Riham's Blog

Driving in Lebanon – Adventure, or just plain chaotic?

what the hell is going on here?

Driving has been more of an annoyance than just a mode of transportation.

It has been said that we’re good drivers due to the fact that we drive like crazy people, therefore gain reflexes to avoid undesired accidents. However, I think that the Lebanese people have an unbearable and unjustified attitude when it comes to driving. To be eligible for a Lebanese driver’s license, the following should apply to you:

  • You strongly believe that you own the road and other cars driving are renting the space and report to you
  • You are the best driver on the road, and everyone else is an idiot
  • On any given point, if there is a minor confusion as to who should pass first, you earn that right due to the two above reasonsA few incidents have made me really dread having to drive in Lebanon.

    The first one happened when I was in Saudi two weeks ago. We had stopped for a red light, and I noticed that people had left the far right lane empty. It was open for all those who want to go to the right. This may appear normal to anyone, but it was just amazing to me. I am used to have a bunch of cars coming and blocking what is supposed to be an unblocked way to the right, because they want to stop at the very front and immediately move when the light turns green (if they have chosen to stop for the red light, that is). But no, that’s not what the Saudis did, they left it open for whoever needs to use it.

    The second happened a few days ago in Beirut. I was in the passenger seat, and my friend parked the car and went to get something. Even though the way the car was parked wasn’t perfect, the road was wide enough for a Jeep to pass. I was waiting for her to come back, when I found a car parked right next to me, therefore blocking the road, and honking like crazy. The girl in it, what with her large sunglasses and very fancy car, just stopped to yell at me. She was able to pass (actually, the road was freakin WIDE), there were cars behind her, but she wanted to stop and start yelling. What’s funny is that I was in the passenger seat, I wasn’t the one who parked the car.

    I think the reason we drive like that is supported by our road and transportation systems. Chaos will never create order; it will create more chaos.
    The first and most important thing that should be organized is driving tests and the process to get a driving’s license. People must absolutely take a driving’s test. I do not know of any other country where getting your driver’s license means just going to pick it up. When we start forcing our citizens to learn how to drive and take the damn test, they will then learn the rules of driving safely and start being more sane. Last I heard they were organizing it, although I still hear of people getting licenses without taking the test.
    The second thing is enforcing the laws. Every year, they enforce them for a short period of time, and then back to our old ways. I don’t want to get a ticket if I am not wearing my seat belt once a year, I want a ticket if I’m not wearing my seat belt every single time. I don’t want to be pressured into driving away from the traffic lights by cars honking behind me, I want the cars behind me to find it normal and not at all lame that I’m stopping at a traffic light that is actually totally unnecessary.
    Also, what the hell is with the sodeco intersection? Why does it follow the “kil wa7ad bi shatarto” (each with his own skill) rules, when other tiny roads have traffic lights all over the place.

    At the same time though, we should be doing our own efforts. Fight the urge to stop and yell at the car next to you and inconvenience everyone behind you, respect the car in front of you’s choice to stop for a red light, let someone else pass every once a while rather than stop just because you have no other options. Driving is more dangerous than flying (this year excluded, it seems), take it seriously and avoid unnecessary moves that you do to make a point, and end up with an unnecessary accident. Make our roads more pleasant to drive on.

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    1. * BeirutBoy says:

      Seriously!! If u cud drive in Lebanon then u have MASTERED the art of driving!

      I rly get shocked when some drivers are nice to me and stop their car to let me pass. I look @ them like “Really? Ur lettin me pass? What’s wrong wit u?”.

      It doesn’t help that durin the summer AND winter there’s always freakin traffic. And traffic brings the worst out of people…

      | Reply Posted 7 years, 11 months ago

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