Tuesday, April 23, 2024

BC’s B’DOS– Shoot by driving

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OVER BARBADOS, Bajans drive way too fast, often ridiculously and usually illegally fast, endangering pedestrians and causing countless, needless accidents.
But, for some bizarre reason you apparently have to be born here to understand, Bajan drivers just will not overtake another car; indeed, they get annoyed and blast their horns if you even switch into “their” lane on a dual carriageway.
Not that Bajan drivers are ever in the right lane, except at roundabouts and junctions.
A Bajan will drive from the Pine to Warrens in the right or outside lane of the highway (the overtaking lane everywhere else in the world), forcing other cars to pass them on the inside – a practice Trinidadians call “undertaking”, since the driver is likely to meet the undertaker.
But if Bajans don’t “undertake”, they’ll never pass another car.
Going to the airport, I’ll regularly encounter, at the roundabout above Top Rock (where the dual carriageway of the ABC Highway becomes a two-way street) a dozen vehicles lined up behind a single, slow-moving car at their head, all manjack content to drive at a speed a cyclist would sneer at, and to maintain that snail’s pace indefinitely.
If the slowpoke turns off at Oistins, that’s welcome, but if it’s heading for the Crane, no problem. Every car that comes along will happily join the end of the line, slow right down, and switch their radio to the elevator music station.
You can spot the non-Bajan driver easily, because, once it’s safe to do so, he or she overtakes the slow-moving car without a second thought. You can spot the Trini even easier: he overtakes all 17 cars in one fell swoop.
The Jamaican will overtake as many vehicles as is comfortably done while rolling a spliff. The Guyanese and small islanders will join the queue and wait their turn; anything to avoid provoking a policeman into a passport check.
Bajan overtaking, if it’s not a contradiction in terms, goes like this:
1. See a very slow-moving car ahead with no oncoming traffic. 2. Slam on brakes and slow down. 3. Ensure you’re not hallucinating and no vehicle at all is approaching from the other direction. 4. Slow down more. 5. Slow down more-more. 6. Mutter about people driving too slowly. 7. Slow down more-more-more.
8. Slow down until the next logical gear change is into reverse. 9. When you realise the car ahead is not going to park but will crawl for the rest of the drive, peep into the other lane to make sure nothing at all-at all is coming. 10. Slow down. 11. Pray the car in front turns off at the next junction. 12. Slow down more. 13. Peep and see no car at all-at all-at all is coming for miles.
14. Stop, if necessary. 15. Peep again and understand you could get out of the car and actually hop past the car in front safely. 16. Slow down. 17. Cuss the Trini who just drove past you and overtook the car in front. 18. Blow your horn. 19. Slow down. 20. Think good Christian thoughts and undertake not to overtake.
After all, everybody has a right to use the road.
• B.C. Pires is phone ethically challenged.

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