Most of you reading this may be aware by now about the phreatic eruption of Taal Volcano. For many, you may have actually experienced the ashfall while on the road.
With ashfall reaching as far as the Northern end of Metro Manila, conditions have become quite dangerous, especially for those close to the Volcano, in places such as Batangas, Laguna, Cavite, and even Alabang in Muntinlupa.
While it is best not to drive or even step outside during such times, travel is often inevitable for some folks. This is why it is best to take steps to hve a safe journey—even if it is just a trip to the drug store to try and purchase the now-scarce face mask.
If you really must brave the ashfall, here are a few driving tips to keep in mind:
- Drive slowly.
There’s no point in speeding up. Maintain a speed of about 55kph or slower. If you’re traveling on the expressway, stay within the minimum speed limit, just to be sure.
- Keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front:
Just like driving through a storm, it would be best to avoid tailgating the vehicle in front of you. This is avoid catching the ash that is kicked up by the said vehicle’s tires.
- Keep the A/C in Recirculation mode:
This helps ensure that you do not inhale the air coming from outside, which is likely to be filled with sulfuric particles.
- Avoid idling the engine:
Idling the engine, in gridlock for instance, can lead to clogged filters. If stopping for an extended period while out on the road cannot be avoided, it is best to turn off the motor first.
- Avoid using your windshield wipers:
Ash can be very abrasive, which is why using the wipers to clear your vehicle’s windshield can scratch the glass—doing more harm than good. If you really must use the wipers, spray the windshield with water first using the washer. You might even consider having a water bottle handy to do the same.
- Turn on your headlights:
Remember that these are low visibility conditions so keeping your headlights on in low beam is advisable to allow other motorists to see you better. Do this even in the daytime, just to be safe.
- Pull over if visibility becomes really poor.
It is better to pull over in a safe location rather than proceed under zero visibility conditions. Nothing is worse than being stuck in a state of disarray. And yes, it is better to be safe than sorry.
Finally, have your car cleaned as soon as possible once yu reach your destination or arrive home. Ash can harden and damage your paint and as mentioned above, clog the filters.
Just a friendly reminder from us here at C! Magazine Stay safe, everyone!