By Tony Deyal
West Indians are known for their drive and determination. They drive very fast and are determined to bounce people or whatever else is in their way. That is why, if you don’t like the way we drive, get off the sidewalk. But they are not all as well rewarded as drivers in other countries.
A recent joke making the rounds was president Putin and his driver were on their way to Kyiv in a car when without warning they hit a pig near a farmhouse, killing it instantly.
Putin, not wanting to be seen, made his driver go to the farmhouse and explain to the owners what had happened. About one hour later Putin saw his driver staggering back to the car with a bottle of Vodka in one hand, a cigar in the other and his clothes all ripped and torn. “What happened to you?” asked Putin. “Well, the farmer gave me the vodka, his wife gave me the cigars and their 19-year-old and 21-year-old daughters made mad passionate love to me simultaneously.” “Incredible,” responded Putin. “What did you tell them.” The driver replied, “I’m president Putin’s driver, and I just killed the pig.”
The prime ministers of several Caribbean countries are lucky that their chauffeurs either drive very carefully or the police let them proceed without pulling them over. Last year, 2021, four hundred and eighty-four people lost their lives as a result of crashes on Jamaica’s roads. This was the highest number of road deaths in the last ten years. Up to December 4, 2021, Barbados had 16 deaths from vehicular accidents, two more than the previous year. The Trinidad and Tobago road death statistics for 2021 are nowhere to be found but a media report warned, “Pedestrians are dying in large numbers in 2021.”
Why does this carnage happen? In the Caribbean, too many people drink and drive. Trinidad and Tobago introduced the breathalyser but the police who were supposedly enforcing this seems to have run out of gas. Even people who don’t normally drink can end up in trouble. After an accident, the two drivers got out of their cars to survey the damage. One took a flask from his pocket and said to the other, “You look shaken. You better take a drink to calm your nerves.” “Thanks,” the man replied and took a big drink from the bottle. He then said to the one who had offered the drink, “Here, you have one, too,” “I don’t think so,” said the first man. “At least not until after the police arrive and check out what happened.”
Fortunately, the police in some of our countries, Trinidad for sure, don’t have time to deal with what they call “minor” matters and they don’t come to you, you have to go to them at the police stations and make a complaint. Then, depending on factors many of which are definitely beyond your control like your financial capability and how much cash you had on you or were prepared to hand-up, your status, or “who you know”, you can end up being charged for dangerous driving even though you had the right-of-way.
One good thing for even the worst drivers is that the Trinidad media never blame the people behind the wheel, they blame the vehicles. It seems that some sinister transformation affects all transportation devices that arrive here. Whether new or used, regardless of origin, a kind of madness overtakes them and they cause all our carlamities and cartastrophes.
Even though we have no trains anymore, our vehicles all seem to have come with “loco” motives and they don’t give a hoot. The daily media are full of accounts of cars that kill, trucks that run off roads, trailers that topple, minibuses and maxi-taxis that maim and mutilate, and buses that are suicidal. Even police vehicles lose their stripes. One recently killed a pedestrian and the police refused to accept my recommendation that the vehicle should have been given a drug test, if not for jet (Ketamine), at least for speed.
There is no evidence that non-Caribbean people have a better safety record than our drivers. In fact, some people see driving safety as an astrological instead of a geographical phenomenon. According to several studies, the date of your birth has more to do with your skill as a driver than your birthplace. For those of you who are interested in “road signs”, Sagittarians tend to be sporty and need to slow down or they could be on a fast lane to heaven. While Leos, like me, are natural leaders, unfortunately, other drivers keep getting in our way and our accidents are always their fault.
Virgos are neat and tidy, but tend to lose concentration because they are always combing their hair in the driving mirror when they’re behind the wheel and want to look good for the police. Capricorns are conservative by nature and probably cause accidents by dawdling. They take their time and ours. Other drivers should beware of Cancers as crab-like drivers can go sideways without warning. When stopped by police they behaviour can be quite crabby.
Librans are charmers and if they crash they can easily talk their way out of trouble, especially if they’re pretty and are willing to give their names, addresses, phone numbers and email to the police. Aquarians are sensitive and cautious. They would do anything to avoid being in a crash. Part of the problem Aquarian women face is that they tend to marry bossy men who tell them, “If you bounce the car don’t bother to come back home.”
Scorpios like fancy cars and there is a sting in the tail of their twin exhausts if you get close enough to catch them. Aries is ruled by Mars and hate traffic jams or being rammed from behind, even when not driving. People born under Gemini have split personalities. They can be good one minute and drive like demons the next. Pisceans are more likely to make a splash than crash. They drive best in wet weather. It used to be thought that Taureans are home lovers and rarely venture far enough to be in danger of an accident.
However, according to one insurance company, 9.76 percent of claims involve a driver born under Taurus, and only 7.11 percent involve one born under Scorpio. The average chance for a zodiac sign is 8.33 percent. Taureans are therefore 17.11 percent over-represented in accidents or are 37.27 percent less safe than the safest group. While this might sound like a lot of bull, if you are a Taurean you should not add to the problems of other drivers. Stick to public transport, ZRs, Maxi or Mini Buses.
* Tony Deyal was last seen saying that the driver of Donald Trump’s limousine got arrested for possession of drugs. They found over 300 pounds of dope in the back seat.