Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Handy Field Guide for Drivers in Doha

In an ongoing effort to make the world a better place, may I present "A Handy Field Guide for Drivers in Doha."

(Yes, yes, I realize very few drivers in Doha will ever read this. Just play along, will you?)

Let's just go over some basic rules of driving that seem to have gotten lost in the sandstorms of Qatar.

1) When one is turning left, it is normal to get into the left lane to wait your turn. Attempting to make a turn from the right-hand lane (particularly when the left-hand lane is not a dedicated turn lane, but truly all the time) is just bad form. I realize that occasionally, the right-hand lane may be shorter, so you feel the need to lessen your own wait by risking creating an accident, but this is just wrong. LEARN TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES!!

(And, yes, this includes you, sir, who screamed at me for calling you "stupid" yesterday. While I did throw my hands up in the air and shake my head in disgust, I did not, in fact, call you stupid. You ARE stupid, but I didn't say it. The fact that you pull up next to me and point for me to let you over does not negate your stupidity.)

A sub-section of this little rule is that it is extremely rude to be in the far right lane of a multi-lane left turn area, but expect to do a U-turn. It's NOT OK to get to the front of the line, slam on your brakes during a green light, and wait until the light turns red to make the U-turn, holding up everyone behind you. If you have to do a U-turn, get into the inside lane in the first place.

2) That little paved area that separates two directions of traffic? That's called a median. It is not a lane especially set aside for those of you who are too important to wait in a lane of traffic unlike the rest of us poor souls. When you pull out of traffic, onto the median and drive up to the front of the lane, it indicates that you consider yourself superior to the rest of us. It's not nice. Don't do it. LEARN TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES!!

3) There is a prescribed number of lanes per road. Just because you can squeeze your car into a certain area doesn't mean it belongs there. A shoulder of the road is not a lane. If there is 3 feet of road between me and the curb, that plus the curb is not a lane for you to get into. Stay where you are and get into a real lane. LEARN TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES!!

4) Two-lane roads are generally not one-way unless specifically marked. This means that if there is a lane of cars waiting, you cannot just pull into the opposite lane of traffic and drive up to the front. First of all, it's dangerous. Secondly it's just plain rude. LEARN TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES!!

5) Right-turn lanes are not meant for people who are going straight but in a hurry to use as a way to skip the lane. DO NOT drive all the way to the front of the turn lane and then sit there and wait for some poor fool to let you in! This blocks everyone else from using the lane to, oh, I don't know - actually turn right!! LEARN TO WAIT LIKE EVERYONE ELSE DOES!!

6) When travelling through a round-about, stay in your own lane. Yes, I know that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. Tough! If it takes you an extra 3 seconds to get through the circle because you can't just cut in and out of the center lane (where I already am, forcing me to slam on my brakes), that's just too bad.

7) Speed kills. Slow down for goodness' sake. When you are so close to me that I can't see your headlights, flashing your headlights at me does no good. Stop trying to intimidate people by riding their bumper and slow down. There is nothing so important that is worth your life (or mine!!).

8) For the love of all that's holy, buckle up your children!!! If you are stupid enough not to wear your seat belt, don't inflict your stupidity on your children. They don't like it? Tough! Be a parent and exercise some authority. With the way people drive, you are placing their lives in the hands of all those other crazy people.

And while we are on the topic of children, please stop letting your children stand up and stand in the open sunroof while you drive full-speed down the road. God forbid something should happen and your child be thrown out onto the hard pavement. No one ever plans to be in an accident. You will have no warning and no opportunity to save them should something happen. Protect them before something happens and you have to live with it the rest of your life.

The basic rule? Consider that you are NOT the most important person on the road. Everyone has somewhere to go and something to do. You are not more important than the rest of us. Take your time and we'll all get where we need to go safely.


Mary said...

Gee, one might get the idea that drivers in Doha are impatient. Ha! It reminds me of a mission trip to Venezuala many years ago. Our van driver took off down the opposite side of a divided road because he didn't want to wait on the traffic. We dodged traffic for a couple of blocks until he decided to cross back over to the right side. Scary!

Anonymous said...

I'm sensing a theme here!
For goodness sakes, how do you even leave the house let alone attempt to drive on these roads? I don't think I would have the courage!

katiesears01 said...

I must add to #8... Even worse than everyone in the car being unbelted is when the parents have their seatbelts buckled up but the kids are jumping around. How about the belted up mom holding a little baby in her lap? So, their lives are important enough for a seatbelt but their kids' lives aren't???!!

stacey said...

i will be praying for your safety!! :) also, are there no belt requirements there for children or just not enforced?

Nancy M. said...

I get really upset when people don't buckle their children in. I will have to pray for your sanity in dealing with these kind of drivers. I am very lucky to live in a rural area, so I rarely have to deal with traffic.

Ohilda said...

Oh my gosh! Sounds like Miami..heh!

Sadly, the open sun-roof thing? I drove by someone yesterday who's daughter (maybe 10 yrs old) was hanging out of it with the wind blowing in her hair. I was hoping there'd be a police car around the corner, but no chance.

Hugs and stay safe!


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