Saudi Arabia Driving:KSA Crazy Car Accidents

Driving in Saudi Arabia

Driving in Saudi Arabia can be a total nightmare, with many crazy Saudi accidents to navigate around on an almost daily basis, I have driven in many countries with poor driving but Saudi Arabia is by far the worst that I have ever driven in! This hub will detail out some of my views regarding Saudi driving habits, how to deal with car accidents (you will be in one - if you have driven here for more than a year and you have not had one please leave a message), and the Saudi Police. I will also recount a road rage incident involving road blocking and iron bars!

I have been working in Saudi Arabia for over 3 years, in that time I have been rear ended several times, had someone drive into the side of my car and had side panels and doors destroyed when I have left cars parked in public car parks.

My Saudi Arabia Travel hub will give you more information regarding general travel within the Kingdom and tell you about car hire and taxis, roads and roadsigns.

If you need to know about airtravel within Saudi Arabia then have a look at a Review of Saudi Arabian Airline.

I also have a few eventful stories of drives that I have made between the major cities in Saudi Arabia; Driving to Riyadh, Jeddah, Dammam and Al-Khobar.

If you are traveling around Saudi Arabia and need somewhere to stay look at Saudi Arabia Hotels

Only when driving in Saudi Arabia - you have to watch this!

Saudi Crazy Behaviour Driving on The Road

The behavior on the roads here is terrible, most drivers are very impatient, drive far too fast, and have no common courtesy for other drivers, hence the bulk of the cars have significant dents and bumps on them! I generally see at least one accident every day in my drive too and from work (this is not an exaggeration), the drivers at times resorting to fighting over the accident (or beating the Indian or other “lesser” nationality who will not fight back or they will be in even more trouble!)

Putting a Saudi behind the wheel of a car is like chatting on line, they assume a completely different anonymous persona and start to behave like a formula one driver with zero patience and no sense (and often no driving ability.)

Lane discipline is nonexistent in Saudi, most drivers will take the wrong lane at a junction if they think they can gain any advantage, so a car turning left from the right hand lane or trying to cut back into the traffic from a filter lane is a very common occurrence. Roundabouts are a complete joke as no one here understands them and it is a total free for all. Generally it is the “bravest” driver that gains the advantage, pushing his car in to the front in the hope that others will not drive into them. But generally nobody will give so much as an inch to anyone if they should lose that inch!

The rules for one way streets and which way a carriageway should be driven depend on how close your destination is should you drive against the traffic, if it will save you a few feet in driving then most people will ignore the rules and drive against the flow even if they end up blocking the roads and causing greater delays!

On a highway the slow lane is generally the middle one or two lanes, the inner and outer lanes being used as overtaking lanes and the cars in the middle lanes being obstacles for high speed slalom racing, a great favorite amongst the Saudi youth.

Beware junctions, most drivers do not bother to look before they pull out, they trust in god so much that they believe that he will protect them even when pulling onto a packed highway with other fast moving vehicles.

The Roads In Saudi Arabia

Driving Saudi Arabian Roads
Driving Saudi Arabian Roads | Source
Traffic Queues when driving in Saudi Arabia
Traffic Queues when driving in Saudi Arabia | Source

Traffic Signals in Saudi Arabia

Beware about what signals mean, in England for instance, a car approaching a junction who flashes you with their lights is telling you that they are letting you out, here in Saudi if they flash their lights it means if you get in my way I will crush you!

Indicators appear to be a fashion accessory, only used to confuse others or show how pretty their car is. They are rarely used for actual indication of an actual turn or if they are the driver can and will change their mind as to the direction they will turn!

Hazard lights are often used, drivers will rush from one jam to the next slamming on brakes and hazard lights a few feet from the next jam just to inform the car following 2 feet behind that he is now slowing down!

Most Saudis believe that headlights can be used as a levitation device, they get close behind you and flash them repeatedly expecting you to float off the road out of their path even if there is nowhere for you to go – the bigger and more expensive the car the more this is used!

Road network for driving in Saudi Arabia

Be Very Careful Driving in Saudi Arabia

Crazy Road Traffic Accidents in Saudi Arabia

I have been driven into on more than one occasion with minimal/no damage, every time has been very civil, hands shaken and we have moved on. However the rules of the road here are that if you have an accident you are required by law to remain where you are, even if blocking a main road at rush hour until the police arrive and arbitrate the case!

This being the case I find myself delayed most days by minor accidents that could have been moved to the side of the road. I tend to see accidents almost every day, some days more than one! The most number of cars I have seen in one accident was over 20 involved in a shunt after one car had to stop when trying to take a filter lane into a service road and all the cars behind drove into him and each other! Only in Saudi Arabia have I seen such crazy driving and so many road traffic accidents.

Most fights seem to be Saudi vs Saudi or Saudi beating “lesser” nationalities after a minor accident. The rules of the road here as far as the police are concerned is that the Saudi is in the right in all cases, even if he drives into the rear of you when you are parked! Otherwise the police take the sensible route of blaming whoever has insurance.

I once tried to call the police after an accident , another car drove out of a turning straight into the side of mine while I was passing, the emergency numbers are 999, or 99 8,7,6 not sure what each one is for but they are all police.. I spend 30 minutes trying to get someone to answer, when they did finally answer they spoke no English and hung up on me after they told me that they spoke none! Eventually we agreed to go to the police station together as the paperwork would be required to get the insurance to fix the car.

On arrival at the police station the police officers were sat smoking on the front step, none spoke English but told the guy that had driven into me that we should return to where the accident was and wait there. After a further hour I gave up and said I would pay for the repair myself! It only cost me 200SAR about $60.

80 Car Pile up in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia Road Rage

People here as I have already said have no patience and are prone to temper tantrums, driving along a main road exactly at the speed limit I was preparing to filter off, another car came up behind me at high speed also to turn off flashing his light and hitting his horn to try to levitate me out of his path! I continued on my route as there was nowhere for me to go to get out of his way unless I wanted to go past my turning. He continued to flash his lights and honk his horn and shake his fist at me until we reached the set of lights, which were on red. Stopping behind me he got out of his car and came to my window and started to shout at me. I locked my door and shouted that I did not understand Arabic, “Mafi Arabi!” He then started to kick my door and punched my window, thankfully at this point the lights had changed and I put my foot down not wanting to get in a fight with a saudi as I would be in the wrong whatever happened. I shot off attempting to get away and turned down the road on my way to work, he followed, in a much bigger and much faster vehicle, overtook me against on-coming traffic which was swerving off the road and turned sideways blocking the entire road! I had no choice but to stop!

At this point he once again left his car, pausing to pull an iron bar about 2 feet long out from under the front seats! I could not drive away and I did not want to remain in my car while he battered it so I decided to get out of my car and confront him, I really had no choice. Thankfully I am not small and I have 2 black belts to my name so the physical confrontation was not a worry to me, he paused when he saw how big I was but then proceeded to try to hit me with the bar! I removed it from his hand and threw it into the waste ground to one side. At this point he retreated and started shouting even more, deciding that maybe I was too big for him after I disarmed him so easily! Thankfully at this point other guys were leaving their cars, two of them gently grabbed the guy and started to move him towards his car, where his wife was sat in the passenger seat with her head in her hands! After a few minutes I managed to drive away and thankfully was not followed!

Crazy Driving on Main Highway in Saudi Arabia

Traffic Police in Saudi Arabia

Traffic police in Saudi Arabia to me always look so bored, there are so many police here you would almost  think that every other car has a policeman in it! They are very efficient at setting up road blocks and pulling over all but the most expensive cars for no reason at all (best not to pull over an expensive car no matter what the reason as they may know your boss, or your bosses boss!)

I have already mentioned earlier in this hub that calling the police after an accident was all but useless, no English when they did finally answer and they never turned up! On a main highway this is another story as the main highways are constantly cruised by the police, either the normal police cruisers or unmarked police cars.

I have been stopped twice for speeding in Riyadh, both times I started arguing with the police who were totally unable to speak English so they let me go! (I even had women in the car that I should not have had, but they didn't check.)

They are prone to play with the lights manually to ensure better flow of traffic, you can always tell when they do this as the queues are at least twice as long, the same goes for roundabouts and busy junctions at peak times, the police will decide to control the traffic rather than the usual free for all, this always leads to huge delays that multiply back several junctions. Do they ever learn from this, well obviously not as they keep doing it!

Traffic cameras to control Saudi driving

Traffic Cameras have been introduced into the major cities in Saudi Arabia to try to regulate the crazy Saudi Driving and reduce road traffic accidents in Saudi Arabia. You will see them on the main highways and at traffic lights to prevent people jumping the lights.

The fines are not huge for speeding, normally 200SAR, however some of the cameras are well hidden so if you are not careful driving in Saudi Arabia you could end up with multiple fines!

They also have mobile cameras now, hidden in the back of large family cars that they park at the side of the roads where they are difficult to spot except by the flash of the camera. I was caught twice in two days before I realized!

They ask you to register your mobile phone number to your car so that you can be notified to pay your fines, if you are an expat and want to leave the country you must make sure all of these fines are paid up first or you will be refused exit!

Saudi Traffic Statistics - Must Watch this (Use Subtitles)

Final word of Warning for Driving in Saudi Arabia

If you are a nervous driver (or your wife is a very nervous passenger), don't drive in Saudi Arabia!

If you are not an Aggressive driver, you will take twice as long as everyone else to get where you are going!

If in your 30 years of driving experience you have neither been hit nor hit anyone else and want to maintain this record - don't drive in Saudi Arabia, I know no one who has driven for more than 3 months in KSA that has not had some form of accident!

If you like demolition derby, "drifting" through high speed traffic, breaking rules or being an ignorant driver then Saudi Arabia is for you!


Check your Medical Insurance before you drive!

Help with Driving in KSA

Just remember that as an Expat you are always going to be in the wrong in any accident with a Saudi! You must be very careful to follow all of the Saudi rules and not offend anyone. This essential Saudi Guide will help ensure that you don't get into too many problems.

More by this Author


Comments 115 comments

Al Hussainy 6 years ago

WTF !! That's not even 50% true .. My father works in Saudi Arabia since 1994 and he had only 3 to 6 accidents in this period .. average 0.4 accident/year. My friends have been driving all their life here and everyone of them had about 7 accidents maximum. I don't deny that they are aggressive here but not as you said at all.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

@Al-Hussainy, "7 accidents maximum"! I had zero accidents in the UK in over 20 years of driving. Here in the last year I can think of 3 times that someone has driven into the back of my car, twice someone has reversed into me, once someone has driven out of a junction straight into the side of me and I have returned to a car park to find the side of my car crushed by someone that did not bother to stay and apologize or leave a note!

Even if you are including all of the little bumps in your figures above which I guess you are not, 0.4 accidents per year is still worse than anywhere else I have ever heard of!

I have never seen drivers using all lanes of a 3 or 4 lane highway like a slalom course at high speed until I came here, this is a common occurrence here, cars that zig zag across all the lanes to overtake, even using the hard shoulders to get past already fast moving traffic! Watch the videos, they tell all!

As I said, I have driven in many countries and cities around the world, and the driving in Saudi is the worst, I will stand by my comments!


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com

Lol, he only had 3 to 6 accidents..goes to show you every accident isn't even worth counting!

This was a great read, I was quite entertained. I had a Middle east class in college that showed a video where in Egypt , Drivers left their keys in their cars or parked in neutral because parking space was limited, when you wanted to leave just pushed the other cars out of the way!

Could be outdated by now - I wish I had seen a Saudi Driving video instead!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks Sunforged, the driving here is totally Crazy. Never been anywhere where I have seen so many people taking so many risks. As to parking they park anywhere. I parked in an underground car park in a hotel in Riyadh, when it was time to leave I drove up the ramp to find a car parked across the end of the ramp! 25 minutes before the driver returned to move it, I was on the verge of smashing the window to move it!


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

totaly out of conrol country, I cannot believe that you live there you must have the most interesting stories. I would love to know more about how the women live there?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for driving by DawnM. You can have a read of my hub about Saudi Arabia - Women for more info. I think that driving will be much safer here once they allow the women to do it too..


dawnM profile image

dawnM 6 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

that is to funny and I will for sure check it out....lol


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks DawnM, I really do think that women will calm the situation down here a lot. But it will create a huge number of unemployed drivers..


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

These are great information in addition to the other information about Saudi travel hmm, you gotta make a web site now Tony, you master this one, (this hub made me smile) Maita


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

It does seem that I have a lot of information here, maybe I will do a specific site just for KSA one day PDH, thanks for reading.


Wendy Krick profile image

Wendy Krick 6 years ago from Maryland

I really enjoyed reading this hub. I don't think I want to drive in Saudi Arabia.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 6 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Wendy, even if you wanted to drive in Saudi Arabia, driving by women is not legal! How would you see through your veil and everything else?


noufal 6 years ago

saudi arabian z a gift of god n the foundation of earth n sky


Lilz 5 years ago

I like how you keep mentioning that saudi officials don't speak english and you're so vexed and all, well u DO know that uk and u.s. officers don't speak arabic dont you?


Drksrvnt 5 years ago

This is is so true! driving here is a nightmare!


Irfan 5 years ago

i went to riyadh from dammam in the rainy weather last week and found no accident, it was very easy and good driving experience.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Lilz, the Saudis employ so many foreigners that in almost every business I have been into the language in use is English. A large proportion of the drivers are also not Saudis but Indians and the like hired as drivers, god help them if they ever do anything wrong on the roads!

Most Saudis seem to speak English, except police officers! Maybe it is a required qualification!!

Irfan, I hope that you noted it in your diary, I would have done if I had a pleasant drive in KSA!


dobster1 profile image

dobster1 5 years ago

I just came back from there. Traffic in Riyadh can be a little "rushed" at times!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Dobster, that has to be the understatement of the year to say that Riyadh traffic can be a little "rushed".. lol


Ahmed Zahid 5 years ago

Besides all this craziness & reckless driving on streets, the one thing which I love about Saudi Arabia is a price of gas, its very cheap even cheaper than drinking water. Also, its a lot of fun being reckless at times & doing zigzag through traffic making your way through traffic. I like to tease aggressive drivers if they flash their lights, I reduce speed of car & don't let them go. My advice to drive in Saudi Arabia is if you want to drive their be like other Saudi drivers.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Ahmed, the gas is much cheaper than water in Saudi that is very true, but I would not describe some of the driving as fun! It is very dangerous, and often it is not the reckless driver that has the accident but the poor guy that had to swerve out of his way!


Ahmed Zahid 5 years ago

Yeah! I agree with you, it is not always fun, it is really very dangerous. One has to keep safe himself from other stupid drivers.


khan 5 years ago

Hi

I'm an Indian working in saudi arabia as van sales man. when I came to saudi arabia, I feel very difficult to drive a car. But day by day, I learn new driving tricks, like how to overtake careless drivers, how to defense a rash driver and all those. I went from riyadh to makkah-madina-dammam with zero accidents. I just want to give an advise. How to drive in saudi arabia. Remember these points:-

1)Be confident that you are a safe full and defensive driver.

2)Before driving a car in saudi arabia be femilar with all the roads.

3)If you are feeling difficult to take the right/left direction, go in that direction which is safe-full for you. No matters your going in a different rout, which you doesn't want to go.

Be Alart! Be safe-full

Thank you.

Bye


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you for your advice for driving in Saudi Arabia Khan..


SHOEB KHAN 5 years ago

I AM DRIVING SINCE FROM SIX MONTHS I HAD VISITED MECCA A LOT JEDDAH NOT EVEN A SINGLE BRIUSE BUT DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY JUST BEHIND MY HOUSE A CRAZY MULLA WAS COMING IN SO SPEED AND BUMPED MY CAR IN MIDDLE THANKS I WAS SAFE BUT MY NEW 4 MONTH OLD CAR GOT LOT OF DIGS DOORS WENT SO DEEP INSIDE. AFTER TWO HOURS NAZM GUY CAME THANKS HE WAS CHARGED FOR 100% LIABILITY THAT TIME HE WAS EVEN NOT HAVING CAR INSURANCE BEFORE REACHING TO MURROR ANY HOW HIS FRIEND BROUGHT A NEW INSURANCE FOR HIM. NOW I AM VISISTING MURROR DAILY JUST PRAY FOR ME.


arab 5 years ago

I just love SAUDIA

Also i have been to it and thats right i've never seen people drive like them ... they drive on 2 wheel car thats Unbelivable however that does not mean its dangeorus to drive because they practice it before ...


Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 5 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

I did manage six months in Saudi without an accident, but my daily journey was only two miles. I would have walked, but there was no pavement and many of the 4x4 brigade undertake by adding an extra lane on the desert, so you can find yourself walking between speeding vehicles. Not pleasant! Anyway, brace yourself. Ramadan approaches, when driving standards deteriorate even further!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Paraglider, the roads in the evenings during Ramadan are a total nightmare, trying to drive anywhere is so difficult as everyone is out driving around Saudi Arabia well into the early hours of the morning.

Your comments about the lack of pavements are so true and the Saudis will drive anywhere if they think they can gain a few seconds advantage.


Amaal 5 years ago

I am Saudi ^^

I agreed with u ,

the driving here Nightmare , Should be put strict laws to curb it

I sometimes say that Prevent women from driving here it is a blessing

but sometimes say we want driving maybe they feel responsible >_<

welcom to you in saudi arabia

ksa the second Country to you and Always say welcome ,

and sorry about this .


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Amall, thank you for your comments about driving in Saudi Arabia, but maybe allowing Ladies to drive on Saudi roads will prevent some of these crazy Saudi Accidents that you see every day. I am sure the Saudi women drivers will be far less aggressive and more courteous on the roads of the Kingdom.


superguy1221 5 years ago

Yeah. I'm so glad that I drive an Audi A8 and have good auto insurance, because crap happens to me all the time here.

I've finally reinforced my bumpers, grill, seats and chasis. I've installed glass that's semi-bulletproof. Now my car is a 4900 pound killing machine. The last Saudi who suddenly stopped in front of me on the south ring road had his car totaled.

And yes I speed, but only if there's no traffic.


Londoner 5 years ago

Hi leanMan

I read through your article and I realized something, you were learned how to drive your own car in Saudi Arabia because you were a reason for an accidents, do you know why!! because all main roads are rush cars


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Londoner, you do have to learn to drive in Saudi Arabia for a second time as the driving is so different from anywhere else.. But I can happily say that I did not manage to be the cause of any of these Crazy Saudi car Accidents.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 5 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Superguy; it's a pity that you didn't bother to upgrade the brakes on your 4900 pound killing machine that you drive around Saudi Arabia! Then you would not hit so many other vehicles when driving in Saudi.


Sara 4 years ago

totally disagree,

Driving in Saudi Arabia is worse than other countries, but not as worse as you describe it. I live in Saudi Arabia since I was born, and fortunately I have never get a car accident.

Regarding policemen, they do not have to speak English to perform their job, but speaking English will be better to deal with forefingers.

In France, people their do not speak English even if they know English they reply to you by French.

Welcome to Saudi Arabia,


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sara,

Having driven in most continents (not Australia yet) and many many countries I can say that Saudi Arabian driving is the worst that I have ever experienced!! I have never had an accident in any other country but have been driven into several times in KSA! The driving rules in Saudi Arabia seem to be more guidelines to be ignored by most drivers! The comments left by some of the people above and the videos and various news stories say it all...


saudi 4 years ago

I'm Saudi and these reckless driving of some young

And some crazy driving driving

Type in the search engine YouTube

( ????? ????????)


Richard Slater 4 years ago

Leanman,

I'm very grateful to you for writing this hub. I've been in Saudi for 2 months, and having finally received my iqama and licence etc have taken the plunge and started driving. I read this hub a while back, but returned to it just before I started driving. It really is an invaluable source of information, and has alerted me to many of the dangers on the road here, which will hopefully help me avoid accidents! Thanks once more.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Richard, thanks for your kind comments about driving in Saudi Arabia. Please try and be careful, I had a perfect record until I went to Saudi but within a year I was driven into 3 times and I found my car smashed into in a car park! I have seen too many Saudi crazy accidents whilst driving and would not wish anyone to experience them! At least they are now doing more with speed cameras to slow people down.


Ahmad 4 years ago

Hey LeanMan, I agree with you in some point, however, people should know that a certain type of drivers that drivin' crazy (Young Guys). So, other people might not be as worse as young guys. My hometown is Dammam but I'm currently living in Boston U.S. and believe me they are way too worse than Saudis. I know you guys aren't familiar with how saudis drive. Just drive as they drive throw all your driving unneeded skills behind you and start over again and you'll get use to it. Don't forget that Many constructions make people there even much crazier.


Arif 4 years ago

Hi to every one

I am driving in Saudi Arabia, since last five months, thanks to Allah that he kept me Safe, i am driving around 400km daily, as i am in marketing field.

I would like to give the suggestion to follow the Center Track mostly.

Also any one can tell me that how much fine or penalty "they" got after breaking the red signal? camera flash

All the best for driving in Saudi Arabia, or nowadays we can say everywhere they are installing the new cameras for traffic violation control.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Arif, the last I heard was that the standard fine was 200 or 400 riyals for speeding but not sure about jumping a red traffic signal in Saudi.


old 4 years ago

best drivers in Saudi Arabia i really cant stay out of this country for one month i swear it is the best place to stay in my life

every where there is bad and good rivers

i drive all my life here and really it is great to drive not as you said even in your country i can bring for you bad videos and i will say there is bad drivers every one will write what he want about other countries

all my life i drive here and not bad as you say

but for me really KSA is the best


hi 4 years ago

you are not write about it maybe you hate Saudi Arabia because that you talk like that i was working there nothing i see like that or maybe you are bad driver so that is not good for you there


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi old, if you think that driving in Saudi Arabia is acceptable and of a good standard I would say that you are part of the problem! As I have said in my article I have driven in many countries with reputations for poor driving but KSA is the worst! I have never seen as many accidents on a daily basis as I have in Saudi Arabia.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi "Hi", just a note if you want to leave multiple comments with different names try changing your ip address so that it is not so obvious!


old 4 years ago

i have many other friends they were with me as same time in KSA and they and i sent to them this they said you are really just try to make it as you want one of them i swear he said he drove in KSA for 40 years and he don't think as you do he is from USA

everyone will write and make it bad as he want


about Hi 4 years ago

he is my friend and i make him read this from my computer and he answered you i am not that stumped i know ip address


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Enjoy your opinion Old, personally I am glad that you have had such a wonderful experience driving in KSA and hope that your experiences remain that way. Drive safe!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

about hi, good luck; enjoy driving in Saudi with your "friend".


old 4 years ago

thanks and i love Saudi Arabia very much and i enjoy my life here

i went many counties 19 but really i love to stay in Saudi Arabia


mohammed 4 years ago

when i stopped at a stop sign last week

i discovered new insults I've never herd them before in my own language !!

drivers here are ignorant, old or young .

although i haven't been in a serious accident, i really fear for my life in the highway

i drive to my university 150 kilometers twice a week ,every time i see at least one accident .

i started to feel iam the only one who drive within the speed limits.

here's some statistics about the accidents in the ksa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hlUplHf3OoA&feature...

turn on the captions , i hope its understandable


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thank you Mohammed for sharing that video, it contains some horrific data regarding the roads in Sauid Arabia;

1 car accident every 2 minutes, 1 person hospitalized every 15 minutes (30% of hospital beds occupied by road accident victims), 1 Person killed every 40 minutes (6485 deaths in 2009).

The graphical comparisons against other countries death rates on the roads and comparing the number of victims against the various middle east wars is very powerful! It just shows how dangerous it is to drive in Saudi Arabia.

Don't forget to put on the subtitles if you can't read Arabic.


saber 4 years ago

drive in ksa is too hard.


Roel 4 years ago

I agree to you, today the police give me a ticket for my headlights, as the car is already park, when they see me locking my door, they approach me then ask me to turn my lights on, i use cenon white in my high beem but i am not using it, because i have additional lights below my bumper but still they insists that i am using it, btw I am a new Muslim, i am disappointed for the reason that, they are searching for a reason to gave me a ticket... hmmmm, do this how you treat expat? Hasbiyah Laho Wa Nimal Wakil...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Roel, the number of cars that run on the road with smoke pouring from them and other problems I am surprised that they picked on you for a faulty headlight!


danny 4 years ago

hi leanman , u are right again , drove there for a couple of years and i remember in the begin i make an accident by hiding the side street because of a other car , i get stopped a couple of time but did like i didn't understand arabic and they let me go , ( the true was i didn't understand arabic , just some small words ) , pump up to some other cars but had my eyes one something else hehe , when u know the road a little and u start getting used to drive there u will start racing from place A to B .


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

I have very bad driving habits Danny, so I fitted into driving in Saudi Arabia very easily..


Tariq 4 years ago

I am a 30 years old Saudi guy living in Riyadh, and had lived there for my whole life. I don't know how to say this, but except some of the religious stuff you mentioned such as "they trust in god so much ... vehicles.", which i find somehow offensive, i am 100% with you. People here are really crazy and stupid when it comes to driving. The problem is that you just can't convince them otherwise. I always dream of driving down the road where people abide by the rules and respect each other. I just hope that this day comes !


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tariq, sorry did not intend to offend.. I hope that with all the new traffic cameras people will learn to slow down a little and begin to abide by the rules of the road in Saudi Arabia a little more.


Tariq 4 years ago

I am sure you didn't mean to offend, you are just angry and you have the right to be :). In my opinion, traffic cameras will not eliminate many of the other bad habits that drivers have here. Cameras only control traffic speeding limits, but what about those who come behind us and keep flashing their lights and hitting their horns, and those who go in the opposite direction of the traffic ! and of course not forgetting the idiots who keep crossing you from the right lane ! What we really need is a society like the other parts of the world, a society that does not approve such behaviors, i am very positive that in your country if someone did those stupid stuff that drivers are doing here, people will not leave him in one peace, i am sure that the other drivers will kick his butt !


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Tariq, if people behaved the way they do in Saudi on the roads of my country or any other part of Europe or the States they would almost certainly find themselves in trouble with the law or a victim of road rage at the hands of other offended motorists! That sort of behavior is certainly not tolerated in most other countries.


Eek! 4 years ago

I arrived in Saudi about a month ago. Why on earth would any woman even want to drive here? If you believe in human rights, don't call for women to be allowed to drive, call for men to get banned too!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Eek, i would hope that having women on the roads in Saudi Arabia would actually improve the driving conditions and reduce the number of fatal accidents in Saudi Arabia.


Nil 4 years ago

LeanMan, I totally agree with you and i know that statistic will approve your finding. Myself, I am scared every time I had to drive. I am a Malaysian and move in to Riyadh about 6 months back, and I am always overly cautious when driving. While bad drivers are everywhere, here in Riyadh, it is a norm. And I don't foresee any improvement in the near future as I see many foreigners adopting the same culture.

Don't take me wrong, I like many things about life in Riyadh but driving is definitely high on the hate list. I just prefer to stay indoor most of the time rather than risking my money and worse, my life by being on the road.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Nil, I am sure that when they finally let women to drive the traffic will calm a little. Meanwhile stay safe.


Shams 4 years ago

I fully agree with every word said in this very interesting post. This country is a crazy driving land. Saudis are arrogant and think that they are always right, even if it was entirely their fault. They lie in your face and police always supports them. You can expect no justice even if you go to the police station. I have learnt that the best way is to negotiate everything on the road and go home if you had an accident (God forbid).


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

It is illegal to just leave the scene of an accident in Saudi Arabia no matter how minor, which is why they leave their cars blocking the roads no matter how minor the accident; that being said I totally agree with you.


sarahali profile image

sarahali 4 years ago from +Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Also, I remember recently in Riyadh. There was this horrific accident with a driver "drifting" doing that racing where the car just drifts and spins. It is on youtube. The guy actually hit a couple people and you could see body parts flying. I heard someone was beheaded for drifting and killing two people and I wonder if it was the same guy.

-Sarah Ali


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Sarah Ali, not sure if the video and recent case where the guy has been sentenced to death are the same. As far as I know the sentence has not yet been carried out but I don't see there being much chance of a reprieve for him.

Too many people in Saudi Arabia drive so poorly, it is not surprising that so many people get killed and injured on their roads each year. They do need to make an example of some of the terrible driving that goes on but I am not sure if beheading is not a little over the top! Young boys will be young boys and sometimes they make mistakes, maybe they should make an example of his father for allowing the boy out in a powerful car like so many young Saudis drive.


Mostafa 4 years ago

Hi LeanMan,

Thank you for a very interesting and very true post.

I am a new driver and been driving in KSA for 7 months now, only one small accident - rear ended once (by the crazy fast drifting lane-switching guys)

I do agree with every word you said, in fact i was laughing sometimes because i can totally visualize what you are saying and i was saying exactly the same.. many of the situations that happened to you also happened to me ( including the guy who tried to smash your car). I even had someone who throw glass bottles at me on the highway at 160 km/h !!!

I drive on major highways daily from work to home, i have seen very strange accidents where you really wonder " how did he do that ?!!"

I believe the safest way to drive in KSA is in a pickup truck, either small one or the full size pickups. They will NEVER ever ever come behind you bumper to bumper on the highway when you are in a pickup, also pickups are strong in crashes, take minimal damage in accidents, full size pickups are even fast and comfortable, and they cannot try to "scare" you because they are in "BIG" cars, not when you are in the pickup.

Also, when they come flashing behind you and no where for you to go, just give them a signal that you are moving right and clearing the lane, that should shut them up till you actually get a change to shift lanes.

Sometimes the best way to calm them is just waving your hands in a form of "sorry" to just let them calm down and go away. and sometimes its just better to go on the offensive like you did.

and BTW no, women diving in KSA is going to be a disaster in my opinion, just imagine guys flirting or showing off their "driving abilities" on the highway with the lady in the other car :D that is going to be hilarious and deadly !!

I want them to drive, but its going to be very dangerous in my opinion

Anyway drive safe and if you are not in a hurry, always take the middle lane its way safer. :)


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Mostafa,

I am not so sure that the middle lane is any safer than any other lane to be honest, the number of idiots that will slalom through all the lanes on the highway to get a 10 second advantage is horrendous!

I still personally think that maybe women will calm the roads of Saudi a little, after all most men are actually quite respectful of Saudi women, after all they are never sure whose wife or daughter they may be.


Burj Al Shoheb 4 years ago

I Don`t Think so they allow women to drive in this Generation here i s KSA .!! lolz


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Burj, sooner or later women will be given the right to drive. The country will change and the pace of change I am sure will pick up over the next few years.


waterstrider 4 years ago

This is so true! I have been here for almost 3 years and I had seen all these. I am just glad that no major car accident I got involved to. Only a damage bumper when a crazy saudi taxi driver cut me off in Dammam. This is really a good place to develop your patience and temper. What I normally do when i get too frustrated on the road is to shout inside my car and say like "go ahead you insolent monkey/ or any kind of animal you may wish to say! It helps you set off the anger.

Well, i guess not much you can do to persons who thought they have nine lives!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for taking the time to comment waterstrider, stay safe on the roads whatever you do. Make sure you don't roll your window down when you shout at them or you could get yourself in some trouble!


waterstrider 4 years ago

Gratitude is all mine leanman! Your hub is great. Im just glad my stay here will be over in 2 weeks.

For those who are staying here a little longer, Goodluck! Dont let them drag you in their reality because if you do, they'll beat you with experience.


Mansoor 4 years ago

I'm a Saudi , and i believe that most of what you said is true.I personaly hate driving to and frome work.


Mansoor 4 years ago

I forgot to mention that after the late introduction of speed radars, driving is much safer now and the numder of accidents has been minimised significantly.

If you ever come back you will notice that.Riyadh, by the way,has always been the weirdest!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Yes, the cameras do make a difference. Even I got caught by one in the back of a car!


imtiaz 4 years ago

i want a visa for car driver in ksa


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Imtiaz, best thing to do is apply for a job as a driver in Saudi Arabia then!


Amr 4 years ago

I am a Saudi doctor who has lived in the US for twenty years and have decided to take a job in Saudi five months ago. Unfortunately everything you mentioned in your blog is true. They are reckless, rude and stupid at times. Many drivers here have no respect for others and only care about themselves. It's as if they have somewhere important to go to, half of them are unemployed. I don't worry about myself as much as I worry about having my three year old son in a car among these idiots. There's some good about being here, but this is just too much. I'm already looking for a way out.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Amr,

Sorry to hear that you are having such a bad time on the Saudi roads. I hope that you manage to find your escape.


Expat 4 years ago

This is a very good post and you captured my sentiments about driving here exactly. I have been driving here for over a year but still cannot get used to the madness. Looking for a way out as well.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Expat, I still have to laugh when I read Saudi's comments about how good the driving is or how I have exaggerated the problems. I am sorry that you are not enjoying the time, just keep your head down, do your time, and count your money at the end!


Shukura 4 years ago

I find it disturbing that anybody would think that the driving here is acceptable, it disgraceful and it doesn't speak well of saudi's. As muslims we are taught to preserve life, when you have idiots drifting next to school buses you wonder what type of evil beings are these. Impatience is an understatement, someone would fiercely overtake you just to be caught in a traffic light a car down lool! it's ludicrous. There is no perception of danger almost and poor judgement driving in general. Leanman it's not so much that they think well Allaah will protect them( even though He does) it's really just operating a vehicle and not understanding and appreciating the danger and responsibilities involved with driving. Every time me and my husband enter a vehicle we always make our supplications, trust in Allaah as well as being a competent and responsible driver is key. thanx


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comment and for reading Shukura; the driving here really is the very worst. Many drivers have no concept at all as to what their poor driving could lead to..


Anjo Bacarisas II profile image

Anjo Bacarisas II 4 years ago from Cagayan de Oro, Philippines

Nice to know something about the streets of Saudi Arabia. Although there's no chance I'll visit the place because of the distance, I find this article very informative. thanks!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 4 years ago from At the Gemba Author

There are many of your countrymen driving there along with expats of all nationalities taking their lives in their hands every time they venture onto the roads. Driving in the Philippines is a joy compared to Saudi Arabia.


Abuyassir 3 years ago

HI

I read some of your article , i don`t think i need to read it all because I`m from Makkah and live in Jeddah.

I 100% agree with you about driving .

I`m retired now at age 53 , one of the reasons of this retirement was , I don`t want to drive any more and i don`t want to deal with people any more.. i`m staying at home 24\7 except when it becomes mandatory for me to leave home.

The mentality of most of the people here is like the one who said : my friends had only 7 accidents? My father had 3 or 6 ?

i blv that all of his friends are not older than 28.

Imagine that you are at 28 and had only 7 accidents?

Also the mentality here is so weird, they reach at age of 70 and still don`t know what's wrong and what's is right?

May be 15% of the people are decent and polite when you deal with them.

The main reason behind that because of The royal Family who have very low IQ and they are represented as the good example of the main stream Media.

Another reason was that they imported an uneducated labors from alot of uneducated cultures which had bad reflection in our culture.

Third reason, was: The Gov plan was to make Immigration of people from small towns to big cities which started mainly at 1980 .

Most of these people were not familiar with the basics of modern life starting from electricity and on.

And because the Modern growth was so fast they didn`t have a chance to learn or educate their kids about how to deal with this new life.

So the result was : uneducated parents with a lousy kids who became soon adults and then fathers of the present generation.

We still consider these people as foreigners because we never meet with them in alot of their manners.

I remember when i was at very young age (1975)we were in very good condition and we don`t had alot of foreigner in the streets.

I wish we copy the good habits of the west regarding driving and other good Manners

But i`m sorry to say that , now they are trying their best to import to us The most shitty things in the West ( i.e Things regarding Sexuality , alcohol, etc etc ) instead of their good behaviors and habits..


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Abuyassir,

Thank you for taking the time to leave such a lengthy reply, you obviously feel that the driving in Saudi reflects very poorly on Saudi culture in general. I am sure that things will improve as will other aspects of the culture in the coming few decades.


Prathapan.v 3 years ago

Hai Im prathapan.v i am working at Dammam it's very appriciated to add this type of Articles for the youth . Those are watching this in future i am sure they are become a deffencive friver.

Regards,

Prathapan


Arshad 3 years ago

Hi Lean,

Thank you very much.

what ever you mention in your post is true,

i self agreed 100% with you post.


just me 3 years ago

Hi LeanMan love the hub. keep it up. recently arrived in KSA Ar Riyadh for work from the UK. Driving standards are shocking to say the very least with zero road manners let alone skill.

Quick question if I may. I am going to be driving around a lot. Company is getting me a Yukon ( large SUV. ( insert smilie) ) I am a safe confident driver with over 25 yrs and several hundred thousand accident free miles under my belt. Little concerned with regards to the rules of the road over here and if you could advise, would be great. ( yes I know they are supposed to drive on the wrong side ( as opposed to UK LHS with a RHS steering) Also, I was looking forward to getting a motorcycle here but having second thoughts.

Are there any restrictions on the use of camcorder/ IP data cams or similar devices whilst driving? might come in handy in the event of a accident? needless to say I would not be the one causing it but there seems to be an inevitability about it all. K


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Just Me...

I have never had an accident until I went to Saudi and I got driven into several times, nothing serious thankfully. Be very careful as it is very different to the UK, if someone flashes you don't think that they are letting you out!!

Do not get a motor cycle!!!

I would get yourself the cam, I know that plenty of people use them and you may get yourself some great footage for youtube! Just don't go cruising around government buildings with it!


Amitk 3 years ago

Hi,

this is a great blog... I wish I would have read this before buying a brand new car (just to get it ripped off by a trailor just 3 months after purchase).

Every word of your blog is true... i mean i have seen this and am undergoing the harrowing experience of co-ordinating with the cops, insurance company and the garage given the fact that I dont understand / speak arabic except "arabi maafi" ...


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Sorry you have had a bad time driving in Saudi Arabia, I hope your car is fixed soon. I drove a big Range Rover most of the time which kept me out of serious trouble. But when I drove a small Hyundai hire car it was like a magnet for the crazy drivers.


claire 3 years ago

Hello.. My boyfriend called me a few minutes ago telling me he's in prison because of a car accident in which case the car driven by a Saudi hit his.. But the police Didn't listen and brought him to jail.. By the way he is a filipino And I am really worried right now as my bf's employer is only able to come visit him tomorrow.. He has to sleep in jail and I can't sleep not knowing his safe home... :(


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 3 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Claire

Very sorry to hear about your problems. In Saudi you can pretty much be sure that the person with the lower social standing will be the one to blame for any car accident no matter what the facts of the case may be. Unfortunately your boyfriend is very much at the mercy of the system there in Saudi Arabia.

Often you will find that theses things are resolved fairly quickly once the sponsor becomes involved, especially if the sponsor is important themselves.


bong 2 years ago

i disagree to a woman drive here in saudi arabia

it's not safe for a woman to drive in this country

that is the reason why they dont allow the women to drive here.


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Bong,

Personally I think that having women driving will provide a calming influence on the way the men drive!


Hackslap profile image

Hackslap 2 years ago from Sydney, Australia

hahahaha .. loved the article to bits despite the grim message .. Im guessing you havn't driven in India ? ... its by far the scariest thing ever!..


dodo 2 years ago

all is OK here all of you saying that just to have fun that is all

i am here for long time i see nothing like that it is same like other country


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Sorry dodo if you have not seen anything like I mention on the roads in Saudi Arabia then you must be blind!


sarath 2 years ago

Salam alukum iam driving in saudi 3year yesterday I camin time I crosing raite side but comin camara flash this four folte


Abdul Rasheed 2 years ago

Heyyah LeanMan. Great blog. Entertaining as it is true. I have been working in the Kingdom for the last four and a half years as a healthworker and though, some Saudis may deny that the KSA has the worst drivers and an even worse traffic rule enforcement, but it is absolutely true. In our ER in my hospital alone, there was never a day that we didn't see an RTA (Road traffic accident) victim. And most of them are "Shabab" or teenagers and or young men who tend to be so Aggressive on the roads. Recently, cameras are installed, but the reckless drivers have developed ways on how to go around that obstacle by either removing their registration plates to avoid the cameras catching the trackers installed on the plates or blurring the tracker with the compound. Their policemen do go after these reckless speedsters but only to a minimum. As you said in your article, they only seem to go after the not so expensive cars only. I have been driving both in Asia and in the Kingdom. There are also reckless drivers everywhere but I Must agree that the worst so far are found in KSA.

Although, I must disagree with your idea that the saudis should let the ladies drive. Most women in KSA are under educated especially in the "badu" or remote areas. And bear almost the same qualities as their male counterparts -- meaning letting their ladies drive wont change anything. Anyway, great blog! Cheers!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 2 years ago from At the Gemba Author

Thanks for your comments Abdul, just be safe yourself on the roads there in Saudi Arabia.


FIRAS SIMBAWA. 22 months ago

you are completely right about what you have said. Now I have to say that I am saudi and I was born,and live, In jeddah. It's all the same here with this whole reckless rude selfish way of driving. I have never ,nor will I, liked that.they have this 'whatever' attitude and drive so fast as if the fate of the world rests in their hands.


AndyBUK27 19 months ago

I am also a British expat and I found your blog about driving in the KSA very interesting. The impunity with which Saudis behave on the road sounds exactly the same as the Emiratis. They couldn't care less what they do as they know the Police will take their side over a non-Arab regardless so they can't really lose.

I can't understand it. They definitely want foreign servants, labourers & Western professionals in Saudi and the UAE to keep the money rolling in so (a great deal of them) can continue to kick back and do absolutely nothing all day, but (and this is by no means all of them, granted) their immense feelings of arrogance and superiority doesn't quite let them bring themselves to treat us as anywhere near equal human beings.


Tariq 19 months ago

@Andy

That's really BS. A couple of months ago I was driving on the right lane of a two lane service road approaching an intersection at which I was going right and Indian truck driver was on the left lane. A few dozen meters before the intersection he suddenly swerved (I think because he thougt he needed more space to make a turn to the left) and he hit the left back of my car with his front tires. Of course, the truck was not damaged at all while my car's back left side was banged horribly. I insisted that we wait until the traffic police come and we did. Guess what? The traffic police put all the fault on me (which obviously isn't).


Paul 15 months ago

Between July 2004 and December 2009, I had 3, the first one, was behind a car then suddenly the driver stops and reverse, the second, was following car in a roundabout, suddenly stops his brake lights are busted didn't lit. The last one, a taxi just suddenly came out from a blind corner...now... so far so good for the last 2 years none... Thanks!


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 14 months ago from At the Gemba Author

Hi Paul, thanks for taking the time to comment and let us know about your time on the roads in Saudi - at least you avoided getting injured.


Mohammad Fahd 13 months ago

I couldn't stop laughing through your article, it is an amazingly accurate description of the driving scene in many cities in Saudi Arabia. The reason I find the article so funny is that I am so much used to this crazy behavior, both dealing with it and performing it as well! But I can understand how strange it looks to you. I totally agree, we are inpatient while driving, but do you know why? it is because it is tooo hot we want to rush back home. we sleep through the rest of the day and stay up all night while weather is tolerable, we go to bed late which cause the morning rush because we will wake up late too. does that sound like a good reason?


LeanMan profile image

LeanMan 13 months ago from At the Gemba Author

I always enjoy being in the car as the aircon is better than what I have in the house..

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