Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Driving in Europe again?!

One of the things I am wondering about, is how on earth am I going to able to drive in Europe again, I mean, respecting all the rules like I used to do! I quite quickly got used to driving here. I admit the car I am driving is not looking as new as when we got it - that must be the driving style - but the thing is, it is so much faster to get into bad habits than to loose those bad habits again... But for my defence, these habits are not because I am a bad driver now (at least I don't hope so) but more because if I don't drive like the Jordanians, well I would still be stuck at the 5th circle trying to make my way home.



You want some exemples? here they are...

Arriving at a roundabout. I should really stop the car and wait for my turn to enter the circle. Of course if it is not busy, that's no issue. However sometimes, this is impossible. You have taxi drivers left, right, honking furiously because I dare stop. Oh! But I can't get into the circle to start with. Why, well because all the cars have actually managed to stop the flow. As soon as there is a tiny gap, you need to hurry and get your car in there. The other day it took me nearly 10 minutes to get through the 5th circle. And seriously, I have learnt to make my way when I drive. Can I ever be courteous again? I don't think that word exists here, at least not when you are at the wheel of a car. I don't think I have ever seen an Ammani say thank you.

I need to turn left up the road, thus cross the opposite lane. There is a car coming. In the beginning I would stop and let the other car pass. Well I have discovered 2 reasons not to stop anymore. The first is that if I stop, the other car stop. Why? I don't know. I guess they are surprised that someone just stops to let them pass. It's true they only have the priority. The second reason is that if you have somebody behind you, well they won't stop if they need to turn left so they force the other car to stop. Can I remember that I must stop to let the other car pass?

A fabulous Ammani - well it is probably a Jordanian speciality: arriving at the light to go straight, it's green yet the cars are not going anywhere. It could be a taxi that has run out of gaz, that is a good probabilty, but no it is not that. You see there are 2 lanes waiting at the red light to turn left, but the red lights are long and so are the lanes to turn. So, to be sure they will get the first green light, well a third lane is suddenly created. Yep, the lane instead of being one to go straight on is transformed to one that is turning left. I thus more honking and furious drivers trying to go straight while that light is green. I don't do this, but it is going to be strange to see drivers somehow respecting lanes again.

And then all the other things respected, but not always: like stop signs - is acknowledged as the car can be slowing down but I have never actually seen a car stop. That reminds me of one of my friends who has learned to drive here. The driving teacher told her that she didn't need to stop if she could see that there was no car. It has got to make you smile! It's true, why bother? why waste time? it's only a stop sign. Or red lights: these are more respected, I only see a couple of cars here and there everyday passing the red light. So not too bad - I am always on the lookout for them! The roundabout is a mess, you need to make a complete tour in it? Well just make a u-turn! Take the roundabout in the wrong direction, it so much easier. And I could go on and on and on....

I guess you got the picture! Driving here is a colourful experience. But like everything you get used to it! Let's see how fast I can get used to drive in the UK and France again... 13 days to go to our holidays  and counting!

11 comments:

Helena said...

I know what you mean - my friends commented on my aggressive driving when I was back in Swe last summer... And that was after "only" driving in Dubai for 2 years, my driving is even worse/more aggressive now... :-( But I look forward to the respect of traffic rules again!

Babs said...

yeah me too! It's a bit to stressful to know that people don't respect the rules!

Mary and Sean said...

it is stressful to adjust driving patterns again. I always run red lights in Okinawa and found myself doing the same in the States. Not good in a city like LA!

Patricia said...

I got so mad and frustrated with driving in Jordan that I went to the Traffic Department of the Police and got enrolled as an associate traffic officer which meant I could issue tickets. Not to the person concerned but to take all the details and then write the ticket and when the book is finished take it to the Traffic Dept. I did hundreds. Of course you cannot do it whilst driving but I had a small tape recorder and wd take numbers at traffic jams and when I was walking. Nearly every car that passed was breaking the law in some way. It did help my frustration. And don't worry you will really enjoy driving back in UK even though you might brake a few times when cars approach from the left!!

Elisa, Croatia said...

Here pedestrians have to be on the look out for cars. YEs there are the white stripes that's common sense to allow the people to walk by but that doesn't mean anything to the drivers. usually only foreigners stop and let the old lady walk by.

Babs said...

@ Mary and Sean - I hate driving in LA, I hated when I saw a police car behind me checking the plates out... I was soo scared to be stopped!

Babs said...

Patricia! I love that idea :) it's true everybody are breaking the rules at one time or another - and sometimes it's actually quite dangereous... and yes it is probably going to be nice to drive in a civilised manner! It gets stressful here at times!

Babs said...

pedestrian? they have no right here! Not many zebra crossings, lights for them - I think I have seen less than 5 since we arrived!!! Bobs' hotel is 20 minutes walk from our appartment and I can't walk there because I have to cross on big road and a roundabout!!

Arlene said...

If this wasn't so absurdly funny, I could sound more sympathetic, which I really am. Seriously though, it does make one wonder why bother trying to be a safe and defensive driver, when no one else seems to feel the need to follow the rules of the road.

Babs said...

Arlene I agree! That's why I think my driving just has changed when I am in such an environment! I just hope it'll change back quickly when I'll be in the UK haha...

Asad1985 said...

Wow... It's 2:40 AM here, and I can't stop reading. I was born and raised in Jordan,but I lived in other places too(Brighton for 3 months, Germany for a year, and now I'm living in Vancouver) and I always wanted to know what non-Jordanian who lived or visited my country would say about it. I guess that's why I can't stop reading :P I really like the fact that you're saying the truth about everything whether it's positive or negative. Thanks for this interesting blog, and hope you're enjoying your stay there.

Cheers :)

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