Friday, March 9, 2012

Driving in Guyana - 2

Having experienced the heart-stopping, unforgettable-as-if-were-yesterday moment of seeing my younger sister come inches from being run over by a car after she toddled off to see what the family was busy doing - unloading stuff that my migrating Aunt had brought down from Berbice about 35yrs ago, I was very saddened to learn that a 3-yr old got 'knocked-over' actually flung to his death apparently while waiting on the side of the road by an impatient young man overtaking on a (relatively) narrow road., yesterday. It boggles my mind to think of what speed the car had to be going but just before I left England they had mounted an very thought-provoking campaign showing the damage, permanent injury and death to a child while driving at speeds for 20mph,30 mph and 40 mph respectively.
The situation like Life isn't so straight-forward: there are lots of people on the Road who project their ignorance into their driving ( and pedestrian s in their Road Use)-- is their Road and if you try to overtake them although they are in no apparent rush-- laughing on their Cell phone, they get aggressive and speed up, the friendly little toot of the horn to alert drivers that you are attempting to overtake results on them speeding up also! Or they slow right down - to 'teach you'.
Having been forced to be a Road-User at 10yrs-- cycle if you want to go somewhere and we haven't the time to take you-- my brother's warning to keep to the kerb and ALWAYS look around your shoulder before pulling out to overtake anything to make sure you are not inadvertently getting into someone's way seems to have gone by the wayside and both Motorcyclists and Bicyclists never observe that Rule now that I am in a car. In fact, it seems to get personal-- who can intimidate who-- and I hate to say it but when there is an accident I look to see that both parties are the same Race so the Racism element doesn't rear it's ugly head!

The daughter of a prominent family recently made it to the Newspapers for knocking down a 20yr old at a place that had a fairly good road-- in Guyana this means drivers can speed. Being comfortable with controlling the car at 40mph I remember my elderly English Instructor telling me you should always drive at a speed that you can make a controlled stop in an Emergency -- again I don't think it's a rule that must be taught here in Guyana. The sad reason it got to the papers was that the unfortunate young man died - and the 'bus' wisdom is that she had alcohol above the limit in her system! So much for my view that women make safer drivers as in Guyana everything is turned on its head and some mornings I have to grit my teeth when a neighbour- the wife of a nouveau-riche Lumber dealer, among other things, drives so appallingly in front of me that I have instant visions of Blasting a Shotgun at her head and all my Right-Wing Elitist views that the ignorant masses should really have better Public Services so as to do less harm to everybody come to the fore -- sigh.

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