Bad manners on the roads

My drive to work isn’t long – 25 minutes or so – but negotiating Dubai traffic can be an adrenalin-fuelled way to start the day.

I hate being ‘extreme tailgated’ – a rude and all-too-common gesture where a car tails you at speed with a 5cm gap, sometimes flashing its lights until you’re intimidated enough to move over. Or tries to sneak round on the hard shoulder like it’s another lane.

Since my route to work is on a two-lane speedway, I’ve had several motoring menaces ‘up my bumper’ over the past few weeks – including a wannabe stuntman today who I was still honking long after he’d disappeared over the horizon. The %@*{xy£x&z!

I mean, if I was walking along, would he come sprinting up behind me, breathe down my neck, jostle me until I fell sideways into the path of a Lycra-clad jogger, then run away at speed? No, he wouldn’t! He wouldn’t dream of it. He might think the metal box he’s sitting in means he’ll get away with it, but it’ll catch up with him, I thought to myself.

Seriously, how hard is it to park in one space? Would you sit on two chairs at a crowded venue – would you?!
My other pet peeves are ‘the weavers’, who hurtle in front of you if you leave more than a five-foot gap, ‘the wrong turners’, who reverse back down exits if they’ve left the highway too soon, and ‘the idiots’ who make right turns from the left lane.

I probably should add that bad driving encompasses all social groups in Dubai and women certainly aren’t exempt. Cup-cake-wielding mums in frilly dresses sometimes start gnashing their teeth with aggression once they’re behind the wheel of the family 4×4. I’m constantly amazed at the honking, the pushing and shoving and the inconsiderate parking that takes place on the school run.

But back to my commute: my other worry is a new speed camera on my route that I keep hearing about. Apparently, it’s causing a lot of controversy for being set at a really low speed, but I don’t know where it is – which means I’m suspicious of every lamp post or road sign I pass. And it’s not always easy to keep to such a low speed when you’re being shunted along from behind.

6 thoughts on “Bad manners on the roads

  1. The signs on the motorway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai make me laugh and cry at the same time. “Beware of Road Surprise” i.e. beware of the idiots that will come out of nowhere at racetrack speed and weave around you. Just because they can!!

  2. Gosh, this sounds traumatic – I thought Seoul was bad, but the good part is that the traffic is so congested, no one ever really goes fast enough to do that sort of scary tailgating and passing. They do it, of course – driving up onto sidewalks, passing in oncoming traffic lanes, pulling in front of you when you’re first in line waiting at a light if they don’t feel like waiting at the end of the line – but at a slower speed. The parking job you show looks like something you see often in the U.S. – people with new or expensive cars who don’t want anyone to bump them or scratch the paint or anything park like that. I have often thought how satisfying it would be to park as close as possible next to them (also at an angle) just to be annoying, but I’d probably come back to find my windows smashed in….

    • Something I really remember from driving in America was that in Florida, at places like Walmart, there would be a big queue of cars waiting for the spaces closest to the store. Happens here too – a lot – actually! I also really remember my driving test in Florida – it was in a carpark, with roads painted on the ground and no other traffic!

    • Thank you! I was really worried half my earnings had just gone on speeding tickets every day! Just checked, nothing listed, phew! Nearly all the cars must be doing at least 100 on that bit of road! xx

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