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Top Gear Philippines

Philippine National Police car

In remembrance of Halloween, I'm listing down the 10 scariest vehicles you will ever have the misfortune of meeting on the road. By scary, I do not mean spooky in a horror-movie kind of way. You won't find the Hyundai Tucson zombie surivival machine here. Or a black hearse for that matter, even though the thought of getting trapped at the tail end of a burial procession can be pretty horrifying. By scary, I mean vehicles that actually make you fear for your and your passengers' safety.

Let us begin the countdown, starting from the least scary all the way up to the scariest.

10. Underbone motorcycle. This is not to disparage the riding community. There are many responsible motorcyclists out there, but they seem to be outnumbered by the reckless ones. These daredevils dive in between cars, race each other, and flat-out disregard pedestrians. Some of them even ride drunk--without a helmet. Good luck running into them at midnight.

9. Illegal street-race car. If you think street racing is already a thing of the past, you'd most definitely be wrong. Street racing is alive and well, especially on Macapagal Avenue in Pasay City on Saturday nights. They do this even with other private cars passing by. Heck, they do this even with cops patrolling the area. Tell them off and they'd verbally abuse you like they owned the pavement. Pray one of them doesn't careen onto the other side of the road and crash into you.

8. Highway Patrol Group motorcycle. Even when you're not doing anything wrong, the mere presence of a highway cop in close proximity to your car is enough to make you feel paranoid. These motorbike-riding officers are especially frightening when escorting a "VIP" politician. They shoo you away like you were some undesirable insect and their boss the untouchable god of the universe, giving you enough stuff to rant about when you see your shrink.

7. Tow truck. It's bad enough that many places in the metro do not have clear parking (or no-parking) signs; it's even worse that tow trucks appear out of nowhere without the slightest of warnings. They tow "illegally parked" vehicles not really to help ease the flow of traffic but to make a quick buck from unsuspecting car owners. And as you watch your poor economy van being pulled away, you see a couple of shiny supercars occupying no-parking spots on the road. For some reason, these ultra-expensive automobiles are invisible.

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6. Old jeepney. Amusing how this vehicle has managed to remain on our roads even if 95% of its parts will no longer pass an international roadworthiness test. Most of them don't even have a seatbelt for the driver, let alone for passengers. A jeepney colliding head-on with a truck is like a can of sardines under the full force of a hammer's whack.

5. EDSA bus. The fact that bus drivers do not have fixed salaries and that they simply rely on ticket sales, means these flying coffins will weave in and out of traffic at breakneck speeds in hopes of getting to a passenger-loading area ahead of everyone else. Yes, they'll do this even (and especially) if you're in the way.

4. Dilapidated truck. Let's see: worn-out brake pads, treadless tires, run-down mechanical components, excess payload, sleep-deprived driver. Why wouldn't you be scared if you saw one hurtling in your direction on a two-lane rural road?

3. Provincial bus. Imagine a 12-ton mass of heavy metal being driven like a Formula 1 car by a speed maniac, and then picture this humongous rocket smashing into your compact sedan on a zigzag road up north. No contest.

2. Nissan Patrol with an "8" plate. Nothing screams "get out of the way" like a politician's black and heavily tinted full-size SUV with a protocol plate. Stand your ground and you might be offered a peek into the thick barrel of a bodyguard's revolver.

1. Philippine National Police car. Ah, is there anything more frightening on the road than the sight of a police car? Funny how the one organization that promises "to serve and protect" us is the very source of our anguish and anxiety. I don't know about you, but seeing a cop car doesn't make me feel safe--it makes me feel like something bad is about to happen. Creepy.

Artwork by Raynand Olarte

Vernon B. Sarne
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