As well as the school-run, which I know I bang on about, I also drive to work. For the most part, I don’t mind this commute, as I at least get to sit down and listen to my favourite radio station rather than the sound of Boomerang or Disney Junior blaring like a car alarm from the TV.
It’s really more of a bumper-to-bumper crawl than a drive, as the roads in Dubai have become so much busier with the swelling population. Dubai is back, and so are the traffic jams, parking problems and construction road closures (and that’s just the school-run).
It’s during my time on the roads of Dubai that I’ve noticed certain character traits among my fellow commuters, and I feel these should be documented, as there are so many different levels of stupidity behind the steering wheels of fast, powerful cars in the UAE.
The queue jumper: You’ve paid attention to the construction signs and got in the correct lane. Mr Important has ignored them for miles, and now wants to be let in. (Not going to happen).
The flasher: He appears out of nowhere behind you, intent on making sure there’s no daylight between your back bumper and him. If you don’t get out of his way immediately, he starts flashing his lights, and might even try to sneak round on the hard shoulder. It’s a lane, after all, in his mind.
The stuntman: This one is the wannabe stuntman in a 4×4 driving on two wheels down the emirate’s busiest road, while his pal in a pick-up truck performs handbrake turns. (I’m not making this up, it happened on SZ Road.)
White van man: He’s even more terrifying than the Mr White Van Man you know from home. He last drove a rickshaw and now finds himself licensed and working in Dubai, with Schumacher pretensions. Except his vehicle is not exactly top notch. Packed full of workers, his van has strips of yellow and black caution tape on the back and his own mobile number on the ‘Am I driving safely?’ sticker – and he’s weaving in and out like it’s a slalom race.
Mr No-Rules: Oblivious to everyone around him, he believes indicators are only for Diwali, and thinks nothing of reversing up an exit if he’s missed his turn. He can often be spotted holding his mobile to his left ear with his right hand, texting, eating or clearing out the glove compartment while at the wheel. Rummaging round the back is not beyond him.
The slow poke: For a reason I’ll never fathom, he thinks tootling along in a fast lane at 60km/h is safe driving (or is he actually enjoying staring into his mirror and seeing the traffic behind him peel off in all directions to get round him?).
The road hog: On driving up a one-way street by mistake, it wouldn’t even cross the road hog’s mind to reverse and turn around. Hell, no. The correct course of action in Dubai for those who don’t want to be inconvenienced is to insist the cars driving in the right direction squeeze past you.
The mum-truck: I have to slip her in because we all know who she is. She sits high and proud at the wheel of a 7-seater that’s far too big for her, and can’t park to save her life. She bullies her way around roundabouts, waves people away like she’s on the Yellow Brick Road, and insists on driving 6,270 pounds of metal right up to the school gates, wielding cupcakes.