As I sit at Doha airport awaiting my connection back from Bahrain to London, I feel I should share a small part of my travels with you immediately. It may just save your life.
In Bahrain, there was a lot to see; mosques, camel farms, pottery, spices, soukhs (more to come on these), however, nothing shocked me more during my short time in this strange Middle Eastern country than the manner in which the people drive!
We hired a car for a couple of days, and as I was the only one with a full (and clean) driving licence, it was up to me to take the wheel and navigate the treacherous roads. So I thought I’d write a short guide to surviving this utter madness, if you too find yourself in the driver’s seat. I hope you find it helpful!
1. There are two main speeds on Bahraini roads: Super slow, and lightning fast. To travel at any other speed will endanger the lives of you and those around you.
2. If someone slows or stops in front of you, you must immediately lean on your horn for a prolonged period of time. This goes for all slowings, including for traffic lights and STOP signs.
3. If you find yourself in heavy traffic, again, the horn is your best bet here.
4. Drive as close as possible to the car in front and never ever give way. No matter what. This is seen as a sign of weakness.
5. The road signage is terrible, however if your find yourself undecided as to which lane to take on a motorway, fear not: It is perfectly acceptable to stop mid-lane and have a think about it. Cars will weave around you.
6. Indicators are optional, however should you choose to use them, remember that in Bahrain, the left indicator means you intend to turn right, and the right indicator lets everyone know you’ll be turning left.
7. Turn your music up to the decibel equivalent of a jumbo jet whilst simultaneously using your mobile phone. Similarly, feel free to text your friends whilst driving at 100mph. It is important to keep up with one’s social life.
8. The aim of driving is to get there quicker than the car in front of you, so feel free to weave sporadically, and use parts of the road such as the pavement or the section past the outside lane of the motorway. It’s all good as long as you beat everyone else to your destination.
9. If reversing out of or in to a parking space, never ever use your mirrors. Simply engage reverse gear and plow on. Others will soon get out of your way.
10. If you find yourself on the road to Saudi Arabia unable to get back to Bahrain, feel free to do a screaming U-turn on the motorway and come back the opposite direction. Better to do this than to get arrested for driving in Saudi (it’s illegal for women to drive there).
So, here it is. Driving in Bahrain in 10 easy to remember steps. I do hope you found them useful, and remember… stay safe out there, boys and girls.