rage in a rage
More drunk aggressive drivers are
on the streets.
Traffic violence is increasing.
Traffic jams are increasing.
Protect yourself, focus on your own
is for accidents. B is for brakes, or lack of it or sudden,
as in pass and jess stop so, suddenly. C is for
cell phones. D for duncy and E is for all of the above as
in the typical driver in Port-of-Spain.
At ten to six on a Sunday morning, the Cocorite highway is
still dark. The street lights are on. The car in front is
driving with no lights. No tail lights, no front lights. Is
the driver drunk? Hes not weaving. Maybe he just forgot
to turn on the lights? Perhaps, as one taxi-driver told me,
hes trying to save his battery? He could also be just
duncy. Pass him wide.
In St James now and here is another well-known madman, one
of the many we have in Port-of-Spain, in and out of politics,
riding his bicycle in his space outfit in the middle of the
road without a single light. I have to abruptly swerve
to avoid him.
The sun has not come up over Laventille and already my
heart rate and blood pressure are up and I have cursed out
Road rage in a rage.
Violence exhibited by drivers in traffic, usually in response
to something another driver just did, used to be rare in sweet
La Trinite. It is now common. Traffic used to be rare too.
Remember the days when you could drive around the Savannah
without mashing brakes once?
Road rage can be thought of as an extreme case of aggressive
driving. Its milder forms, wild acceleration or sudden braking,
tailgating, cutting others off in a lane or weaving in and
out of traffic, deliberately driving slow in the fast lane
or driving in the passing lane and keeping pace with the car
next to you so as to enforce the speed limit are considered
normal driving in Port-of-Spain.
Then there is the horn blowing and flashing lights excessively,
the shouting, screaming and cussing and the supreme hostile
gesture, the finger or highway salute or digitus
Finally, there is the physical confrontation, which basically
comes down to hitting the other driver with something, whether
it be your car, your hand, your cutlass or your bullet.
Of late I understand there has been a decrease in episodes
of the physical confrontation type of road rage because so
many people have guns.
Road rage itself is increasing and seems to parallel the increase
in cars on the road, ie traffic jams. Every three to four
months, 10,000 cars come onto our narrow roads, built for
donkey-cart drivers and, since all roads lead to the capital
city, in colonial times to export produce and in nationalistic
times to concentrate power in one place easy to control, jam
is the pleasing result of those old-time technocrats running
the country, who believe traffic, high rises and plenty stop
lights equal progress.
With the arrival of cheap roll-on, roll-off cars and money
running through Trinidad like the famous dose of salts, those
donkey-cart drivers are still on the roads, driving cars but
with no change of culture. Higher speeds, fast foods, concrete
buildings and traffic jams make no difference to brains accustomed
to a slower pace of life.
The arrival of suburban assault vehicles may have contributed
to aggressive driving. Heaven help the driver of a smaller
car who attempts to cut off one of those huge, heavy, metal
Many women of course will claim that they bought their SUV
for protection from aggression or kidnapping. They still
have to get out.
What is sure is the sense of invincibility they give. In your
big, metal soundproof shell of a car, CD booming and cell
cackling, the illusion that you are alone in the world, disconnected
from the plebes outside and master of the universe must be
When its just somebody else in a car, humanity is dehumanised.
The other guy is simply someone who did something bad to me.
How do you protect yourself? If someone cuts you off,
tailgates you, or is otherwise rude, your best response is
to stay focused on your own driving, listen to calypso and
ignore the other persons antics.
If they continue to follow or harass you, drive to a police
station or look for a police officer and try to get his or
her attention. Hah!
If you cant do either of these things, drive to an area
where there are lots of other people so you can get help.
Under no circumstance should you pull off the road hoping
theyll just go by. Its much safer to stay mobile.
Dont let another drivers stupidity or recklessness
draw you into a deadly confrontation.