Are we accident prone during the holidays?

When it comes to vehicular crashes that cause fatalities, December has been one of the highest based on statistics from the MMDA for 2019 and 2020. We’re still waiting for the 2021 report, but if the accidents recorded by various news outlets and over social media are indicators, we’re looking at a high number again.

Since November 2021, there have been numerous collisions that have resulted in damage to property, injuries, and even death. Some incidents include an SUV that burst into flames along TPLEX (thankfully all eight passengers survived), a speeding MPV that rammed into a tricycle in Malabon killing two people instantly, an out-of-control dump truck that took the lives of five people and injured 10 others in Cebu, a driver perishes after crashing his SUV into the rear of a truck in Iloilo, and another just falling asleep behind the wheel and hits EDSA concrete barriers.

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In the last week alone -the week between Christmas and New Year- there were several serious and even fatal accidents. MMDA's Bong Nebrija spoke of two incidents on EDSA wherein a motorcycle rider crossed EDSA, crashed, and was thrown onto the Quezon Avenue tunnel. The rider didn't make it. In Pasig during New Year, a gray sedan smashed into a motorcycle rider and then sped off. The rider didn't make it either. Earlier in December, Vince (our Editor) almost figured in a head-on collision with another vehicle. His Navara was saved only by the concrete barrier, as the driver of the other vehicle fell asleep.

We get it. You’re feeling stressed, cooped up and you feel the need to knock back a bottle or two. It doesn’t help either that restrictions have eased and people have gathered for Christmas parties and reunions. Others may just be tired and foolishly floor it in a rush to get home only to end up in an accident. But sometimes though, it’s just the lure of a traffic-free road and the urge to see how fast you can go that puts people in these dangerous situations.

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Police reports indicate that in at least two of the cases, the drivers (and probably even the passengers) were coming from a party prior to the accident. Meanwhile, surveillance feeds and onlookers’ accounts say the dump truck driver was racing, and for the burning SUV, it will take a forensic investigation to find out what happened. There was even one incident on the expressway where an SUV lost one of its wheels at speed and crashed; the passenger didn't make it.

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These are some examples of why it’s important to take care of yourself and your vehicle before hitting the road. This is where we have to make the distinction between crash and accident. The latter implies the possibility that it was no one's fault, and that it just happened. That couldn't be further from the reality. There is a cause for every crash, and oftentimes it can be attributed to some kind of neglect or carelessness whether it's behind the wheel or some external factor.

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You can make a to-do list of things to check before driving but why bother when the MMDA has a great acronym that covers everything. It’s BLOWBAGETS and it stands for Brake, Lights, Oil, Water, Battery, Air, Gas, Engine, Tire, and Self. It may look like a tedious process but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

For the Self part, it’s very simple. Don’t drive under the influence. Don't drive sleepy or tired or if you're drowsy from cold meds. Don’t get bullied into racing on the street and definitely don’t let your pride get the best of you. Keep your cool, always. Your ego is the worst and most dangerous driver on the road.

If everyone just followed these, expect crashes to be reduced dramatically. It's just that during Christmas -especially the one that just passed- the major collisions were too frequent to ignore.