight with an algorithm that targets unruly road users (if you don’t know what this means, watch the 2014 movie Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

2) Your driving etiquette. It’s very unsettling when you are trying to queue up, and people go to the shoulder to overtake. As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them. But this is precisely why our traffic situation will not work no matter what color coding scheme or how many roads is built. If you show and practice discipline, better yet promote it, one ripple can make a big difference.

3) Your cabin experience. You can either spend four hours in your life in a pigsty or a fortress of solitude and peace. If you have the money, you can transform your car into an office or put beds on it. If you don’t, you can just keep it clean and diffuse lavender oil.

4) Which App to follow. Lately, Google Maps are becoming more reliable than Waze. Or maybe you can rely on your own Spidey sense, like my husband JP, who has his “JAZE”.

5) Being a victim or victor. I choose to be a winner. There are lots of strategies on how to win against traffic. Best time to leave; options like Point to Point bus, carpooling, even asking for flexitime for work.

One popular story on having an optimistic mindset is when a psychologist put twin babies with different dispositions in two separate rooms. The pessimist one was placed in a room full of toys and goodies. The optimist was placed in a room full of manure and a shovel. The pessimist ended up crying. When asked why he felt overwhelmed, because he didn’t know which toy to play with first. While the optimist was happily shoveling the manure around. His answer was, with all the manure in this room, there must be a pony somewhere.

We can either be the pessimist or the optimist. The operative word is, you are in control. I guess if I play optimist about our traffic situation; with all the cars on the road, there’s probably a Big Sale somewhere! Happy New Year!

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