24 August, 2005

Obscene driving behaviour

It's bad enough that you drive right up my rear end, your lights flashing because any speed under 160kmph dissatisfies you, when there's no room to move over.

It's worse still that when a car suddenly pulls out in front, forcing me to brake, you get so mad that you start literally driving one inch from my bumper, trying to push me off the road.

But the cherry on the fking cake is when a space eventually becomes free, I move out of your way and you overtake, you wind down your blacked-out window, and make an obscene gesture at me.

Yes, Mr Beard-man, in white Nissan Patrol registration Dubai A-7650, you made me so shocked that I dialled 999 straight afterwards. They've given me a number to report you.

Now shall I rise above it, get on with my life, and forget about it? Or shall I ring up and give them your number?

Votes below please.


Anonymous said...

If the obscene gesture means 'the finger' dial the number now!

Emirati said...


You should do so as soon as possible.

secretdubai said...

I know it's little cowardly, but I'm anxious about doing so, incase he's a VIP local or something.

I can't to be honest be certain of his nationality: I didn't see what he was wearing, other than that he didn't have a keffiyah on, and was of Arabic/Iranian appearance. (Even Afghani at a stretch). There was another guy in the car with him, but it all happened so quickly, they might have both made gestures but I only saw one clearly.

I'm also worried he might retaliate with a "she did it first" thing. I've read stories of expats prosecuted for showing a finger - which is why I would never do it even if I was inclined, which I'm not - but he might claim I did something and they might believe him. Making an "angry" face and mouthing "you could have killed me!" is about as tough as I get...

BaptizedLucifer said...

lol, just give the number. if they cant do anything about it, because of who the person is, usually the police lets u know that... exercise ur rights! oh and if ur too worried of being found out otherwise use a public fone :P lol

desertblog said...

Start dialing SD, better to take some action than none.

Smokey Mirror said...

I'm gonna play devil's advocate for a minute here.

I have a major problem with laws that legislate what is or isn't 'obscene' in a society. We all know (and love) the decency laws in Sharjah.

The problem with calling in and reporting the guy is basically this: He's going to be punished (and from what I know, in most cases the police will respond to a case like this) for doing something that really didn't hurt anyone. In your position, I wouldn't make the call purely because I'd feel like I was taking advantage of a law I have no respect for. By encouraging 'decency laws' like this one, I can't help but feel that we're helping push society in the wrong direction.

My vote goes against calling them back.

However, if you call in and report his psychotic driving, then by all means, go ahead. I'd just keep the 'obscene gesture' out of it.

secretdubai said...

Oh - it's the driving that truly annoyed me. The gesture was just the icing on a very unpleasant cake. I don't think I will ring up, because I don't want to end up the target of a hate campaign, in case he's a vindictive type. (I know it's supposed to be an anonymous service, but at the end of the day he had ample opportunity to get my registration number as well - all it takes then is a mate in the force to run a search, etc).

I really do think the police need to do something about this though, the whole tailgating thing. I could even put up with the flashing lights shit if they just kept their distance - ESPECIALLY when they can clearly see there is no room to move over.

Brn said...

I agree with you, SD, I really don't care if someone makes a rude gesture at me, it is the really dangerous driving that gets me. It is more than a little sad that it is easier to get something done about the safe behaviour.

Smokey Mirror said...


Before I posted last night, I was sitting at the computer with my girlfriend, and we read your posts together.

As an Emarati, she had this to say today after reading your comment:

"She really should call to complain about the guy's driving. A lot of expats don't really seem to get that Dubai is changing.. The days of someone getting in trouble becaues they complained about someone else who happens to have power are over"

Use a public phone if need be, but do complain (about the driving, remember, not the finger ;). It strikes me as one of the best first steps towards teaching the driving jackass a lesson.

I do understand your fears.. hell, as an expat Arab, I'd be very cautious about things like this myself.. but my Lady does have a really good point.. "if you're going to be living here for a while, you have to carve out a place for yourself. The first step to that is making yourself feel safe. Regardless of whether or not that means taking a risk"

Good luck if you do decide to call :)

1Desi said...

Greetings SD,

I'd keep away from teh call if I were you - unless you're ready to press charges. the typical story is as follows...

1) Cops will ask you come in and make a report (why would you want to make an anonymous report anyway?). You'll need to go and see the 'officer on duty' (cops in beige with stars on teh shoulder) and not the regular 'expat-arab' cops who dress in green (many of the green 'shortaas' are just as scared of the locals as any other expat)

2) The officer on duty'll then call the moron and ask him to turn up at the police station as well. After an hour's wait, dumbass will show up

2) Big mouth and cops will chatter in arabic and you'll get the 'Am I not present in this room' feeling.

3) Police will ask you 'do you want to press charges?' If yes, you and dumbassDishdash will be given a court-date. If not, then he'll apologise and go straight to SZR to do a 'Moses'

I personally would not bother unless I'd be ready to 'walk the walk', which isn't a very rewarding experience to be honest... most of these bozos are either too young or too uneducated to feel any remorse anyways - though putting the bozo through court may certainly deter another SZR exercise.

Be careful - best of luck


silentmode_v2 said...

exercise your rights, give him a finger to the police...

samuraisam said...

his number plate is a piece of crap.

in all likelyhood though you'd achieve more by pounding your fist against the wall rather than calling the police, take this from someone who's brother had 9 speeding fine's within only a few months of getting his license, and went to the traffic dept, paid bills (actually daddy did) and nothing was said, even the fact that he totalled his car wasn't given a turn of the head.

if you're thinking of calling the taxi companies about shitty taxi drivers, just ask any truely honest taxi driver what they'll do, and they'll tell you that they just give them a warning, and unless they get a literal ton of warnings, nothing at all is done.

Hurricane_ said...

Save your self the aggravation, RELAX , life is too short to worry about ROAD RAGE. Next time I would just smile back when anyone shows you the FINGER.
I had a similar experience during my time in DUBAI.
On my way back to DXB from AD I had a moron tailgate me , flashing his lights. There was enough room on the highway that he could have gone around me BUT NO, he wanted me to move. So I stood my ground while looking in the back view mirror to his reaction. Mr Trash was furious in his Land Cruiser (Al Ain plates). He finally decides to go around showing me the FINGER on his way so I returned the favor. Few km later I am being pulled over my Dubai POLICE and I am thinking may be this a random check since its pretty late at night,they ask me few basic questions, BLAH BLAH. To my surprise I see Mr Trash's car pulled over few yards away so now all falls into place. We are face to face with the COPS and they ask my account and I tell them exactly what happened ,I was going 180 KM/H, couldn't go any faster, not sure what he told them.But I love his only words directly to me " THIS IS MY COUNTRY, YOU HAVE TO MOVE IF THERE IS LOCAL BEHIND YOU" to which I replied "NOT GONNA HAPPEN". After he left I was talking to the cops(they were so nice) they believed my story. He wanted to press charges against me for endagering his life and showing a local the FINGER( GO FIGURE)but the cops told him they will issue me a ticket and call it even which they didn't and let me go free.
What I am really disppointed in you is you are having all these questions because he might be LOCAL. You wouldn't have thought twice if you were sure he was an EXPAT.

samuraisam said...

he gave you an obscene gesture or did he wave his hand around in the air?

i know Person X who confronted someone or something about their driving and they said some pretty demeaning stuff about dubai police.
Person X told police, was made to promise, swear, and then sign his statement. Person Y apparantly got in a whole lot of trouble.

i've heard at least 20 different stories about people giving other people the "obscene gesture" and getting in trouble.
i've been in car with person Z at least 200 times when he gets furious at some idiot and gives them 5-6 different obscene gestures and nothing has ever happened. Also person A (im running out of letters), a westener, was cut off by two local gentlemen, then pushed off the road by them, and they tried to beat him up, unfortunately for 2 said retards, this person is a body builder (not really, but of all the people you could get in a fight with, he would be near the bottom, big bulging muscles and the like), long story short, he wooped the tar out of the 2 idiots, all three were sent to prison, westener dude got out next day, locals had to stay there for however long.

Basically, you are up to the discrepency of whoever deals with you at the time.

secretdubai said...

Obscene as in "the finger". The middle finger.

samuraisam said...

then its probably not worth bothering.

once you complain, the other person is likely to accuse you of something or another, and it'll just turn into a he said/she said argument.

I actually envy my sisters reactions to these retards, if anyone flash's, toots horn or anything, she stays in front of them and begins to slow down.
same goes for idiots in car parks who drive within a metre of our car, so we have insufficient space to back out, she takes like 5 minutes to back out then. really pisses people off, but then again, their meeting at starbucks is more important than anyone elses business, and of course, they should have right of way, and all sorts of priorities, because... because... i cant even think of a reason someone could defend themselves with.

rocky said...

to be honest, if someone flashes their lights behind you in the fast lane, i think the person in front should move - i always move regardless of what speed i'm at because obviously the person behind thinks they can drive faster and may be they can. and may be they don't give a shit about the radars.

the fast lane is for fast driving. obviously, there are exceptions like in your case, when you didn't have room to move or in traffic jams. but in any other case, regardless of whether the person is a local or not, if he flashes, you move. i find it slightly silly to get offended by someone flashing because it's not a crime to want to drive faster than i am.

that said, SD, mr. beard man sounds like an ass and should be written off as that. next time someone behaves like that, just call the number and report it - like someone else said, unless we stand up for our rights or against such behavior, nothing will change.

Your Man in Dubai said...

just been reading through all your posts and thought I would put in my 50 fils!
Living out here since '81 I have seen the driving going from bad to worse, the traffic going from nothing in sight to no space in sight, desert everywhere to roads everywhere!

In my last job I was sometimes teaching defensive driving to many of the ADNOC group companies. Teaching some well educated arabs including nationals who had never heard of the two second rule (following distances). Also thought that fog lights were the hazzard lights! I also had two runnings in with stupid drivers.

1st one was trying to overtake me on road works coming into Mussaffa, I ended up hitting a corner of the curd due to the road works anf having two blow outs!

2nd one was again on my way to Mussaffa on a Thursday morning, road was fairly quite. Idiot in VW Polo, me in a Jeep Cherokee. Flashing driving so close I couldn't see him! Anyway I moved over eventually took my time but could of done worse. As he passes I flick the finger. As soon as he is infront he brakes hard, puts on the windscreen wipers and then the worst thing stops on the highway in the overtaking lane! I move onto the soft shoulder between cones as of the road works. Anyway then starts complaing about the finger says he is calling the police which I thought was bull. Two hrs later I get a call by the police! Luckly for me the other defensive driving teacher was Syrian so I have an arabic speaker on my side. Anyway after lots of talking like I wasn't in the room, still had someone talking on my side. Denied the finger and got of with a you should know better, he probably behave sonny. But sitting there I was still shitting bricks.

Anyway I learn't my lesson, I now like to pride myself on not getting flased. You can see them flashing others I move over then! Also when you hear about all these terror stories even especially when they aren't mallicious just stupid drivers, people will always say 'I knew he would do that'. I will always answer then why did you get in his way? Yes it is anoying not your responsibilty, his fault. But it only costs seconds to step back and slow down. It might save your life, at least your car. You know what it is like when you have a little bump it can take you hours to sort out. The best thing I find it doesn't wind me up, therefore I don't get stressed I don't try to get even. I say to myself kill yourself not me. By the way I have only had two bumps in several years in driving here. One was a rock in a wadi which took the car of its rear wheels, didn't see it when reversing. The other was my brother in law! Luckily two jeeps with solid steel bumpers didn't so anything.

Anyway all the best on the killing fields they called roads here. I honestly think the best way to change the driving is to set an example. Even if it doesn't work you should keep yourself and your family safe. It is a hell of price to pay for being a few minutes late, life! Not only yours but your familys lives would be ruined aswell.

Your man in Dubai has spoken.

Your Man in Dubai said...

Just a quiky,

SD I would appreciate it if you would call the police. I would also think about including the finger. I do belive that they do respect women and you may find behaviour like this is not just pushed over. Try if you can to take an Arabic speaker this will save time and also ensure that your story gets over properly.

secretdubai said...

Your Man: I have spoken with a defensive driving instructor here, and the one thing that he said that I keep having to remind myself of is that no matter how bad the driving is here, how dangerous, how rude, how hotheaded, it is not going to change in any of our lifetimes.

He said you just have to remember this all the time, and try to stay alive. Because there is no point doing anything else. I still get mad all the time, every day nearly when I'm driving, but I try to remember that: it's not going to change, but I can at least try to stay alive.

And I should have reported him, I know, but I just chickened out what with the personalised number plate.

John B. Chilton said...

Which is more important? What the finger means to you or to the sender? If this sender were recipient he would take it as a statement that he is a homosexual and he would take this as highly offensive. Violence is a not unlikely result.

Aside to UAE newbies: It's not a good idea to use the finger here.

Anonymous said...

Don't rise above it, I got hauled in to the police station for signaling to a guy so he could pull in front of me. Never mind that it was some Deputy General of the Police, and he thought I was flipping him off...during Ramadan...while drinking water in my car at Dusk. Welcome to Dubai, you will never be in the "right".

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