Posted by: nastylittletruths | May 8, 2008

Pioneers Of The Road

In Trinidad, they are taxi drivers… If someone was to ask you for a quick answer to the question, “what does the “H” on the plates mean?” What will it be? No, it’s not “hire” or “hired”, it’s “HURRY”.

Every day on the road you see people driving on the shoulders, but I remember clearly taxi drivers pioneering this new style. Nowadays, from young girls, little old men, container trucks, buses, you name it – they are all on the shoulder as if it’s a legal lane. And while I sit with the rest of the plebes in the official lanes, one question is always uppermost in my mind – how hurry can these people be?

The thing is, the same traffic they are trying to get away from is caused by their driving habits. I can take a very serious bet that we don’t have to send millions and billions of dollars to get an immediate relief in traffic jams if drivers only obey the rules and use a little intelligence in their driving . I am sure anyone reading this can remember being caught, for example, in an intersection because some inconsiderate fool went into it knowing full well he had nowhere to go. Or the lazy one who sees everyone parked on one side of the road so that two lanes can still pass, but he/she decides it’s too far to walk and parks on the opposite side? Instant traffic jam.

But back to the shoulder driving. How do you sit down some one and make them understand that traffic slows because someone has to slow down or stop to let you in? It’s a chain reaction: traffic slows naturally (I mean all of us are on the road), first idiot overtakes and compounds the problem. Second, third, fourth and hundredth idiot follows quickly after and by then it’s the classic “channa bottle” jam. And of course the ignorant behaviour is not too far behind – I mean, come on, you were driving in the shoulder to start with! How intelligent is that?

The funniest I’ve heard was Jim Rohn though – another one of my heroes. He asked the question, “who are these people? What a marketable skill to have, beating the traffic… If you beat it today, does it stay down for the rest of the week, or is it back up to go another round with you tomorrow?” I am sure you empathise with the sentiment.

I always end up in the same place no matter what topic I write about. Where are the police? I have seen motorcyle cops ticketing people in the US as if they are on a quota system. One guy with a bike and a radar gun and he’s on whole day hiding in different locations. In Trinidad it takes about five cops to catch a speeding driver and then none for a bit as the opposite lanes flash their lights to warn speedsters that “dey timin’ up de road!” A word to these flashers – don’t do it. You may save a speedster from a lesson today and he takes someone’s life tomorrow.

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