As I have said many times before in the blog, driving is always the main go-to conversation starter over here. In the motherland we bang on about the weather, here it’s about the driving. In one of my early blogs I explained that we should all show a bit of consideration to those who are, effectively, crap drivers. The reason being is that they have not got the years of experience nor have a rigid driving curriculum like the rest of us.
Today there is an article in the newspaper about driving schools and who is best. The headline reads thus: “Driving license: Emiratis are fastest, Asians are slowest”. My first thought upon reading this was “you can’t say that! Polly Toynbee will go mad and call you a racist and then Janet Street-Porter will come and eat your head.” Then I remembered that I was not in Great England and that the headline wasn’t racist at all. The second thought that entered my mind was when had the UAE stopped being a part of Asia? Anyway, the article is basically about how long it takes for various people to pass their driving test.
It goes on to say that there was a poor Indian man – now the laughing stock of the nation – who took 192 driving lessons and 20 attempts to
pass his test. Now see here, if it takes someone that long then they are clearly incapable of driving with confidence, or even any ability. They are a lethal hazard. Of course I have sympathy for the poor man, but I failed my Maths exam at school and as such will never be employed as a Financial Director. That door is closed to me and I have to accept it. This man is barely capable of controlling a machine that can travel at speeds of over 100mph in a crowded environment. He will drive past schools. He will drive past pedestrians. He will drive past other vehicles. He will probably drive on the pavement. Someone is going to get hurt.
The article goes on further to talk a little bit about the curriculum itself. It says that those learning to drive must take a minimum of 40 lessons, 8 theory lectures and usually 3 tests. I had 7 driving lessons, 1 theory test and passed the practical first time. Most of my friends had between 7-12 lessons and passed either first or second time. That seems like a lot, especially when the driving standards are still totally abysmal. Have you seen the learner drivers on the roads? It’s total bedlam. “You were a learner once” say the cynics, yes I was, but my God I had a firm grasp of the basics like not stopping on roundabouts or driving on the wrong side of the road.
So the question remains, what on earth is happening across those 40 lessons? Where’s the substance? In which language are the 8 theory lectures conducted? Is who you are and where you’re from a factor for passing quicker? Is it fair? Hmmm…I’d like to see a Panorama documentary on this…
I digress. Let’s go back to the headline for a moment: “Driving license: Emiratis are fastest, Asians are slowest.” Most Western countries have a license exchange agreement with the UAE. We Westists simply go to the Traffic Authority, take a ticket, wait for several hours choking on the body odour of the man next to us whilst the system continuously crashes, pay some money and walk out with a UAE driving license. Really, the only ones who need to do the tests and lessons are Emiratis and Asians. But does it really matter how fast one acquires ones license? Wouldn’t it have been more relevant to tell us who are the best drivers, the safest ones? Oh, it does, third paragraph all by itself. It says Europeans are the best.
Is Britain still a part of Europe, Dave? I have a bet on…