Tuesday, October 16, 2012

stick shift

Learning how to drive is some sort of rite of passage - almost every teenager eagerly anticipates the time when they get old enough to get a learners permit. I got mine a few months shy of my eighteenth birthday - it lay tucked in my wallet like a prized possession that must not be tainted until that day that my dad finally decided it was time to put us behind the (training) wheel. Back home, the best driving lessons was taught by fathers, brothers or uncles. Driving schools are only for the rich and those who can not simply learn by unorthodox methods - and by that I meant learning with your father's voice raising not in anger but maybe in nerves as you almost hit the curb.
Eventually my brothers went on to be good drivers while I got stuck making rounds within the village. I knew how to drive per se but as my brother puts it 'I don't have good reflexes' to be a defensive driver which might be the reason my father doesn't trust me enough behind the wheels to let me take the car out of the village gate and onto the real world of traffic.
When I came to the UAE, I thought it is just as well - I don't think I would survive driving here. Drivers here are in extreme opposites - some drive furiously fast, run the red light and swerve lanes without so much as a blink of their signal lights and others are soooo damn slow and undecisive that at times even I as a passenger get annoyed. Thus it is not uncommon to see, read or hear screeching tires and road mishaps.
While browsing GulfNews today I came across a video initiated by the said publication to promote safe driving. There was also various articles that encourage defensive driving like Caltex's RoadStar Reward campaign and the Dubai Public Prosecution's soon to be launched e-game to educate people and promote safe driving. Kudos to Caltex and the Dubai Government with their efforts to make UAE roads safer.

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