How to Drive Like a Qatari

1. You should always be either accelerating or braking.

2. If you want to move multiple lanes at the same time, for example, if you are in the right-most lane but want to enter a left-turn lane just ahead, then you should calculate the minimum distance needed for your car to move over and initiate your turn accordingly. It does not matter whether there there are cars in the lanes in between your current position and your destination; they will swerve or slam on their brakes if necessary to avoid you.

3. If you are in the leftmost lane on the road and desire to move ahead of the car ahead of you, the proper procedure is to pull to within 50cm behind him and flash your high-beam headlights repeatedly. If this doesn’t achieve your objective, then repeat the procedure while honking your horn. If the driver doesn’t hear the horn, then you should clench your fists, pivot your arms at the elbows, and oscillate your forearms rapidly and repeatedly above the steering wheel, while moving your lips, all in view through his rear-view mirror of the driver in front of you. It doesn’t matter if you and the car in front are travelling at well over the posted speed limit, or if there is another car 50cm in front of the car in front of you, or if there is another car in the lane on the right directly aligned with the car in front of you—the car in front is expected to give way to you.

4. The seatbelt is only necessary in the event you get in a crash, and only bad drivers get in crashes. Ergo, wearing your seatbelt is an indication to others that you are a bad driver.

5. On the left-hand side of the steering column on most cars, a post juts out behind the steering wheel. This is known as a “turn indicator.” Lifting or lowering it causes small lights to flash on the front and rear of the car on the right side or left side, respectively. Since this device does not impact your operation of the car, and its primary purpose is merely for courtesy—to alert oncoming traffic or pedestrians that you intend to turn—there is no need to ever use it.

6. There are posted speed limits on most roads in Qatar, and radar devices in many places that may issue automated fines and demerits against your driving record if you exceed the respective limits. However, you have a friend or family member at the traffic department who can relieve the fine, so no need to worry about this. In the event that you are unable to remedy a fine, you can bring a friend with you to the traffic department and tell the official there that your friend was driving your car and the demerits should be issued to him instead of to you. This also works if you receive an impertinent fine for proceeding through an intersection when the traffic signal is red. If your friends are not available, then you can engage an Indian or Nepali laborer (it is not necessary that he speak English or Arabic) and compensate him nominally for his time and his assistance in accompanying you to the traffic department.

7. Leaving the plastic wrapping over the seats, the factory decals on the side windows, or the dealer invoice hanging from the rear-view mirror are ways to signal to other drivers that you are prosperous because you have a new car. This tactic can work even if you have had your car for years.

8. Praying at mosque is your duty and your pleasure several times per day. To facilitate this objective, you are free to park your car anywhere in the vicinity of the mosque, even inside the boundaries of a traffic lane.

9. Remember, you are the most important person on the road. Your time is of immeasurable value. Everyone else on the road is just a guest in your country. You must get to your make-work job, or your shisha outing with your friends, or your shopping trip at the mall, with the utmost urgency. Even if there is a long queue at the left-turn lane at an intersection, it is perfectly acceptable to cut into the queue from the right at the front (please see above for the technique), even if it blocks those unimportant motorists who are attempting to proceed straight through the intersection. By the same token, you can use the superfluous shoulders or sidewalks if they offer a more direct route. Similarly, if you are running an errand or retrieving a friend, it is acceptable to stop anywhere you like, even if it blocks traffic. Switching your hazard lights on in such a circumstance is optional. “Laws,” “etiquette,” “courtesy,” and so forth are abstract concepts—all of which are transcended by your mandate to get to your destination.


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One response to “How to Drive Like a Qatari

  1. Pingback: Open Letter to a Professional Considering a Move to Qatar | Rightwise Blog

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