Today I picked up my driver’s permit, it’s actually a piece of paper rather than a card like in the UK. I have to take it to every lesson and get it stamped and signed else it’s as though I didn’t attend the class. The lady I collected the permit from said there was a class happening in the next five minutes if I wanted to attend, I hesitated for a moment and then decided that it was best to grab the bull by the horns!
I headed in to the lesson room and had to sit in the ladies only area away from all the men. It’s standard practice to offer segregation here, but in the end the guys had to move forward to be able to hear. They all very politely asked if I minded but no one was willing to sit next to me, it’s a respect thing but it’s still quite odd for me to be honest. The upside though is that women tend to get the best seats!
We waited ten minutes for everyone to turn up, punctuality is not a huge thing in the UAE and it’s usually best to give a window for everyone to turn up else you have to keep stopping and starting! Then the class commenced…
Let me tell you it’s a good thing they have these mandatory classes because without them I would be at a total loss. Now because I think these are such useful tips I will pass them on, believe me you’ll be better drivers after you read this!
1) Close the door before you move the car – I know right, you’d never thought of that!!
2) Wear a seatbelt correctly – this came with a demo luckily!
3) When the car in front of you indicates they are slowing down you too should slow down – tailgating is bad here in Dubai, but my suspicion is they know what to do and are actively choosing not to, in spite of this helpful hint!
4) When you want to turn left indicate left and when you want to turn right indicate right – I told you this stuff was pretty out there!!
5) Stop signs mean stop – amazing right?
I was also nominated class swot and had to read out all the answers on the sheet we got handed…fortunately the answers weren’t as complex as the above so I was just about able to cope with telling my fellow students that they would fail their practical test if they caused an accident! Imagine my surprise though? Surely that’s just a minor thing that would be over looked?!
This was lesson one so I can only imagine what is to come…I will keep you updated! I have a book to work my way through too which so far also seems to be along the lines of pointing out the obvious…