Is it the roads or the drivers?
We hear a lot of criticism of our roads but rarely do we criticise ourselves for our bad driving.
We complain that there are not enough road markings - there are a good number of signs advising drivers that they are approaching roundabouts - instead of slowing down, if you stop to give way, you risk your car being classified as a total loss, made so by the vehicle behind you.
In Valletta Road, Mosta, on approaching Independence Avenue from the football ground, there are arrows painted on the road, indicating that drivers wishing to go straight into Independence Avenue should choose the inner lane, while the outer lane should be used by drivers using the roundabout. Some drivers intending to go straight into Independence Avenue simply ignore these signs, remain on the outer lane and pretend to join the inner lane near the roundabout, blocking both lanes and causing traffic jams every morning.
We complain that our roads are too narrow, then we stop in the middle of a two-lane main road to buy our daily bread or chat about our latest kacca sightings. We do our best not to give way to oncoming traffic wishing to access a road on our side, leaving a trail of vehicles waiting impatiently behind the vehicle.
If we are fortunate enough to be driving on a four-lane road, we do our best to drive on the outer lane, especially on our Sunday drive, chatting and smoking on the way. Recently I even saw a vehicle stop to change drivers on the outer lane of the St Paul's Bay Bypass! It is this selfish attitude which creates congestion, and not our roads.
We grumble because entry into Gharghur has been shifted by a few metres. We will probably soon be hearing complaints about signs fixed in T'Alla w Ommu road advising drivers not to cross into secondary roads on the other side of the road - do road authorities expect us to waste two minutes to go up to the roundabout and back? Are we not accustomed to trying to cross haphazardly onto the other side of the road, leaving a trail of vehicles waiting behind us? Such impatient attitudes surely do not make sense on an island of 300 square kilometres.
And then after all, with the latest craze of black windowed second-hand junk cars on the roads, aren't these the roads we deserve?