Road Etiquette

None.  That would be an accurate description of the road user’s etiquette Qatar.  With an accident happening every 30 minutes in Doha, it’s a minefield and every time you make it home from the supermarket in one piece you should drop to the floor and give thanks to the Almighty or perhaps, Allah, as he made more pull in this region. 

A 10k drive can take ninety minutes at rush hour, which seems to be every hour, the incessant heat and appalling road manners only adds to the tension, which often results in road rage.  The roads are mostly dual carriageways with many having three, four or five lanes of traffic, this means that a u-turn, my personal favorite manoeuvre, is not possible, nor is there a hard shoulder to pull in on, so once you’re on the road you have to keep going to the next roundabout or set of traffic lights.   The driving is erratic to say the least and every day brings something new, a new low.

Being adverse to “Baby on Board” bumper stickers, preferring instead to rely on my driving experience for safety,  I was appalled whilst travelling along  one of the major link roads, behind about forty cars leading up to a roundabout, when from behind I noticed an ambulance coming through the traffic, each lane parted to make way for the ambulance and the 4 x 4 that followed, having a curious mind and an active imagination  I wondered who was in the ambulance, was the person in the following 4 x 4 with the “Mom’s taxi” on it, related to the emergency patient?, was it an accident?, would they make it to the hospital on time?  Suddenly, without warning the Jeep in front of me with the “Baby on Board” sign on it, joined the tragic parade, surprisingly no-one beeped or seemed to be bothered by it, I looked on as the opportunists continued to stick close behind the ambulance and capitalize on the bad fortune of the misfortune inside.  They were immune. Being fond of the high moral ground, I also saw an opportunity so I tutted and shook my head all the way to the roundabout, pulling off the roundabout and onto an adjacent street I noticed the same ambulance again, this time the siren was off, in the rear view mirror I continued to eye the sick bus until I saw it pulling into McDonalds!  How unhealthy!

Now having a hankering for fast food and with baby in back crying his eyes out, I decided to pull in at the next outlet. Two minutes later, my young son and I arrived at Burger King.  Where pulled in the centre of the car park was a Hummer, which was more like a bungalow on wheels rather than a vehicle, I couldn’t get past, and chatting happily inside was a Qatari man with full traditional dress and associated swagger, chatting happily on his mobile phone, the desperate cries continued from the back and I started to sing just to let him know I was there. I sounded the horn at the offending non-driver in front and made an angry face as I sang, “fly me to the moon let me play…..” to calm my baby.  Casually glancing in his rear view mirror, the offending driver continued to chat and ignore my pleas.  “….let me see what spring is like on ……” along with blood curdling cries from the back boomed from my car, as I gnarled my teeth at the guy in front.  He continued to chat through, “…fill my heart with joy and……”  now irate, I stepped out of the car, still singing, “….you are all I long for, all I worship and adore..” as the froth seeped through my teeth and I looked into his window,  I could see the realization register in his face when he saw the uncouth anger in mine, swiftly he pulled off but before doing so he let his window down and muttered, “crazy lady angry singing”.  The cheek!   That’s it. I’m buying a “baby on board”, “mom’s taxi” or “Beware of the driver” sticker, whatever it takes to gain immunity.

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