Road Safety Tips — Dri­vers & Pedes­tri­ans to Barbados

Road Safety Tips: For Dri­vers and Pedestrians


Whether you are a local or tourist in Bar­ba­dos, it is impor­tant that you are aware of cer­tain aspects of the road safety in Bar­ba­dos, as well as cer­tain pre­cau­tions that need to be taken while dri­ving or walk­ing. Road Safety in Bar­ba­dos has risen to the fore­front of pol­i­cy­mak­ers in the coun­try, as the island aver­ages roughly 28 road fatal­i­ties yearly, an amount far too many for a small coun­try. This high sta­tis­tic prompted Bar­ba­dos, in late 2011, to sign up for the Decade of Road Safety (20112020) ini­tia­tive, pro­posed by the United Nations, in an effort to improve road safety in the island. Some aspects of this project are the cre­ation of speed humps to reduce the instances of speed­ing on the roads, and ensur­ing that roads are con­structed and repaired effi­ciently and in a timely man­ner. There­fore, this arti­cle aims at pro­vid­ing tips on road safety in Bar­ba­dos for both dri­vers and pedestrians.

For Dri­vers

Caution Sign

· Streets become very slip­pery when it rains in Bar­ba­dos, so care must be taken when dri­ving on wet roads.

· Pot­holes are very preva­lent on some coun­try roads in Bar­ba­dos, so extra care and focus must be taken when dri­ving. Some roads in the coun­try are also very narrow.

· Of impor­tance to those tourists who are usu­ally accus­tomed to dri­ving on the right hand side, motorists in Bar­ba­dos drive on the left hand side of the road.

· Both the dri­vers and pas­sen­gers must wear seat­belts when trav­el­ling in a vehi­cle, while chil­dren under the age of 5 must use a child seat.

· Dri­ving while intox­i­cated via alco­hol or ille­gal sub­stances is pro­hib­ited and pun­ish­able by law. These sub­stances severely impair brain func­tion­ing and thus inhibits a driver’s abil­ity to drive care­fully and focus on their task at hand.

· It is also pro­hib­ited to use a cell phone while dri­ving, unless this is a Bluetooth/​hands free device. Motorists are advised to pull off to the side of the road if they need to make a call urgently.

· Dri­ving at round­abouts can be tricky for both locals and tourists. It is impor­tant to fol­low the road mark­ings indi­cat­ing where each lane will take you and fol­low these signs correctly.

· At round­abouts and spe­cific junc­tions with the appro­pri­ate sig­nage, always give way to vehi­cles on your right.

· All motorists must carry their driver’s license when dri­ving on the road. For tourists, you must have your driver’s license issued in your home coun­try, an inter­na­tional dri­ving per­mit, insur­ance doc­u­ments and very impor­tantly, a road map to help you nav­i­gate the roads of Barbados.

· The speed limit for city areas is 40 km/​h; for rural areas it is 60 km/​h and mall major high­ways the limit stands at 80 km/​h. It is impor­tant that these lim­its are adhered to.

· Always ensure that you park in well lit areas and take care not to leave any­thing of value inside of the car, when leav­ing it unattended.

· Some gas sta­tions are open 24 hrs daily

· When dri­ving behind cyclists it is impor­tant to be very care­ful. Never force past them when try­ing to over­take and leave at least half a car’s width between you and them.

· High vol­umes of traf­fic are usu­ally on the roads between the time peri­ods 7am to 8:30am and 4:30pm to 5:30 pm. Drive care­fully when in traf­fic and never seek to force an issue.

· Please note that the min­i­mum age for vis­i­tors to rent a car in Bar­ba­dos is 21 and you MUST have at least 25 years of dri­ving expe­ri­ence. Addi­tion­ally, those over 70 years of age are oblig­ated to have a med­ical certificate.

· Do NOT over­take other vehi­cles if it is not safe to do so.

· Do NOT drive too close behind other vehicles.

With all of these tips in mind, one very impor­tant tip is for dri­vers to drive “defen­sively”. Defen­sive dri­ving has been seen as a key aspect of road safety and involves antic­i­pat­ing actions by other dri­vers, being focused behind the wheel (reduc­ing cell phone usage and not being eas­ily dis­tracted by other pas­sen­gers), reduc­ing speed while dri­ving and leav­ing enough space between vehi­cles using the “two sec­ond rule”. By antic­i­pat­ing the actions of other dri­vers, you are there­fore “expect­ing the unex­pected”. This cre­ates room for error and sub­se­quently reduces the like­li­hood of acci­dents occur­ring. These points were high­lighted by the then pres­i­dent of the Bar­ba­dos Road Safety Asso­ci­a­tion (BRSA), Shar­mane Rolan– Bowen, dur­ing an address to work­ers and dri­vers of the Bar­ba­dos Light and Power Author­ity in April 2012. She noted that by 2012, it was found that approx­i­mately 85% of road acci­dents are caused by dri­vers who are either dis­tracted or not pay­ing enough atten­tion on the road, 10% due to the con­di­tions of the road and 10% caused by vehic­u­lar fail­ure.

For Pedes­tri­ans Pedestrians

· Use side­walks when they are avail­able and avoid walk­ing on the edge of the road.

· Always walk fac­ing oncom­ing traffic.

· Very impor­tantly, always use pedes­trian crosses when avail­able. These are indi­cated by stripes of white run­ning ver­ti­cally from the left to the right of the road. If there are none avail­able, cross where you have a clear view of oncom­ing vehi­cles from both sides of the road.

· NEVER cross the road at bends or cor­ners, as nei­ther you nor dri­vers can see what is on the other side of a bend/​corner.

· Do not attempt to cross in front of or behind a vehi­cle you have just dis­em­barked with­out check­ing to see whether it is safe.

· At traf­fic lights, always pay atten­tion and fol­low the pedes­trian lights indi­cat­ing when to cross and when to stop.

· Do NOT wear dark colours at night. Wear light coloured cloth­ing to make it eas­ier for motorists to see you when it is dark.

· Avoid cross­ing between parked vehicles.

· Only cross on the pedes­trian cross­ing when vehi­cles from both sides of the road have come to a stop.

· Please note that if you have no inten­tion of cross­ing the street, do not stand close to pedes­trian crossings.

· Look both direc­tions of the street before attempt­ing to cross.
· You can also indi­cate to dri­vers of your inten­tion to cross by rais­ing your hand.

These tips for both dri­vers and pedes­tri­ans may seem basic and unnec­es­sary. How­ever, every day it is proven that doing the basics cor­rectly reduces the occur­rence of acci­dents and saves lives in the process. Remem­ber only 20% of all vehic­u­lar acci­dents in Bar­ba­dos are caused by the vehi­cle mal­func­tion­ing and the con­di­tions on the road. The large per­cent­age of acci­dents in this coun­try is due to human errors and inat­ten­tive­ness. So please take time to adhere to the tips pre­sented in this arti­cle; doing so can save a life.

Road Safety
©Arti­cle of Caribbean Dreams Mag­a­zine
©Photo 13 from dri​ve​mex​.com
© Photo 4 from sign​safety​.co​.uk

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