You have not known what challenges life holds until you have driven in Jamaica. Nothing prepares you for the madness you’re likely to encounter on any given day. We’re barely scratching the service but we thought we would explore what going on the road means in Jamaica.
Coming home from a long day at work and you’re stuck in the same spot for two hours barely moving an inch. Meanwhile, taxis drive beside you on the opposite side of the road and straight through the red light. You kiss yuh teeth and cuss dem off even though they’re long gone. Of course, you don’t follow their stupid behaviour because unlike them you have a working brain and are in no rush to see God.
You’re in a parking lot trying to find an empty space. It’s difficult because some cars manage to take up two, yes TWO parking spaces. Then you have to wait to move because somebody doesn’t know how to park and they’re taking sooo long while the security guard is trying in vain to help them (but mostly getting in their way). Even worse, they’re trying to reverse into a slanted parking spot. Why? The world may never know.
Then you’re unlucky enough to get a red light. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by hordes trying to wipe your windscreen with their nasty water, and even after vehemently shaking your head and shouting No! They ignore you and “clean” it anyway. Then they have the nerve to ask for money. Like seriously?
Well, we’re trying not to get started on the potholes and the wild way some people maneuver around them, often putting others at risk. We could get off on the missing street signs for many roads, but now that we rely on google maps that would be a bit extra. Traffic signs, or lack thereof, however, deserves some rubbishing give the confusion their absence creates. Like what is that car beside me doing driving in the opposite lane! Oh, it’s a one-way road, our bad. Oh and how could we forget the white lines that for some reason aren’t a standard on all roads? “We’re pretty sure you’re in our lane, like can you move over! (blows horn).
Honestly, we feel sorry for new drivers in Jamaica, especially those who didn’t grow up here. We need to warn you, driving in Jamaica is a nightmare and should be considered an Olympic sport. Oh you can run 100 m in 9 seconds, cute? Can you avoid three potholes in a row while driving downtown in rush hour as taxis swerve around you. Yeah, well neither can we so… But the point is some Jamaicans can, we have crazy reflexes that sometimes even save our life.
Speaking of life, it’s time we note that bad driving in Jamaican is more than a nuisance. Sometimes it can be a lot deadlier. Road fatality numbers fluctuate from year to year, but in 2018 the Road Safety Unit reported that more 300 people became road fatalities. So wear that seatbelt, (yes, even if you’re in the back seat, ‘cause we mean that’s a pretty pathetic way to die) and your helmets and any other protective, life saving devices. Oh and please we a beg yuh, watch out for the pedestrians dem, especially the children. It’s not too corny for us to repeat the road safety mantra: ‘tek time and arrive alive.’