One comment on “Towards safer driving in Dominica by Albert Williams

  1. Hi Albert,

    I enjoyed reading your well written, very educational and thought provoking article.

    On the contrary, I have been driving since the age of 15 years and 9 months. I remember it well because in the USA in the late 60’s one had to be 16 years of age to obtain a driver license now the rules have changed. Being the oldest of five children and female, my dad and mom were determined to teach me how to be independent and a survivor throughout life. I had no formal driving lessons from schools only my parents. Safety was always stressed along with car maintenance.

    As they both were great drivers, as witnessed in any weather condition and on any type of road or pavement, it was just a fact that everyone in our family followed likewise, me being the first. Cars were my dad’s passion and he and mom worked hard having several jobs each at any given time to be able to afford having two cars. One being either of my dad’s two favourites, a Chevrolet and a Cadillac.

    So in our 1954 Classic three-speed, V-6, Green Chevrolet with clutch and no power brakes, steering or windows, every Saturday and Sunday mornings before church and many evenings my dad and/or mom not only taught me how to drive, in our cove or not-yet paved roads or supermarket parking lots; but would many times raise the hood and truck and drill me on how to check the oil, brake, transmission fluid and even put the spare tire on.

    I remember passing my driving test missing only two answers and parallel parking during the actual driving test with great ease.

    I am very proud that now at the age of 56 years, I can say, I have owned several different cars and have been noted as a good and safe driver to date on my car insurances.

    It was not until I came to live in the UK that I became faced with my real driving challenge. All my years of prior driving in the USA never prepared me for what I had to face when I sat in the opposite sit inside our newly bought Blue Punto five-speed Fiat ready to drive on the opposite side of the street as well.

    There were no more hoods and trunks as called in the USA but bonnets and boots. There were no more extra wide or double streets or turn on right or intersections. I was in for an immediate surprise of narrow streets and roundabouts. In fact , I don’t believe any of the cars I have driven in the USA including the 1954 Chevrolet, Cadillacs or any of my different owned cars would probably fit in the parking spaces or narrow streets here in the UK. Also, to my surprise many of the names and makes of cars are the same but the body styles are different and smaller to accommodate. My Ford Escort I left in the USA looks nothing like the Ford Escorts here.

    Considering all I have shared regarding my driving , the differences in cars, street size, etc. I will close with the most shocking surprise of all regarding the driving here in the UK. It is by far the seriousness and the driving protocol for qualification that is in place which in my opinion is commendable.

    I have never been to Dominica and therefore can’t relate to the statistics quoted nor do I know the exact statistics here in the UK but from mere observation for an example, 8am or 5pm rush hour traffic or listening or watching the news echoes a strong campaign toward safe driving.

    I have witnessed first-hand a certain amount of respect exchanged amongst drivers here and less ‘road rage’ and ‘road etiquette’ than what I have witnessed in many states in the USA having driven for over 40 years and in my opinion a lot can be attributed to the protocol including the testing, amount of driving lessons, as well as the on going car servicing protocol.

    In a sense, being here in the UK has been quite a learning experience in so many areas. I have come to realize that ‘ Safe Driving’ with continual and reinforced protocols and practices takes driving as well as the condition of your car to another wonderful level to be discovered if adhered to.

    Sincerely,

    Tempie Williams

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