Drivers, not roadways main problem

Since the beginning of 2005 I have found it very interesting to read and listen as many residents have vented their frustration at the traffic issues, the biggest of which was always the flow of traffic and the many hold-ups.

Most spent their efforts berating the roundabouts and other junctions. What was most intriguing was that not one of the complaining persons ever mentioned what they would or could do to make things better.

As I have observed, they are correct about the main issue being the flow of traffic. However, the biggest reason for this is the ignorant or incompetent drivers that cannot use their indicators.

The roundabouts and junctions are designed for traffic to flow, but if most cars have to unnecessarily stop to wait for the intentions of another driver to become obvious, then the traffic flow is very, very slow. If all drivers use their indicators correctly then probably three times as many vehicles could flow through the junctions as currently happens.

This is either a lack of driver education or plain laziness and ignorance. The first step in making any manoeuvre is to indicate, even before braking. This includes changing lanes or merging, and even when in a designated turning lane.

The police could balance the Government’s budget if they simply ticketed all of the traffic violations. However, that would mean that they would actually have to obey the laws and set the right example. I recently followed a police car out of George Town where they passed through four roundabouts, two T-junctions and changed lanes twice (needlessly, but it meant that the driver did not have to turn the wheel to follow the lane markers). Not once was any indicator used, even though they should have been at every junction and lane change.

I have even seen the Governor’s car, with H.E. in the back, execute manoeuvres through junctions without any sign of indication. How does the RCIP expect other road users to obey the laws and drive properly when they set such a poor example? Yet they too have recently joined the chorus of complaining about the bad driving causing accidents, etc. They need to get their own driving in order.

Other public and private organisations that provide vehicles can also do their part. It seems that they forget that the driving public does not see the driver of the vehicle do something wrong, what we see is Department AAA or Company XYZ doing something wrong. They should provide strict guidelines to their vehicle drivers. Maybe even give them a road code test.

It is equally disheartening to observe drivers from other countries, where driving education is stricter and driving practices normally a lot better, e.g. UK, become seemingly incompetent within a short time of driving here.

So instead of moaning about the traffic issues, remember to think about what each of us can do to improve the situation.

Make it a habit to use your indicators correctly. If you are not sure of how that is, then call the Traffic Department and they can read you the Road Code. It may help them as well. Use your indicators every time, even when there is not another vehicle in sight. That it is a real habit. Then maybe some of the traffic flow issue will be reduced which will lead to less accidents and stress.

Ray Farrington.

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