Friday, September 19, 2008

Driving in Qatar

I have commented on the driving habits of folks in Qatar and can note that, since the implementation of traffic signals on major round-abouts, driving is safer. Yet we stil find cars (usually SUVs) far exceeding speed limits, flashing ligths as they race up behind us and if we are slow to move right race to the right and attempt to pass you there, just as we move right - a disaster waiting to happen. Quite unnerving. A recent article in the The Peninsula presents these driving habits from the perspective of a local psychologist. I quote a few paragraphs here. The full article can be seen through the link above. What's revealing here is the frank statement of the effect lots of money has ...

Doha • Irresponsible parents are to blame for young nationals driving recklessly, bullying other motorists with their vehicles and expressing road rage, a well-known psychiatrist has said.

Youths aged between 21 and 25 tend to believe they are still teenagers, and continue to be indulged by their parents to the extent of being spoiled, Dr Mozah Al Malki told The Peninsula.

Al Malki said cases of reckless driving seem to take place between 1pm and 4pm and in the late evenings. "Many youngsters, some are even teenagers without licences, take the car keys and then their father's or mother's car out for a joyride when they are sleeping. These boys are too young to have any control over fast cars or big SUVs and can cause accidents at any moment," she said. ...

"Also, most Qatari families have more than one car, often three or four, and keys are left around the house. Their children then make off with the keys and drive recklessly around the city without the parents having a clue," she said.
While many motorists here have faced the brunt of these youngsters' impatience in the form of incessant blowing of the horn, tailgating and the flashing of powerful halogen lights, Al Malki said this form of bullying is typical of impatience among teenagers and those aged up to 25. "They appear to be in a hurry to get someplace but that is far from the case. They just want to get in front of the other car," she said.

Some parents just don't seem to care. "I know of a father who bought his son a very expensive car even though he didn't have a licence. When I asked him why he bought his son the car, he just told me, ‘Because I have the money,'" said the psychologist.