There is no time better than the present to remind drivers to be cautious on the road. The calls for Barbadians to drive with care and to observe all road markings and signs have come from various sectors of society, and the number of accidents of late cannot be discounted. There has been a growing trend of recklessness and carelessness exhibited by drivers across this country, compounded by the fact that there are many young, new and inexperienced road users who have not fully grasped or practised the correct use of our highways in particular.
There are basic rules that govern safe driving, but growing impatience is proving to be a detriment for others who are unsuspecting. In addition, it is important to remember that with the rainfall, albeit unseasonal, Barbados is now experiencing, it is imperative for people to adjust their driving to suit the wet roads.
Another challenge is that some drivers have caught the racing bug and judging from the ‘improvements’ and decorations on their vehicles, these drivers feel the need to test the mettle of their cars, much to the distress of the unsuspecting driving public. Some might allude to this behaviour as merely ‘showing off’, but the majority acknowledge it as dangerous driving and a growing hazard that has the potential to bring harm to others.
The Royal Barbados Police Force has been committed to improving our roadways and continues to show a united approach to enforce the traffic laws of Barbados.
However, last week there was a furore over a new road sign in the St. George Church environs and a temporary roundabout to accommodate the change in road use. An animated WhatsApp message was circulated where a man disagreed with the following action by the Police as it related to road users who were not familiar with the road sign. The police continues to indicate, however, they cannot take on this Herculean task on their own. It is the public’s duty as well to safeguard their own lives through reporting the activities of those who break the law to the police hotlines and to work with insurance companies to make sure that offenders face justice, while
drivers enjoy the benefits of a safer driving environment.
However, the Ministry of Transport needs to advertise extensively a campaign for people to learn how to use the highway. Less than complete education is not enough. It is absolutely necessary for everyone to reach a point of co-operation, especially when using the highways of this country. The concept of merging still continues to be a thorn in the driving public’s side, since the lack of co-operation has blossomed among road users who in many cases refuse to give way to vehicles in the merge lane. Cars cruising in adjacent lanes at very slow speeds also defeat the purpose of the highway. We now have a highway that meets international standards, but our lack of courtesy and knowledge is testimony to some drivers’ resistance to change.
A new mindset must be fostered in Barbados as it relates to driving. There are too many accidents occurring monthly, especially when one considers the ratio of accidents in relation to the average number of drivers on the road at any given time. The number of fatalities are regrettably increasing, and this could be resolved if there weren’t so many cases of negligence where people are not giving the road their full attention. As a result, there are more fender benders and cases for distress as these accidents contribute to not only damage of property by damage to self. Co-operation and caution are key when using the roads.