- Drive on the right hand side, unlike in Malaysia, the UK and most of the Commonwealth countries. No need to argue which is right, and since it is their country, they are right! :-)
- Driver's nerves must be at least partially made of steel and he must not suffer from high blood pressure.
The 4 most valuable skills for drivers:
- Ability to quickly accelerate and decelerate, and maintain a high speed throughout your journey.
- Ability to keep on honking. A firm hand and fingers for this purpose would help. Less honking however would be much appreciated.
- Ability to firmly hold on to the gear stick and change the gears in quick succession.
- Ability to skilfully play with the brake (and clutch) pedal.
The 4 most valuable skills for passengers:
- Ability to cite a quick and speedy prayer.
- Ability to make exclamations and/ or swear. A rich and colourful vocabulary for this purpose would help. Less shouting and/or swearing however would be much appreciated. Actually, swearing is probably not allowed.
- Ability to firmly hold on to whatever you can to make you feel comfortable and safe.
- Ability to skilfully play with the imaginary brake pedal.
At the traffic light
- Never ever beat the traffic light. If you get caught (there are usually traffic police at traffic lights and roundabouts), not only will you be booked with a ticket, but you will also be booked into a jail for a minimum of 1 night (or so I have been told).
- You can however sleep while in the driving seat at the traffic light because the moment the light goes green, not only the car behind you will start honking, the car from like 100 meters behind you will also join in the chorus.
- You may also just step out of the car and have a little chat if your long lost friend happens to be waiting in a car next to yours at the traffic light. (Never mind the green light and the honks from your fellow drivers.
Your dad owns the road)
- At junctions and T-junctions that have no traffic light, whoever honks and/or flicks on the high beam light first will get the right of way.
- If you are in a hurry, or think you are in a hurry but would still like to take your own leisurely time, you can park your car, leave the engine running with the doors unlocked with no one inside and hop into the shop for a bit with no worries at all about your car being stolen. (Yes, it is really that safe)
- In case of an accident, be prepared to start a shouting match. It would also help if you can use both your hands to be more expressive (No, no, not to become involved in a fistfight though – it should be more of a bodily expression). This would help you not to be intimidated even though you could actually be the guilty party.
- If any party would like to make a police report, do not move the vehicles until the police arrives.
- And oh yeah, women are not allowed to drive.
This is the forth blog entry under 'Ramblings from Saudi' series.
'Ramblings from Saudi' is a series of blog entries originally written when I was living in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia for one year from 2007 to 2008. While the entries under this series are not exactly travel entries, (I hope that) they tell stories about life in Saudi Arabia in general as I personally experienced them.
For other 'Ramblings from Saudi' entries, click here.