Fri | Sep 24, 2021

Alrick Johnson, the creative, defensive driver with a scientific mind

Published:Sunday | August 1, 2021 | 1:31 AMPaul Glenroy Messam - Gleaner Writer
Alrick Johnson.
Alrick Johnson.
Alrick Johnson working on an electrical device in his spare time.
Alrick Johnson working on an electrical device in his spare time.
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Alrick Dean Johnson is no ordinary driver. He has been employed to the Jamaica Urban Transit Company for five years. He prides himself on being a creative defensive driver whose aim is to transport passengers safely to their destination, and in fine style.

“I have undergone my fair share of driver training on the grounds of the Advanced Driver Training Centre at Lakes Pen, St. Catherine. Ever since, I have been using my driving skills and talent to drive defensively, to save precious lives, time and scarce money,” says Johnson.

He believes in his mantra, “I can do all things through the master who strengthens me.” Alrick’s first aspiration was not to be a bus driver, but to become a scientist. “I like to mix and observe the results as soon as possible. I like to work with chemicals, anything in the engineering world.” However, having not being able to further himself in that area, he started driving for the state-owned company.

Johnson confesses that he loves to drive large vehicles, which includes buses, trucks, trailers and tractors. “I love anything big to drive, it makes me happy to know that I have accomplished something great.” According to Johnson, his greatest wish was to become a scientist who can drive a trailer.

“I wear my clean uniform every day and adhere to all the COVID protocols for the safety of all our customers, the passengers. I also try to be courteous and polite to the passengers by making use of my manners, which was taught to me by my dear mother, Genie. Things like’ Good morning’, ‘Good afternoon’, ‘Please’, Thank you’, ‘Excuse’ and ‘I am sorry’, are part of my daily routine.”

He is also big on safety as he regularly carries out his pre-trip inspection of the vehicle he drives. “This is also known as the ‘walk-around check’, which includes, tyres, windshield, windshield wipers, mirrors, seatbelt and so on.”

He is also very particular about the brakes of any vehicle which he drives. “Strong reliable brakes are an absolute necessity; any pull or fade that decreases stopping efficiency is just as hazardous as the braking system that stops operating entirely.” says Johnson. He went on to explain that he wants to be accident-free for as long as he is on the busy roadways of Jamaica. “Your foot will tell you a great deal about your brakes.”

Johnson added that, if the pedal has more than a few inches of play or free action, then the brakes should be adjusted.

He also highlighted that he is very meticulous about managing his time. “Good time management allows me to accomplish more in a shorter period time, which leads to more free time, which lets me take advantage of learning opportunities.”

His dream is to create a space where children can attend and have loads of fun with his vehicle creation. He says that effective time management lowers his stres and helps him to focus on the driving, which can also lead to improvement in other aspects of his life.

He advises other bus drivers, and drivers in general, to adhere to the road code at all times, drive with both hands on the steering wheel, eliminate distractions while driving, stay focused, plan ahead and to take care of themselves by getting enough sleep and eating a balanced diet. He also recommends that drivers, “never give up on what they love, whatever you do, do it to the best of one’s ability”.