Driving In Qatar: It’s An Epic Battle (But Lane 3 is for Qatari’s) (Part A)

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So you want to come and work in Qatar (awesome idea, great place) and you are doing some research on Qatar and getting a grip on driving is a critical part of the process. Driving in Qatar is like an action, drama, horror and romance film all rolled into one. Tackling the roundabouts is the action / drama film, having an accident is the horror film and driving along the Cornish is the romance film.

For those considering coming to Qatar most of the main roads consist of six lanes, three running one way and three running the other way. Cool. Now there are some general accepted rules for these lanes.

The Lane 1 to 3: An Overview

Lane 1 (closest to the footpath): This lane is considered a slow lane and is used if you want to exit a main road, simple enough. If you are new to Qatar and have just hired a car it is best to stick to this lane for the first couple of days, otherwise you are asking for trouble. Also, if you are driving any form of car that is under a V6, then this lane is for you to being with.

Lane 2 (middle lane): The middle is lane is for the more experienced drivers and those in Lane 1 and Lane 3 that need to overtake a car. After my first week of driving in Lane 1, a Qatari friend informed me that I had now graduated in Lane 2 and that “Lane 2 was for me”.

Lane 3 (inside lane): Now this is a fast lane and is primarily used by drivers of very large and fast cars, i.e. Hummer’s, Land Cruiser’s, Land Drovers, Ferrari’s, Porsche’s, ect, ect. Lane 3 is used a lot by local Qatari’s as a large amount of them drive these types of cars. Now, people who should ALWAYS be driving in Lane 1 often venture into Lane 3 and drive their cars at about 60km per hour. Feel free to do this but at your own RISK. Firstly, it is dangerous as you are blocking fast moving traffic. Secondly, you are forcing cars in Lane 3 to dodge you and that causes accidents for those in Lane 2. And, it is inconsiderate as you should NEVER be their in the first place.

Lane 3 for Qatari’s

This may stir things up a bit (but bring it on) but given that I do not pay any taxes in Qatar and I am provided a heaps of social services (i.e. roads, health care, ect, ect) that I do not contribute to, it is my belief that unless you are driving a MASSIVELY FAST or LARGE CAR just leave Lane 3 to the Qatari’s. In a sense they do own the road, yes they don’t pay taxes, but they are Qatari nationals, so just give them a lane where they can drive uninterrupted. Some of the most dangerous incidents / accidents I have seen involved people driving small cars REALLY SLOWLY in Lane 3. As noted above, doing this is dangerous, inconsiderate and really annoying.

(Note: Part 2 of this story will be less of a personnel rant and provide more practical tips on safe driving in Qatar).