The Road to Scary Driving Starts in Dubai


If you regularly read this space you’ve probably figured out that I’m not too thrilled with the people I meet on the bus and metro. So you might be wondering why I don’t save myself from the anguish of holding onto poles that other people seem to have mistaken for handkerchiefs.

So why not just drive? The short answer is I live in Dubai. If you’ve been to the Middle East, you too may be questioning what percentage of people passed their driving test by fluke. If you haven’t been here, you are perhaps wondering what could go wrong in a city that has strict laws against drinking and driving, using a mobile phone while behind the wheel and (in theory) tailgating.

The real trouble is the people. People who can drive just fine when they are in other parts of the world, but not over here. Now I’m willing to accept that there are some cars where the turn signals don’t work and the drivers actually believe they are signalling while changing lanes. And I’m sure there are people who prefer to communicate their desire to change lanes via telepathy. But surely I don’t live in a city with a disproportionate number of faulty vehicles and individuals blessed with telepathy?

Then there are the people who are very keen to teach you what a nanosecond is. In case you are wondering, that is the amount of time in between the traffic light turning green and the car behind you honking.

And let’s not forget the individuals who have decided that the roads are actually an obstacle course where they can attain points. The more often you change lanes, the higher you score. Bonus points if you drive at 50 kmh above the speed limit in the slow lane.

Then again, if you’ve been to Cairo, Dhaka, Jakarta, Manila or Mumbai you might just appreciate the discipline of the average driver in Dubai.