Proper road maintenance seems to be an elusive feat in Jamaica. With the exception of the toll roads, it is a testing travail trying to cope with most of the other thoroughfares.
The quagmire of dilapidated roads do not only batter motor vehicles, but the undulating bumpy surfaces and numerous potholes are among the hazards that motorists have to contend with.
It is customary for motorists to give way to emergency vehicles such as ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars when their siren is heard and flashing strobe lights seen. But so often police vehicles driving in normal traffic will have these lights flashing. Driving close to one of these units can be quite disconcerting, especially at nights.
On narrow roads with traffic flowing in both directions, and no opportunity to overtake, one hand is occasionally used as a shield or intermittent sideway glances made to ease the torture on the eyes. But the eyes were not closed so the intensity was not lessened. In my view, this practice, whether legal or not, needs to be discontinued because it is a hazard to motorists.
So many of Jamaica's roads are poorly lit, which, when combined with the aforementioned narrow roads and appalling surfaces, can make driving unpleasant. Conditions become even more horrible when some motorists don't dim their lights. The bombardment of high beams from oncoming vehicles plus the reflection in rear- and side-view mirrors from vehicles behind can be truly bothersome.
The misery worsens with additional lights being installed on some vehicles. These sources of light are very bright and remain that way even when the main headlamps are dimmed. If they were legitimately installed, the authorities should reverse their decision in the shortest possible time. Otherwise, implement regulations to govern such modifications. And if they were installed illegally, the intervention of the appropriate officials are needed post-haste. The annual number of road crashes and fatalities in Jamaica is already too high.
Let each motorist, and definitely the Government, play his or her role in helping to eliminate or minimise road hazards, which, hopefully, will redound to the benefit of people and the country by not contributing to the destructive and lethal mishaps.