How Real Moms Deal with Traffic

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The sad state of Metro Manila's traffic situation has got everybody up in arms. It's been reported that some people have had to wake up at four in the morning for work, only to find themselves late at the office. It's an unpleasant situation that's costing the nation so many man-hours of productivity and so many gallons of gasoline, not to mention a bunch of frazzled nerves.

Among those stuck in traffic day in and day out are moms. These are moms who are on their way to work or out doing errands.

Enid Frances Carreon Viana, mom of three, says, “Traffic is something everyone abhors. It takes time away from our families, time we need for our jobs, time from the things that we need to do and want to do. Most times, instead of using the weekend to go places, we just stay home and avoid the traffic.”

"When you're three months pregnant and battling morning sickness and the urge to pee all the time, being stuck in traffic is hell,” says Candice Lim-Venturanza, mom of one.

"And to think that these days I only drive to bring my kid to school, which is four kilometers away, but takes about 30 minutes of travel time.”

Meg Isleta, mom of two, says, “It's a bit of a struggle but one needs now to add extra time to travel from one place to another. If that's not enough, it's against one's control. I think traffic is a character builder and a test every day of one's character. How you react to it, cope with it, deal with it...”

Patience and discipline are what Krissell Cortez Ragaza exercises whenever she's stuck in a traffic jam. A mom of one, she says one has to be patient when stuck in traffic. At the same time, one has to be disciplined. She says, “We need to follow traffic rules and give way to other vehicles to lessen traffic.”

Making the most of time stuck in traffic

As frustrated as these moms are, they've found ways to take advantage of the time they're stuck in traffic.

Krissell checks her inbox for any updates, manages her calendar, and makes client calls.

"If I'm not driving, I pray, do grocery lists, plan my day, relax,” says Meg. “If I'm driving, I make sure I bring my favorite music to play.”

Enid says, “I tinker with my phone until I get bored or my husband and I would try to amuse each other. Most times, when I know it would be extra hard to go home, I do not bring the car and instead take the P2P or use Grab or Uber. At least, I am not stressed over traffic.”

"I usually take the time to talk to my son about his day and what he learned in school. Sometimes when I'm bored, I take photographs of traffic violators,” says Candice.

Forwarding solutions

Having spent a lot of time stuck in traffic, these moms have their own ideas of how to alleviate the situation.

Enid starts off. “If I were the traffic czar, I would go ahead with the law discouraging people with no parking space from buying a car. I would also push the use of P2P and make it available in more places."

Among other things, Enid says that it may be a good idea to regulate the number of vehicles that an organization can acquire, give a separate lane for vehicles and motorcycle/bicycles, and encourage people to walk if their workplace is within walking distance.

Krissell adds that vehicles more than seven years old should be taken off the road.

"We need traffic enforcers to enforce the law, especially on PUVs. Ever noticed how the officers only try to catch drivers of private vehicles and trucks, but condone PUVs? PUVs are supposed to ease traffic because they transport more people from one point to another. But when they take up two lanes to load and unload, they cause traffic themselves. Designated stops should be followed both by jeeps and buses,” says Candice.

"Also, maybe the schools should rethink the class schedule. Kids these days wake up at 4 AM just to make it to class on time. Maybe it would help to adjust class hours after the rush hour. Schools should also give incentive to students who take the school bus. I've seen so many private cars picking up kids these days. That wasn't the case when I was a kid. Everyone took the bus."