3 ton privilege

Driving a 3 ton machine at speeds over 120KM/h is a great responsibility, kind of like Spiderman and his wrist jizz. However, it seems that in Saudi Arabia this responsibility is taken lightly. Nothing illustrates how bad the driving is in Saudi Arabia more than the fact that it has the highest road accident death toll in the world. While, many blame drifting and x-sport like antics by testosterone infused and sexually frustrated Saudi youth, there’s an unspoken rule about driving rules and regulation being a preference rather than a necessity when it comes to the roads. Police men are spotted breaking more road laws than the citizens, and if they’re not driving around with their sirens on for no reason, they’re probably wasting time sitting in their car parked under a bridge, or on rare occasions exercising and running around said bridge. If lazy policemen that do not enforce the law wasn’t enough, obtaining a driver’s license is as simple as turning left and reversing to the right; literally. As a 21 year old Saudi, not having a driver’s license is the same as missing a testicle, in general driving your own car is integral to a man’s image in society. Through my teenage years; the time I started thinking about driving a car,  I was growing up in Europe. A European driver’s license requires a decent amount of studying, training and a substantial financial set back. In Saudi Arabia, however, it took me 3 days, and no training.

 

  Day 1: Registration and assessment

Registration is paying 250 Riyals ($67), filling a few forms and then going into the assessment room. Assessment may seem like a detailed examination of your very being, at least that’s what it seemed like to me at the time. Assessment turned out to be a man asking me what my blood type was; honestly, I had no idea what it was, but telling him “A negative” was enough. After guessing my own blood type it was time for the sight test. While waiting in line, I realized that the test wasn’t much more than the retard offspring of “W” and an “M” going in all 4 directions, and you simply have to tell the tester where it’s pointing. A future expat driver made a mistake, the tester corrected him, signed his paper and allowed him to continue, I feel safer already.  With a newfound sense of safety and knowledge of my bloodtype, I proceeded to the driving assessment. My nerves hadn’t settled by then, I still had a bit of hope (Or fear) that the driving assessment may just be the hardest part. Needless to say, at this point I shouldn’t have expected anything other than disappointment. A car was waiting for me, after a crude comment about my jeans was made by the obese security guard sitting by the gates. The instructor tells me to sit in the back seat, a Syrian teenager was sitting in the front. I spark a conversation with him, and ask him what the assessment is like, he laughed and asked me if I was a Saudi citizen, I said yes and what he said highlighted the true privilege I had by just having a plastic card that said I was a Saudi. “If you’re a Saudi, you automatically get an A, and any other nationality, you get a B”. Now the way the system is set, if you get an “A” you have to go to 1 class and then you can do your driving and theory exams. If you get a “B” you have to attend 3 classes (We’ll get to what they are on day 2) .  I wasn’t surprised when the poor fellah got a “B” on his assessment, while I can assure you he can drive better than me. My turn! I get in the driver’s seat, the instructor see’s I’m Saudi and doesn’t even let me finish putting on my seat belt before telling me to just turn left and get out of the car after writing a crude “A” on my paper. After waiting, I finally got the opportunity to pay 100 Riyals ($27) for my intensive course on road signs.

 

Tomorrow is another day.  

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