Dubai driving survey results
An interesting article from the local press -
Dubai's favourite lane
The results of a wide-ranging survey of Dubai's drivers have just come in.
Participants were asked which of the Sheikh Zayed Road's six lanes was their favourite. Responses varied, but the middle lanes came out in the lead, with the all time favourite being the lane just next to the far left hand 'fast' lane.
The driver of a mid-sized Mitsubishi truck commented that the middle lanes were definitely his favourite.
'As soon as I join the six lane motorway, I always head straight to the middle lane,' he said. 'I just feel comfortable there. Even if the road is empty, that's where you'll find me. If the road is full, I also like to sit there, just below the speed limit, oblivious to the traffic around me. I love driving there so much, that when it comes for me to turn off, I wait until the last minute before pulling unexpectedly to the right, just so that I can soak up as much of that middle lane fun as possible'.
Drivers of the Nissan Sunny, Toyota Yaris and similar small Japanese vehicles echoed the truck driver's sentiments.
'Like a lot of my colleagues, I favour the middle lane,' said one driver. 'There's no better way to relax on my way to work than sitting in the middle lane at 96Kms per hour, chatting to friends on the phone, my right arm draped over the passenger seat,' he added. 'People driving around me are so friendly. They often drive past on both sides of me, staring at me in a threatening way, making a big joke of it. Sometimes they flash their lights and drive close behind me, even though they could easily pass by on the remaining four empty lanes to my right. That I find a little annoying, but what can one do? I'm a middle laner through and through,' he chuckled.
Whilst the middle lane was a clear favourite, not all of the respondents could make up their minds. One driver, the owner of a Toyota FJ Cruiser, said that he couldn't make up his mind which lane he liked best, so he used all of them to his full advantage.
'I like all the lanes,' he said. 'During rush hour you can find me in one, then another, then another, then back to where I was originally, then screeching across from the far right to the far left and then back again.' When asked if driving in as many lanes as possible all the time got him to his destination more quickly, he commented, 'I don't know, but I don't think so. I usually see people who were driving near me when I started my journey arriving at the same office car park as me at around the same time. I would usually have weaved in and out and all around them for the previous 20 minutes as part of my attempts to enjoy as much of the road as possible. They should do the same as me though - I arrive calm and happy at work, whereas they usually look quite stressed and angry'.
Asked he thought this lane guzzling was dangerous he was quick to disagree. 'I am a very safe driver. I drive fast, but safe and I deserve as much lane fun as the next'.
Some surveyed said they felt they needed two lanes as one was not enough. One driver, the owner of an impractically large SUV, said that she liked to straddle two lanes. 'When I'm on the phone or texting my friends, it makes it easier for me to keep the white line in the middle of the car bonnet so that I don't need to concentrate so much. I apply the same principle when parking my car as well.'
The survey didn't just cover drivers' favourite lanes. When asked which was their favourite indicator, the responses were split three ways - some car drivers preferred the right indicator, some the left and some hated using their indicators at any time. The driver of a large 1999 Lexus saloon commented as follows. 'I love driving for miles with my right indicator on. Although my journey consists almost exclusively of left turns, it just feels nice to have an orange light blinking pointlessly on the right side of my car for hours on end, regardless of the direction I am turning in.'
Surprisingly, many drivers said that driving in a straight line with their indicators on didn't bother them at all. 'The noise doesn't bother me at all', said the rider of a small white Nissan van. 'I'm never happier than when driving for an hour and a half to Abu Dhabi, all the way in the middle lane. The sound of my indicator clicking away in the cab acts as a metronome, allowing me to practise my singing without losing the beat'.
A firm favourite amongst the drivers of large buses was to drive along with their hazard lights on. 'I suppose I'm greedy,' said one driver. 'Rather like lurching from left to right unpredictably, I don't like to do anything by halves - give me all or nothing when it comes to those flashing orange lights on the side of my bus'.
Other bus drivers pointed out the safety aspect of having their hazard lights on, day and night, regardless. 'It's safer that way,' said one. 'Look - I'm driving a huge bus, that's belching black smoke out of the back, carrying 100 workers home, mostly in broad daylight. If I didn't have my hazard light on, how would other drivers see me? I'm practically invisible in my 50 tonne vehicle, so hazards on, unpredictable lane changes and feet on the dashboard it is for me'.
When asked to comment on the results of the survey, a slightly pompous British blogger and Range Rover enthusiast noted that everyone should try to keep to the right, use their indicators appropriately and drive at the speed limit.
'But where would the fun be in that?' chuckled one pickup driver. 'Lane variety and indicator inconsistency are the spice of my driving life.'
Next week, the results of a recent UAE survey of elevator users are expected. The firm favourite way of entering a lift is expected to be to try and charge in before everyone else has got out, with the lift being a great place to burp in just after lunch.