There are hardly any road signs about, but don't worry, you cannot be
lost, you are HERE..........
Should you think that you are lost, don't ask a native. No self
respecting Trini will ever admit that he does not know the way either.
You will always get directions, no matter what or where to.
We drive on the left side of the road (or ought to)- However, on a three
lane highway, most cars drive and don't move from the overtaking lane
(which is the right lane in Trinidad and Tobago- Some cars drive in
the middle lane and the left lane, the slow lane is clear....
If you want to get to a shop or a coconut vendor on the other side of
the road, just cross straight over, right in front of the oncoming traffic
- everyone does it and understands that move - no need to turn on your
indicator either- the cars behind you are supposed to keep their distance
to make allowance for unsuspecting moves (this also means that you have to be prepared for the event that the car in front of you does
It is quite normal that the driver in front of you stops to chat with
the driver of a stopped car from the oncoming traffic- they may discuss
how their weekend went, what food they ate, how their grandmother is
doing..... and, in case of taxi drivers, they may make "change"
while you bite your nails.
Taxis usually have the letter "H" in front of their license
plate (P stands for private car- H for Hire
(taxi), T for truck, R for Rental car). Taxis stop at anytime, anywhere.
When their passengers say "I take it right here, driver",
it means RIGHT HERE! The taxi comes to an immediate halt. And you
are at fault for not keeping your distance, should you rear-end the
taxi. To complicate matters: many private car owners drive their
P cars for hire (taxis), so you won't know by just looking at the
license plate what kind of car is in front of you. You could probably
discern a Private car that operates as a taxi by the creative stuff
they have decorated their cars with: dolls hanging from the mirror,
cushions behind the glass of the back window, adorned with hand crocheted
covers, extra stripes on the car, the car painted as if it had an
accident, with "spilt"
paint spots, break lights that flash like a Christmas tree etc etc.
Stopping for red lights is for sissies (and white people). Any real
Trini will make it his ambition to run through a red light, if it is
already red or if it is still red. A few years ago it used to be "running
the orange light", but that is no real challenge to any motorized
Trini. So, my advice to you is: practice this manoeuvre at home before
coming here, you will fit in faster and get respect from the locals.
When you happen to go to Maracas beach, you must drink a lot of our
Trini rum with coconut water before heading home. The best way to drive
home is to dismantle your brakes. This makes for the most thrilling
drive of your life, as you can admire the 300 feet drops to your right
along the coast line while you swoosh along. Many Trinis engage in this
great activity. Last one is a chicken.
When you drive "in town", you will find many Trinis crossing
the road in front of your car on foot nilly willy. Should you make any
indication that you would like to proceed, they will come to a dead
stop in front of your car and challenge you "Bounce meh nah".
It is a matter of who has the better nerves, you or the pedestrian;
usually the pedestrian wins. He has been trained from small by his parents.
You do NOT have the right away, EVER if the driver of the other car
does not look at you while crossing in front of you from a side
street or from your left or right side, (it is called giving you a "bard
drive"). This is a great trick, because if he looks at you, he
will acknowledge that he saw you and he then would have to stop. But,
if you see that he does not seem to see you, you will have to
give way in order to avoid a collision. Again, this is a manoeuvre to
test how good your nerves and your reflexes are. My tip is that you
try to spot the intention of the other driver before he pretends not
to see you. You now proceed and avert your face (while stealthily looking
out of the corners of your eyes to see what he is doing) and drive in
front of him. This is a great game which will take away some of the
boredom of driving.
is Trinidad Time". And you better believe that. Jus' now means
: in a few minutes, in a few hours, in a few days or in a few years
or never. If you are supposed to be picked up by a Trini friend to
go somewhere, best thing is to add about an hour and a half to the
prearranged time. Don't sit there in all your fancy clothes, ready
to go. You'll only make yourself stressed out. Have a few drinks, take
a long bath, dance some calypso .......... don't sit there watching
the clock. If you miss the plane, well there is always tomorrow and
another plane, not so ?