For a few days, I have been toying with the idea of writing another article about driving. I wondered if it would cause people to view me as a fanatic, or wonder whether there was anything else in my head other than vehicles and their properties. Then, without being indifferent, I recalled something I read about the ability to release yourself from the opinions of others being an experience beyond your wildest dreams. Consequently, I unreservedly submit another article on driving!
I have determined that there are several different types of drivers and I hope that by the end of my discourse you can comfortably fit yourself in one of these categories.
Let us begin with the Road Hog. This individual is the one who revs his or her vehicle whilst at traffic lights or major stops; drives so close behind you that you are able to pick up the musky (and not musty) tones in the colognes; he or she is able to judge for you when you should move off at lights, switch lanes or cross other vehicles. He or she is also uncontrollably connected to the horn of the vehicle and does not hesitate to assault the ears of other road users for any apparent reason.
The Social Driver is not a direct contradiction to the previous category as there are some similarities. Their hands are also on their horns very often but this is to greet seven or eight individuals in less than one minute as they are driving by. They also find themselves very close to the bumper of another vehicle but this is as a result of looking around for other individuals to whom they can say hello and/or wave. If you find yourself behind a driver who seems to be looking around through every side road, such an individual is not lost but just being friendly.
The Dare Devil is most often found on the highways of our nation and this individual is the one who tries my patience the most. The highest speed limit we have is 80km/hr, and it is only reasonable to assume that if I am driving at that speed and someone overtakes me, they must be breaking the speed limit. Not only do these individuals try to fly on land but they execute some manoeuvres which leave those in their wake suffering from palpitations and a sudden onset of chest pain. I have noticed a similarity with the Dare Devil and the Road Hog. After all the theatrics, they are never more than one to two cars ahead of you. Admittedly, I have almost gotten out of my car and meandered over to such a driver to smugly discover whether he or she had arrived at the desired destination.
We move on to the Slow-Moving Vehicle or the SMV’s. These are the most frustrating drivers I believe as they seem to appear when one is late for an important meeting, or exhausted and simply desirous of getting home in the shortest possible time. Of course, drivers suffering with the latter condition must operate well within the confines of the stipulated speed limits. They also seem to present themselves on roads where overtaking is nigh impossible and inadvisable unless one wishes to have a conversation with Saint Peter at the Pearly Gates. And continuing in that vein if you happen to be stuck behind an SMV you may believe that you are a part of a funeral procession. However, as we approach the Christmas season, we do have one thing for which to thank the SMV’s. As the trapped driver looks ahead, he sees a row of red tail lights meandering along the roads like a writhing snake; a cursory glance in the side rear-view mirror reveals a string of white headlights bobbing along. These two rows of colours should put a frustrated driver in the Christmas spirit.
New Car Syndrome has become an epidemic with increasing affluence in societies. Those drivers with new cars seem to display the same symptoms – both hands firmly planted on the steering wheel; absolutely no overtaking especially if the space is a mere seven millimetres wider than that of the vehicle; driving in the middle of the road to avoid the foliage on the left-hand side of the road; pressing brakes in anticipation of the driver ahead braking or a mysterious elf appearing on the sidewalk in independence colours; driving well below the speed limit with bursts of speed at unlikely times.
I have often remarked that drivers in Barbados are a skilled set of persons. It as though we instinctively know where the centre line is and where the other road markings are supposed to be, because if we are honest with ourselves, there is a paucity of road signage. Be that as it may, allow me to introduce the Oblivious Driver. Such an individual never ceases to leave me scraping my lower jaw from the floor of my vehicle. Even if there is no clear sign but you notice that your vehicle is moving in the opposite direction to every other vehicle, clearly you are driving in the wrong direction. Another example of true ignorance is a driver who simply notices that the light on his or her side is green and is oblivious to the fact that going through the light will block four sets of traffic from proceeding when their lights change to that permissive green hue.
There are so many more categories like the Poor Parker, the Deaf Driver with blaring music and the Blind Bat who cannot drive at night that I wish I could explore. However, I must stop my quiet rant. Now that you have read the different classes, into which category do you fall?
(Rénee Boyce is a medical doctor, a wife, a mother and a Christian, who is committed to Barbados’ development. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org)