My Guide To Driving In Doha!

This post has been a long time coming… As much as I have to drive here in Doha, well lets be honest its not the easiest place to do it… So I thought id share with you my tips and tricks to getting along with Doha traffic…

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  • Traffic Lights..

These are the lights that hang over your lane or can also be mounted on the side of the road. Many people in Doha are colour blind or don’t understand the meaning of the different colors, so let’s go through them, according to Doha rules. Green obviously means go, but in some cases people will be checking their Insta and you are just going to have to give them a small beeeeeeeeeeeep and they should move smoothly along. Next is yellow, which usually means slow down, red is coming…. Here in Doha it means CRAP ITS GOING TO BE RED….. PRESS GAS AND GO GO GO…. Next is red… This means stop, but if the light has just turned red and you are in a bad mood or need to go home faster, then the first 3/4 seconds of red are okey to drive on, but best close your eyes…

The red lights in Doha usually have a malfunction so they tend to last a few hours more than the 3 seconds of green. So I’ve come up with some good ideas to do while waiting for the light to change colour… You could count down to green light, and a few seconds before it turns green beeeeeeeeep, to piss a few people off! You could pick your nose, I’ve seen a lot of people find that relaxing, some even try to touch their brains through their nostrils,  but in most cases don’t find anything… If they do, wiping it on the steering wheel ive seen is a popular place! And of course there is the famous checking your phone and ignoring the traffic completely…

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  • Lanes…

This is a difficult one and will take quite a lot of explaining so bare with me… The inner lane, also known as the fast lane in other countries is reserved for larger cars such as LandCruisers and Lexus. There is an issue from the manufacturer which means these cars just constantly speed up once they leave any garage and cannot slow down! Sometimes this means them driving very very close to your car, the rule is, never use this lane or if you have to, remove yourself immediately or you could end up with a LandCruiser stuck to the trunk of your car which is less than ideal! If one of these larger cars comes fast towards you and is flashing their lights, please cancel all your plans and get the hell out of your lane, even if it means taking the exit to Al Wakrah, as I mentioned these cars cannot slow down, and if they flash their light it could also mean their brakes are broke, so save yourself and take the exit to Al Wakrah even if your going to the airport…

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Another tip regarding lanes, is to check your route to the destination on google and draw up a layout plan for lanes and which lane you should be in and when…. Then as soon as you leave your garage enter this lane, and stay in this lane until your destination. Changing lanes here in Doha is worse than open-heart surgery… The rule here is you should NOT change lanes, and whoever thought of that was a complete idiot or lived here when there was one road… If you do decide to change lane, then do it hours in advance… Yes it could take hours for someone to let you in, you will probably not find someone who will let you in without a fight, so you will have to push yourself in, keeping your eyes closed is a good idea! Letting someone into your lane is a sign of weakness, so its best to not show weakness and if this means scraping up the side of their car, they will, all just to make sure you DON’T enter their lane…. That might mean wanting to take the exit off c-ring road towards Corniche, but the person next to you doesn’t want you to go to the Corniche so they will MAKE sure you go straight, with them… Because that’s how we roll here, why should someone go where they want, when I don’t want them to!

If you do need to change lane, you can try the car-human tip… This means you first find a suitable car to enter in front of in the new lane… The car should preferably be smaller than yours so if you do crash, it won’t affect your car too much… NEVER enter in front of a worker pick-up truck as they are usually driven by angry men, busses as they have a tight schedule to keep, taxis as they also have to be somewhere soon, trucks as they know they are bigger than you and can basically drive over your car, LandCruisers/Large cars as they are too fast too furious! So once you have found your smaller car, check the human inside… Is this person angry looking, late for work, then don’t try! Is this person distracted or happy, then go for it…

When it comes to lanes always expect the unexpected…The guy in front might be daydreaming about donuts and realize home is on the right and then he will without warning cross all three lanes! This is completely normal, and do not let it affect you… Another thing people tend to do is sneak… Can you find 5cm of empty space between the side of the road and another car, try to squeeze through all the way to the front, because remember YOUR time is SO MUCH more valuable than everyone else who has been waiting 20 minutes in the queue.

And the last tip is concerning the indicators… Please remember that here in Doha many of the cars are made without indicator lights, some have but they break quite quickly, so if a car changed lanes without telling you, don’t worry, this is not their fault, its the cars fault… they would love to let you know about their decision to change lane last minute, but couldn’t!

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  • Speed

As mentioned previously the inner lane is the fast lane reserved for the immortals that drive like Formula One drivers! You want to keep a very fast speed in the center of Doha, on the smaller roads, drive as fast and crazy as you can. Once you hit the highways please slow down to at least 20 km/h under the speed limit and drive like a grandma, so no one can drive faster than you!

 

So I hope that you never have to drive in Doha and if you do, please follow my tips to make sure we all are angry, mean and aggressive together and at eachother… And to all of you daily Doha drivers, STAY MEAN and don’t show signs of weakness, everyone knows how to get back to Doha from Al Wakrah!

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