Everyone knows that driving in Doha is a rough experience. People disregard rules, drive like maniacs, ignore the speed limits, and just don’t care about anyone else. If I had a say, I’d send them all back to driving school with strict instructions on not to let them pass unless they’ve completed 500 hours. And maybe take a class on road etiquette as well. And manners in general.
Of course, there are those who say driving in Doha is heaven compared to ‘back home’, but I still find myself nearly screaming from road rage every day so those comments are ignored.
My driving instructor once told me that in Qatar, you need to learn ‘defensive driving’ because you can follow all the driving rules in the world, but that doesn’t mean nothing’s going to happen to you. And it certainly doesn’t mean that others would be doing the same.
Personally, I’ve only been driving for almost two years, but I’ve seen and experienced enough crap over the years I’ve lived here to make me feel like a #DohaRoadRage expert. Heck, the other day I witnessed first hand a major car crash on the Corniche!
There are certain categories, or driver types, that you can easily recognise. Some people can even be filed under two categories, and more if they’re real jerks.
Also, as a small disclaimer, I know a lot of people tend to generalise drivers based on their nationalities but let’s be real, jerks come from everywhere, so no this is not directed at just one nationality.
You see the bright lights before you see the car itself. First, two small white dots on your side mirror appear, growing faster until suddenly you see nothing but light. You are blinded by both your side mirror and rear view mirror. Sometimes the lights blink rapidly, so fast you feel dizzy as you clutch harder at the wheel, trying not to panic as your mind races on what to do next. Move to the side? No, there’s someone there. Just hold steady? No, this seems like the kind of butthead who’d want to take revenge if you did that. Sometimes, the bright white lights never give up until you’re forced to do a panic swerve to the right just to protect yourself. Then you watch as they zoom off at the speed of light, too far to see you shake your fist at them until you realise that gesturing at them could be considered illegal.
Some of these drivers will flash you until they can’t wait any longer, and will then overtake you.
Who cares if you could have nearly died, right? They needed to be somewhere at a certain time so they had every right to flash you.
Also, no, this particular driver isn’t limited to just the big Land Cruisers, Nissan Patrols, and Lexus’. I’ve been flashed by a Toyota Corolla, which I still find hilarious especially as I was driving my mother’s 4×4 at the time.
I also seem to be flashed by Honda Accords more than any other car for some reason…. Hmm.
If you have anxiety – avoid the first lane as much as possible. Sometimes all you get are the flashers, always in a hurry, but quick to overtake you if you take too long to move to the side. If you’re unlucky, you get the dangerous bullies, the ones who don’t care if you get hurt or ruin your car (or their car sometimes for that matter).
These are the guys who will kiss your car’s rear end with the front of their death machines to the point that slowing down or any sudden stop will end in a catastrophe.
These are also the inconsiderate, sadistic jerks who, if you don’t move out of the way for them rightatthisveryinstant, will overtake you all of a sudden and then brake hard so that you almost crash into them. All this because they can’t dominate their lane with you not giving in to their whims. They’re dangerous and should be avoided at all costs. To hell with pride, keep calm and move out of their way!
The Distracted Fool
You’re driving along the expressway, everything seems to be okay, you don’t really need to fear for your life at this moment.
The car in front of you starts to swerve, dancing from left to right until it’s straddling two lanes at once. You slow down, try to find a way around this car, you know you need to avoid this car. As you pass by, you risk a glance to your side and what you see makes you want to throw your hands up in frustration.
The distracted drivers are those that don’t care about the law, they break it every day by taking selfies while driving, or going on SnapChat when they’re supposed to be concentrating on the road. They’re on the phone, texting away or even playing games. Or, their heads are turned to the side as they engage in conversation with whoever is in the passenger seat. I talk to the person next to me while driving, who doesn’t? But I don’t take my eyes off the road to do so!
Go Speed Racer!
Speed racers can also be bullies and flashers and idiots who forget their indicators. Their only goal in life is to get to their destination fast.
You can find them dancing the dance of swerve, gliding from first lane to third lane to second lane in seconds, all in an attempt to get ahead of everyone.
When you see them coming (although most of the time you won’t!), don’t fear (much). Keep your speed consistent and they will fly ahead of you without even touching you, you will only feel the wind as they leave you behind in their dust.
The Idiots Who Forget Their Indicators
I can’t even think of anything to call them. I just hate them a lot.
You’re driving along, minding your business and being mindful of the speed limit and rules of the road, when that on the lane next to you suddenly decides to switch and move right in front of you. No indicators, no signal to show where he’s going, nothing. You break just in time, but barely.
These are the people who also turn left or right without indicating, making you scramble to reduce your speed so you don’t hit them as you move on straight ahead.
I’m not sure about anyone else, but indicating is one of the first things taught in driving school, so I have no idea how anyone can forget its importance.
The Irresponsible Parent
These are the ones that bug me the most.
Honestly, some of them should have their licenses revoked immediately. I’m talking about the drivers who sit their babies (babies!) in their lap while they drive, the ones who allow 3 kids under the age of 10 to sit in the front passenger seat without a seat-belt on and the window rolled all the way down as they hang half of their bodies out.
Car seats are there for a reason! Seat-belts are there for a reason! The rules of driving are there for a reason! Oh, the frustration…
Not really that dangerous, but really annoying at times.
Yes, the speed limit is 100 kmph but that doesn’t mean you need to drive 60 kmph to be safe. Especially not when a whole lot of people are waiting behind you. Especially when your (lack of) speed gets everyone caught by the red light. I mean… Why.
Disclaimer: I’m not saying that I’m an amazing driver, all I’m saying is that I don’t drive as if I’m the only one on the road and I’d appreciate it if others did the same. I very much like my life and I don’t want to see it end any time soon due to the recklessness of others. Peace out.