Tourists, especially North Americans, often comment about how fast Jamaicans drive. My observation is that this is more a reaction to vehicles travelling on narrow roads and closer to each other, compared to the more-spacious travel experiences on their roads–lots of multilane urban and rural roads, and even single lane rural roads can seem wide–rather than about real speed. However, I don’t argue much when they say Jamaicans do some crazy stuff on the road. The following videos give you a taste from yesterday early afternoon.
In the first (Grants Pen Road then Shortwood Road), you can see that impatience is rife and how it’s dealt with is often by bending traffic rules (overtaking when there’s a solid white line) and ignoring risks created for other road users (assuming no vehicles will be coming in the opposite direction from two entry points). Our narrow roads often result in delays caused by turns, as you can see in the early part, and build up of frustration is understandable. It’s responses aren’t always easy to address.
In the second, on a stretch of newish multilane highway (Mandela Highway westbound), we see common cause of frustration, the lane hogs in the outside lane. In the US, this is often seen and undertaking (passing on the inside) is often not illegal in multilane roads. In Jamaica, it’s supposed to be illegal but our exposure to that country make some assume their rules are ours. You can see that I succumbed as the line of traffic building behind the lane hogs was lengthening. Our drivers often don’t know the traffic rules (anecdotal evidence is that many just buy their licences) and so don’t respond to urging to comply. Lane hogging I often see practised by driving ‘professionals’, such as truck drivers and public bus operators.
You can enjoy spotting some of our looser driving habits, eg the driver with the arm dangling outside the vehicle 🤔😳🇯🇲