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Dominica weekly is a personal weblog about the nature island of Dominica.


Editor’s note:This post was written by Jermaine, a contributor to the Antiguasunonline.com

GREAT READ AND SO TRUE!

I have a serious gripe with drivers who seem to think that the public roads are for their use only.

It can be very frustrating when you are trying to get to another location within a reasonably quick time and you come upon motorists who have pulled alongside each other and are having a casual conversation in the middle of the road.

Meanwhile, all the regular people behind them from both directions have to put on the brakes and wait until the selfish duo would have completed their chat and decide to move on. Then one would have the audacity to wave at you as though to suggest he is thankful that you gave him the opportunity to do his foolishness.

One of these days there is going to be someone who would be having a particularly difficult day and would not be in the mood for this kind of stupidity. And as much as I am hoping it never happens, that person might not be in full control on that day and might do something that will put him in trouble with the law.

I am not suggesting that he would be right to shout and scream and turn to some sort of violent behaviour but I am using this as a warning to motorists who do not take the time to think of the inconvenience they might be causing to others and the danger they might be putting themselves and others in. Most of the roads in this country are wide enough so that if both drivers pull aside and exchange messages. The flow of traffic will not be severely impeded. Further, there are many areas available for them to pull off and have a comfortable enough chat under trying circumstances.

Things can happen at odd times but we have to be careful what we do out of the lack of concern for others. Can you imagine that an ambulance with a sick person is somewhere to the back of the confusion waiting to get by? Maybe it is some businessman trying to get to an all important appointment in good time.

This highway selfishness must stop before somebody has to pay an extremely heavy price.

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double parking in Roseau

Rush hour traffic is ridiculous, too many ignorant drivers, no Parking – In town that is .

These are just some of the comments and complaints made after speaking with friends and other drivers.

For those of us who drive on a daily basis will recognize that many of these remarks are true. I don’t believe this traffic situation will change and may even grow to create greater inconvenience; one of the many things we must accept and live with here on our tiny nature island.

However, there are more serious concerns than just rush-hour traffic and no parking in town – which has continued to escalate and puts us all in danger, drivers and pedestrians alike. Now that cell phones seem to have taken over, have you noticed how many one-handed drivers are on the road nowadays, because their cell phone is firmly clasped in the other hand? Have you also noticed how many are distracted from driving sensible as they engage in cell phone conversations?

I’m sure there are those us who have narrowly missed being involved in a collision as a result of a cell phone driver pulling out in front of you, or almost neglecting to stop as you’re crossing the road? In most European countries and many American states hand held cellphones are now illegal, and for good reason. Perhaps that would not be such a bad idea for Dominica.

Drivers (especially drivers) are not the only guilty party that put us in danger. More and more pedestrians are crossing the road anywhere! Some neither look left nor right for moving traffic; some take all the time in the world before they can cross road; and again users of cell phones seem to lose track of where they are. Others attempt to use the designated pedestrian crossings, only to find drivers ignoring them.

It seems we have become a nation of people unwilling to demonstrate respect and courtesy to others. I am curious to know how often the Traffic Department makes a survey of what is needed relative to these situations.

Then we have bus drivers, transporting passengers from to and from their homes, who stop wherever and whenever to pick up and drop off passengers; give no regard to how much interference and inconvenience this might cause to moving traffic. I’m sure many of us drivers, if not all, have gone through this experience more than once and in different areas of the town!

But with the ever increasing number of cars and drivers on the road; there is no immediate solution to this traffic situation, particularly at peak hours and on heavily travelled streets. Can anyone help us? Because it’s apparent the police can’t handle the situation.

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hybrid-car Photo by:Solarnu

In the pass months the price of oil has been rising steadily throughout the Caribbean and the world to a greater extent – reaching record breaking prices. Just this week the Dominica government announced yet another increase in fuel cost. One gallon of gas in Dominica is now stands roughly at ECD$15.00.

Though we can’t control the price of fuel on the world market, but we think of ways on how we can conservation fuel. This will not only be helpful to the environment, but also on your wallet.
I’ve mapped out some helpful ideas which can help drivers conserve fuel and get better fuel mileage.

One thing that most drivers on a whole are not aware of is, great fuel conservation starts before you even get on the road:

  • Service your vehicle regularly, and you will observe a 5 to 25 percent increase in gas mileage.
  • You should check you tire pressure once a month, also keep them aligned and inflated properly – because having tires with low pressure can increase your use of fuel by 5%.
  • Replacing your air filter every now and then is also a helpful.
  • If you are not using your roof-racks, take them off! They add to drag. Unnecessary weight in your car can also take away from good gas mileage (this does not mean that you can throw your sister out of the car to conserve fuel… although, it would help! 😆 )
  • Another way to start good fuel conservation is to plan ahead. Combine your errands into one trip. Think about riding your bike, walking, or riding the bus when possible and reasonable.

Fuel conservation can greatly be improved while you are driving or at the pump:

  • Slow down! There is a reason why you be racing to a gas station when your vehicle is on empty – you are not going to get to a gas station faster by driving faster when the faster you drive the more gas you use! In simpler terms, your fuel usage will greatly decrease when you are driving at speeds above 55 mph. Besides, you will have a safer drive when you slow down, too.
  • Avoid rapid accelerating. In fact, you ought to let up on that accelerator (by driving slower), and when you use the accelerator, use it gently. Maybe that’s why it is called “stepping on the gas.” The harder you step on the gas, the faster you use up your gas. Relax your driving style. Don’t drive aggressively. Accelerate slowly. Driving aggressively can lessen your fuel conservation by 30-40 percent…yep it true.
  • Do not idle. Most cars nowadays no longer need to warm up to run.
  • Turn off your car when you are waiting for someone.
  • Fill up your tank early in the morning and on cooler days. The colder the gasoline is – the more compact it is… you will therefore end up getting more fuel mileage for your money.

Fuel conservation may seem like a long road, but even just doing a few of these things can really help improve your gas mileage. You could possible improve your fuel conservation by 40% or so by following some of these tips.

All of the tips on fuel conservation that we have given you so far have to do with the vehicle that you already have. But if you are planning on going out and buying a new vehicle, consider a vehicle that conserves fuel by design.

If possible and you can afford it, check out the hybrids or smaller cars. A hybrid vehicle may cost more at the onset, but you will surely save money in the end, especially if gas prices continue to rise. If you’re looking for a simple car and don’t need a ton of horsepower – you will get better gas mileage.

Now go out there and start conserving fuel! Or if you’ve some of your own fuel conservation tips, please share them in the comments.

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