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Driving with Care

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 1:09 am
by Paul Tallet
The number of cars being driven around Tobago has increased significantly in recent years.

In my opinion, Tobago is heading for a crisis here and traffic jams are no longer uncommon.

There have also been an increasing number of fatal accidents (not involving tourists), particularly along the main road between Crown Point and Scarborough.

If the THA had any brains they would ban ridiculously powerful cars as these are simply not suited to the road conditions or the environment.

This year I saw several incidents involving tourists mostly in more rural areas where it is often difficult to negotiate the winding roads. These incidents often arose where roads narrow suddenly as you go round a sharp bend or where a pot-hole simply took you off the road.

You need to take great care if you are driving in Tobago for the first time. The booby traps are everywhere. Impatience with other drivers is also pointless, don't get angry with a driver that stops suddenly in front of you without any prior warning to have a chat with another driver coming the opposite way ... you will end up with 2 car loads of anger coming back at you with interest. It is perfectly acceptable in Tobago to stop and have a chat with your mate coming the opposite way.

Also approach any traffic lights with care. There seem to be some strange rules about being able to go through a red light and there seem to be different understandings at different traffic light junctions ... the one at the Mount Irvine/Buccoo junction is one I personally never trust.

Another big factor is that it seems acceptable in Tobago for tyres to be worn down to the point where they barely resemble a thin membrane containing air, no kidding, look around and you will see that some tyres have the tread of a condom.

This, combined with a 6 inch deep pothole, is not a funny experience at all although the puncture can easily be patched up for about 50TT at a service center ... no joke!

So if you use a Car, check it over, check it's brakes and assess it's limitations before you go taking corners like Lewis Hamilton on a mission. Always assess the roads ahead of you and make way for the risk takers.

You can expect the general standards of car safety in Tobago are lower than your own standards and you will need to adapt.

So no need to spoil your holiday ... oh, and check the excess on the Insurance Policy. $10,000TT is a common excess that can be reduced with an additional payment.


Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 9:45 am
by Steve Wooler
Hi Paul

Well said and some very useful advice for visitors.

With regards to traffic lights, may I clarify that Tobago uses the American system. In other words, drivers are allowed to make a left turn from a red light, assuming traffic permits of course.

Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 10:00 am
by Robert T
I personally find it useful to honk the horn a few times when approaching a sharp bend while driving around the island.

Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:03 pm
by Julian
I find it much cheaper to buy an annual car hire excess policy from than pay the local cdw. I had a small scuff a couple of years back and they paid out very quickly - good customer service.

Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Sat Jan 16, 2016 5:47 pm
by Paul Makin
yep - US rules with regards to lights. a left turn on red is permitted. strictly speaking, only after coming to a full stop then proceeding if clear.


Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Sun Jan 17, 2016 4:40 pm
by Paul Tallet
Ah, I see.

This probably explains why I have been regularly sitting calmly in my car at a red light with my left indicator on and having a laugh at the person in the car behind me that is having a sense of humour failure and chewing hungrily on his steering wheel.

I must brush up on my knowledge here, it's simply not acceptable for me to be causing so much stress to other drivers in this way :mrgreen:


Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 10:49 am
by Ronald
That was a good thing to know, I´ve ondering many times "doesn´t they see red lights", it´s a problem sometimes when I what to cross and the driver "is in a hurry".

Re: Driving with Care

Posted: Fri Jan 22, 2016 2:07 am
by Julian
Today a married couple from Castara were killed just outside Castara, a few days ago two sisters were injured in a car accident again just outside Castara and tomorrow is the funeral for King David a well known Castarian so tough times in Castara these past few days.