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Top Gear Philippines

Going against the flow of traffic

Earlier today, we posted the above photo on our Facebook page, courtesy of sender Ogie Tiglao. The picture clearly shows a taxicab going against the flow of traffic on what is visibly a one-way road. Which makes it really bad because, unlike a two-way street, a one-way road doesn't offer you a chance to get back to your proper lane should you encounter oncoming traffic.

And then people started giving their opinion.

While many easily saw the motoring misdeed in the photo, just as many Facebook users actually defended the cab driver, presuming right there and then that it must have been an emergency situation (by virtue of the headlights alone) and saying that the driver who had taken the photo should have just given way instead. "You'd also do that if you had an emergency involving a family member," the cabbie apologists insisted.

Our stand?

We think this is ill-advised, however which way you look at it. To repeat what we already posted on the thread:

We can argue all day, but this is wrong. You don't endanger the safety of more people trying to save one person (assuming this is indeed an emergency in the first place). Stop appealing to the emotions and asking soap-operatic questions like: "If your loved one had to be rushed to the hospital, wouldn't you do the same?" Because if that's your line of argument, let's absolve every criminal who claims to have done wrong for the sake of a family member ("I robbed the store only because I needed to pay my sick child's hospital bills"). You probably won't agree with the analogy, but it's the same. An emergency doesn't give you the right to compromise other people's safety. Even ambulances and fire trucks are not this reckless.

And if we may add: What if you figured in an accident trying to perform this driving stunt? You would waste more time (and resources) than if you had opted to slice through normal traffic. Driving against the flow of traffic is only cool in Fast & Furious and Need For Speed. In the real world, the odds are high you will either crash into another vehicle or sideswipe a pedestrian. Some people spend too much time playing Grand Theft Auto.

One person said it best: What if the cars going in the right direction also have an emergency? Who gave that one vehicle the absolute right to do whatever it pleases on the road, even taking into account an emergency? The readiness--the willingness--to inconvenience and endanger dozens of other people to benefit one individual needing medical assistance (again, if this was indeed a medical emergency to begin with), is rooted in the same self-serving motivation that drives politicians to screw the whole country to benefit a privileged few.

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Feel free to argue. And take the poll while you're at it.

Is it perfectly all right to break traffic rules and compromise other people's safety in case of a personal emergency?
Yes, especially if the life or safety of a loved one is critically at stake
No. An emergency doesn't give one the right to put everyone's safety at risk

Vernon B. Sarne
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