If you live in Dubai and have been on social media you would have most probably seen the uproar regarding the blog article which was published on The National website (http://blogs.thenational.ae/others/my-year-at-the-national/licensed-to-kill-child-ferrari-drivers-headed-for-a-road-near-you). The author wrote a retracting article today, which didn’t help her cause, but it was worth a try. I could go on about how stupid the girl is for a) writing such a terrible article and b) admitting her reckless driving to readers publicly; but to be fair she is 22 years old. She is young, she is silly.
The Editor wrote defensive comments on the Motoring Middle East FB page and a note on the original article. What they The National should have done as @mita56 eloquently says in her blog (http://mita56.wordpress.com/2013/03/25/a-harsh-lesson-at-a-very-very-young-age/) mentored the girl and proof read the article before it was published. The newspaper and the Editor threw her to the wolves, and we are horrible ravenous wolves on social media in the UAE. The newspaper should apologise to this girl for putting her in this situation and to the public for acting so shoddily. The likelihood of that happening especially the latter part is negligible. Accountability is not a word that is favoured with companies in this side of the world.
As bad as the article is, it has brought up the issue of driving in the UAE (again). Driving here is scary for everyone, even experienced drivers. I have been driving for nearly 20 years but I still get nervous occasionally. I have to explain to visitors that we drive defensively, always watching all mirrors and windows for drivers coming from anywhere and everywhere. People change lanes without indicating, people slow down and even stop in the middle of a busy road as they have realized they have gone the wrong way (favourite sport by Saudi’s – I wont start ranting about their driving), others like driving in the opposite direction to pass traffic. Different emirates have different kind of drivers; Abu Dhabi drivers are arrogant and like driving up to your bumper in the fast lane to push you out of the way, Sharjah drivers like braking suddenly, RAK drivers enjoy being in the fast lane in really old Nissan Sonny’s and not moving (I am generalizing but you get the jist).
The problem here is that we have (nearly) all driven badly here for so long and gotten away with it. We have had to drive badly to accommodate other people and their bad driving which makes it a vicious circle. There does need to be education on how to drive, but the police and RTA also have to stop bad drivers from driving on the road.
A prime example is an awful girl I have had the misfortune to know. She passed her driving test only a few months ago. Within one week of passing her driving test she drove to Ras Al Khamiah – she drove in the opposite direction of the traffic. She didn’t get stopped or fined. The next week she had an accident somewhere in Dubai. Another time, she damaged her hire car twice so badly in one weekend that the police had to drive her home, but they didn’t confiscate her licence. She has gained more fines and points in the few months of passing her test, than I have ever received in my lifetime. The hire car company has given her approximately 3 new cars since she started driving. She then decided she wanted a big car, so she bought a brand new Pajero. Luckily she is that silly that she paid a huge amount to get a “Limited Edition” Pajero; it means we can spot her a mile away and drive away from her. Considering how many times, the police have been called to deal with her accidents they have not reviewed her file and thought she should lose her licence.
She is one dangerous driver but what about the rest?? Ok driving dangerously is a subjective test but if you receive a certain amount of fines and accidents shouldn’t that tell the RTA/police that they have to step in and remove the person’s right to drive?
As we are ranting about driving here are my pet peeves of driving on a daily basis here:
- Not wearing a seatbelt,
- Driving without your lights on at night,
- Driving with broken lights at night and never fixing them,
- Kids not being buckled up in the back,
- Kids sitting on parents laps especially drivers laps in the front of the car,
- Kids hanging out of the windows,
- Kids driving 4×4 (I once saw kids about 11 driving a massive 4×4),
- Driving up to the bumper of the car in front,
- Driving really slowly in the fast lane,
- Driving in all the lanes when the slow lanes are empty – all should drive in the slow lanes and then overtake to the faster ones,
- Mini-van drivers driving really badly with loads of people in the car,
- Mini-van drivers bursting their tyres every bloody day; do you know we get a heart attack when those tyres burst in front of us,
- Not putting your fog lights on when its foggy,
- Putting on hazard lights when it’s foggy or rainy. FFS!
- Driving slowly in the fast lane whilst talking on the phone. If you want to talk on the phone go to the side and lounge around there for a while,
- Not indicating when changing lanes or keeping on the indicator when you are not intending to bloody change lanes.
I could go on but I will control myself for now.
I am very bad at not indicating when I change lanes but do so nowadays cos I know I’m acting terribly by not warning others. I indicate at home so I should do it here as well.
At the end of the day we need to all start changing and hopefully others will follow our lead.