Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Rules of the Road (with pictures!)
As Jesse mentioned in an earlier post, I have started driving and I seem to be adjusting to the way things work just fine. I haven't yet had any near death experiences and finding my way around town is much easier than I thought it would be. The pictures in the slideshow might give you some idea of the problems that the Kuwaiti government faces in trying to make people obey the traffic laws. I just hope that some of the suggestions pack a bigger punch in Arabic.
The main problem is, of course, the speed at which people decide to disregard the rules. I have been in a lot of places where no one obeys the "rules" at all. Usually when you have this kind of chaos the traffic is so jammed that it's impossible to go faster than 25mph, so loss of life and limb is greatly reduced. Because we have these nice wide roads going every which way and a small population, you don't usually run into traffic jams, which means that all of the manuvering and competing to get ahead happens at lightning speeds making loss of life and limb very likely. There are a few (ok, maybe one) rules that people do follow (the only one I can think of is stopping at red lights).
Some of our favorite common practices are:
Driving between two lanes. You know, to keep your options open.
Stopping anywhere you darn well please (a round about, the middle of the road, etc.) putting on your hazards and getting out of the car to do whatever it is you need to do. We call these the "magic flashers" because no one ever gets told to move.
Driving inches behind a car flashing your headlights trying to get the car in front to move out of your way.
The list could go on, but you get the idea.
It's more like playing a video game than driving. But like I said, I haven't had any bad experiences and seem to get along just fine. It's all part of the adventure!