Sleepy Manila Taxi Drivers

A few nights ago, I unbelievably experienced for the third time a ride in a taxi where the driver would fall asleep behind the wheel an uncountable number of times. To give a rough idea of what I mean let me recall the first time such an incident happened to me. It was in a cab ride home that took us through the busy, speedy roads of C-5. The taxi would jerk back n’ forth as the driver fell asleep and his foot would slip off the accelerator pedal. Sometimes we’d come to an almost complete stop much to the disapproval of the queue of cars behind us. Then once in a while when we had picked up speed again, Mr. Narcoleptic would nod off and then the taxi would proceed to swerve into another lane again much to the chagrin of the other motorists. I of course did my best to keep the driver awake and entertained by chatting to him but this hardly helped.

Some of you might be thinking, “Why the heck didn’t you just ask him to stop and then look for another cab?” To my defense, we were on C-5 and the chances of getting another cab there were quite slim. On the other hand I probably should’ve been asking myself “Would I rather wait an eternity for another taxi on the side of the road? Or would I rather stay in this coffin on wheels and die a horrible death?”

The next time I had such an experience wasn’t as bad, as this taxi driver only started nodding off a couple of times which some would say is a couple of times too many. The third on the other hand is where I drew the line. But for the first few minutes of my giving him directions to take me home, Mr. Rip Van Winkle, was pretty much falling asleep the whole trip! It got to the point where I really actually did ask him to pull over and let me out as I felt a real fear of getting into an accident albeit a very low-speed one. To top off the merry trip home he had the audacity to remark  “Hey at the speed I drive, at least you know you’re safe!”

I do feel kind of sorry for these drivers as some do have 24-hr shifts which they take on out of necessity. But I reckon as a general rule, taxi driver or not, if you’re feeling drowsy behind the wheel you should pull over & take a 5 minute break to recharge yourself. If you don’t want to do this then at the very least, don’t take on passengers and just keep the number of lives endangered to a minimum, preferably just yourself.

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