Blogging The Bahamas

Discover the islands through the personal exploits of a Bahamian who is rediscovering the Bahamas after being abroad for years.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Bahamian Drivers

Driving in Nassau is an adventure.

I had to make my way from the west side of the island to the east side, going through downtown Bay Street and then back again through Palmdale and further onward out to the airport.

In doing so, I realized how different driving here is compared to driving in the states. And getting used to driving on the left side is actually the simple part.

Nassau drivers are bold. While it seems to be a common goal of drivers everywhere, to make the mad dash through the yellow light at the last minute, Nassau drivers are particularly daring, and more than just a few times I have seen drivers skip through even after the light turns red. The opportunistic drivers behind often form a tailgating chain, in which another four or five cars also escape through the red light even after it has been red for several seconds. This would typically outrage any driver now being delayed behind their green light, but funnily enough the green light drivers react like molasses.

Another point of frustration for me this afternoon were drivers who are too nice. I really get frustrated with drivers who stop and let other drivers in front of them. Especially those who are overly generous and let car after car after car in front, as the lady in the green mitsubishi ahead of me did this morning. It's very considerate for those being "let in" but not so much for those waiting impatiently behind the generous driver. I guess I still need to work on becoming more "laid back".

That woman must have allowed five or six cars in front of her, each of them giving a quick 'thank you' honk. While honking your horn is regarded as a near sin in New York it is actually quite charming here. Everything from saying hello or thank you, to a warning or expression of anger is communicated through a language of quick short beeps and blaring honks. I am not used to this yet and so I rarely honk at anyone unless there is some dire need to prevent an accident, but I intend to become fluent in this 'language' of the horn. Then I'll be a true, true Bahamian driver.

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