Taking on traffic in the Philippines means dealing with a host of systemic problems on a daily basis. From glacial congestion, to confusing laws, to poorly maintained infrastructure, to all sorts of hazards, driving here is challenging. All our traffic woes has lead to an incredibly irate group of people who know we deserve better.
Enter James Deakin. Besides being an established automotive journalist, Deakin is also known as a motoring advocate. For most people, his Facebook page has become a go-to source for the latest in traffic policy. Through his social media presence, he also crowdsources and shares consumer advice and driving tips.
In August 2017, Deakin appeared in a Senate hearing to defend ride-sharing companies. “The Filipino is worth driving for,” he said, echoing the iconic phrase. To many people, Deakin leads the charge for better traffic management policy and more sensible automotive regulation. He’s become the big brother we go to when we have questions about cars.
On Buying Secondhand Cars
As an advocate for better traffic conditions, Deakin believes buying secondhand cars can actually help reduce traffic congestion. According to Deakin, when you buy a secondhand car, you buy something that already exists. Granted, the person you’re buying the car from might be getting a new car. However, he says that it’s out of one’s control. And it still does not change the fact that the buyer does not add another car on the road.
Deakin himself is no stranger to secondhand cars. In fact, Deakin got his first two cars from secondhand networks. He says it all really comes down to maintenance.
“That first car was a 1995 Mazda 323 Familia. It was a very faithful car. It’s still around. I kept it until about 5 years ago. It’s now a service vehicle for my brother’s business.”
For people who worry about the effect of older cars on the environment, Deakin says that as long as a car is well-maintained, there should be no problems.
“Don’t pass on your problems. A lot of people say it’s time to sell a car when it starts to get problems. I don’t think that’s very responsible. If you pass that problem to other people, it’s not a cool thing to do.”
Deakin stresses that it’s important to take care of a car, especially when you’re about to sell it. As much as possible, he advises sellers to cut their losses. This means having the car repaired at a trusted talyer and do what needs to be done. Deakin also emphasizes the importance all the car’s paperwork ready any given time.
“Make sure that you have a clear conscience by selling a car that’s roadworthy and won’t give any problems,” he says.
All in all, when it comes to secondhand cars, for Deakin it all boils down to two things: safety and diligence. When transacting, it’s important that both parties do so in a safe manner. When selling, there’s a due diligence to be done to ensure the car’s roadworthiness. Any unroadworthy car on the street is an accident waiting to happen.
Of course, the motoring advocate admits this due diligence can only go so far. There are still plenty of hazards out on the road. Beyond making sure a car is roadworthy, he also has the following pieces of advice:
- Get a dash cam. He says he’s seen good dash cams priced P4,000 and up.
- For protection, make your tint dark enough that you’re just a silhouette but not too dark that you can’t be seen. Around 35% tint is good enough.
- Expect the unexpected. Watch out for hazards like potholes, floods, pedestrians crossing, animals on the road, and reckless drivers.
- If you have rear-facing lights, turn them off when you’re in the city. You don’t need them.
While these things sound like common sense, it’s important to remember the basics.
Stay safe, keep your car well-maintained, and enjoy the ride. Happy driving, OLXers!
This is part one of two parts.