>driving 101


So I’ve been trying to convince my boss to teach me to drive a manual…so I can start driving around here. He usually chuckles and changes the subject, as if I am not capable of adapting to the driving style of my national friends and neighbors…I disagree. In fact, in my months here I have picked up valuable and useful tips and methods of getting around in a vehicle that should make my transition onto the roads this African city much more smooth. Riding along in a taxi watching everyone drive can be the best classroom:) I thought I’d share a few of the lessons learned with you.

  1. If there is no noticeable traffic pattern…make your own. Curbs, sidewalks, and road shoulders are good options if the road seems blocked.
  2. Traffic police don’t have guns…therefore it is not necessary to really pay attention to them. I mean, wow, that whistle is scary.
  3. When pedestrians walk into the street in front of you (as they are wont to do around here), the best course of action is to accelerate quickly, so as to show them that you, the driver with the large vehicle, are serious about maintaining your course and they had better move it or loose it.
  4. If said pedestrian does not take your kind and gentle suggestion to vacate the road and get on the sidewalk where they belong, it is best to slam on your brakes in such a way to come to a full and complete stop one to two feet away from the now frantic pedestrian. This insures that this pedestrian will never again step into the road without second thoughts. It’s really for their benefit…really.
  5. The lines in the roads are suggestions. If four cars can fit across a “three lane” highway, why not? Really, it’s more efficient this way.
  6. If the line of cars in the turning lane begins to grow long, just start a new one if the next closest lane. Waiting can be so tedious…
  7. Talking on a cell phone while driving is illegal in the city, so drop the phone on the floor when you see a traffic policeman. While you’re at it, throw your seat belt around one arm- it totally looks like you buckled it. Totally.
  8. Pot holes and bumps in the road are par for the course here, so why avoid them? Who cares if the white people in the back of your rickshaw keep banging their heads on the ceiling…they should be paying better attention.
  9. While it is technically correct to drive on the right side of the road, it is 100% understandable to cut across traffic, and drive on the other side of a divided highway against the flow of traffic if your destination is on that side. Or if you just want to. I mean, we’re never in a hurry to get anywhere, but if driving in the wrong direction can get us there two minutes earlier…why not? It’ll mean I have time to grab some tea with the guys before my meeting.
  10. Speed limits…what speed limits?

So I’m still trying to glean what I can from the people around me before my first lesson behind the wheel…but I think I’m really catching on. Besides, I haven an international driver’s license from Triple A (AAA is how you really are supposed to write it I guess)- what more do I need?

So if you have been thinking I’m serious while reading this and are, even now, punching in the numbers of my mother’s cell phone number to warn her that I am out of control…allow me to ease your mind. I won’t really adopt these sandbox driving practice…at least not most of them:) Talk to you all soon.

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4 Responses to >driving 101

  1. Herz says:

    >I am not riding with you if you adopt those driving habits…Sharona will not let you get married in her garden if you kill her daughter…I’m just puttin it out there…love you!!

  2. >this was a really fun blog to read Sue! Keep them coming I love hearing!

  3. >From a fellow foreigner on a different continent, it’s amazing how the traffic rules are astoundingly familiar. However, you failed to mention “Look over your left shoulder when making a left hand turn.” I’ve has some close calls because people pass me on the left when I’m in the left lane turning left. Now that’s not right!

  4. Dave & Sara says:

    >I think you’re totally getting the hang of it! I think I went to the same driving school when I was in Cairo! You go girl!

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