Mad drivers taking over our roads

May 18, 2018
Women coming out of a taxi in downtown Kingston.

I am following up on my last column, in which I mentioned that we are slow to learn from the accidents that have claimed so many lives this year, because I really don't think people appreciate the level of insanity that takes place on our roads.

Most mornings, I have to drive home through Half-Way Tree, St Andrew, and the difference between the taxi and bus drivers' behaviour there and a couple hundred metres up, along Eastwood Park Road, is quite interesting.

At minutes to seven each morning, Half-Way Tree is a mess. People are heading to work and looking for taxis that seem to own the road. North Odeon Avenue is a traffic jam of cabs and buses whose drivers have keen eyes out for passengers.

Most times, they are jostling for positions at the traffic light that controls traffic filtering out on to Eastwood Park Road. The jostling, while chaotic, is somewhat controlled by the occasional police patrol vehicle that manages to keep the drivers in check for the most part. Of course, they have many windows of opportunity in-between patrol vehicles arriving.

However, once the vehicles enter Eastwood Park Road and the police are nowhere in sight, what happens between there and the traffic lights at Dunrobin Avenue can be likened to the Paris/Dakar Rally.

There are mornings when you see the Toyota taxis literally skipping between the potholes while dodging buses filled with passengers that are doing at least 60 or 70mph. It's a mad dash, and if you are a driver who tries to stay within the boundaries of the road code, you have to have your wits about you just to be able to navigate the roadway.

It is not outside the realm of possibility to find that you have to slam on your brakes repeatedly as cabs and buses duck into your lane from both left and right, seemingly oblivious to the possibility of slamming into each other and risking life and limb of every passenger on board.

Most mornings, when I get to the relative safety of Dunrobin Avenue, I breathe a sigh of relief that I actually avoided death and destruction along that perilous stretch of roadway. I am amazed that someone hasn't already died along that stretch.

The police can't be everywhere, and the scary thing is that in the spaces between where they are, the true nature of our indiscipline and wanton disregard for life is on full display.

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