Of Traffic and Get Well Soon’s...

Yes, this goes to Sach - the guy with “the worst cold a man has ever endured in the history of mankind” over there, in Japan. Sach, get well soon.

More than that, this goes to my good friend and former neighbour who now lies unconscious in a hospital bed in Medina, in an induced coma. He was travelling to Medina last Friday with three of his friends when a tyre blew in his vehicle, sending it rolling across the centre barrier to the oncoming traffic. Apparently, the tumbling vehicle rolled over five times and sent my friend D flying out of the window in the process, landing him on the asphalt hitting his head on the pavement.

Apparently, his skull is fractured, and there are some serious concerns that the doctors are not so sure of, yet. His parents have flown in from Lebanon and I cannot even go see him since the road to Medina is only open to Muslims.

I pray, and hope, that he recovers. Soon.


Saudi Arabia boasts of some of the worst drivers in the world. Looking at statistics in Saudi Arabia:
  • more than 6,400 deaths every year from car accidents, which means, every 82 minutes one person dies of a road accident
  • over 50,000 deaths, 300,000 injuries and losses of over 100 billion Saudi Riyal (= 26.6 billion US$) from car accidents in the past 10 years. Compare that to only 200 casualties from terrorist activities..!
  • 4.3 million car accidents causing 86,000 deaths and 611,000 injuries in the past 19 years.
More over,
  • 85% of accidents are caused by drivers violating to traffic rules
  • 7% of injuries end with complete or partial disability
  • and majority of hospital beds (up to 80% in some hospitals) are occupied by road accident victims, not people suffering from various medical conditions and illnesses.
Saudi traffic rules are supposed to be strict, but at the same time, they are somewhat weird. For example, the passenger in the front seat could be penalised for mistakes of the driver – for not advising him to abide by the law. Wearing the seat belt is a must, but only for the front seat occupants. And if a woman is seated at the front, the Police will never issue a ticket for her for not wearing the seat belt: women sometimes do not exist in the eyes of the ‘system.’

Using mobile phones while driving is ‘supposed to be’ prohibited, but no one cares. Not even the cops.

There are no female drivers in Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive.

The eldest son of the family could get the driving licence at 16 under special permission in order to support the family if he has lost his father.

You can pretty much park anywhere during prayer time, just like the pavement opposite Odel.


  1. I am so sorry about your friend. Hope he has a speedy recovery.

    The Medina road is so damn scary at night. There's a stretch with absolutely no lighting, except for your headlights and you don't know where you are going till a stray camel hits you!

    And traffic regulations aren't the only thing weird about this country.

  2. Thanks man, I'm good now. And it's so sad to hear about your friend - my heart goes to him and hope he'll recover soon. It's always crap isn't it, lives are lost to these stupid accidents.

    Those numbers, they are simply staggering - not to mention ridiculous. I thought driving in Sri Lanka is bad!

  3. I pray, I wish your dear friend a speedy recovery !!!

  4. @Sabby: I’ve heard about that stretch – I missed out on that part when I was driving across the country last year.
    LOL, yes, traffic is not the only weird thing.

    @Sach: The shocking part is no one seems to care. We (our company) have been trying to do a CSR initiative, but there is no enthusiasm from the authorities at all!
    Driving in Sri Lanka is bad and horrifying, but certainly not deadly.

    @Anon: Thank you. ;)

  5. Wish your friend gets well soon.

    Oh dear listening to this maybe i will wave at our bus driver in my route who chases my car everyday.

  6. Wow... staggering figures man! Sri Lankan drivers take risks, but no one ever seems to get into an accident... I hope your friend a speedy recovery!

  7. hope your friend gets well soon....:(
    sometimes we complain so much about the driving back at home..in where i live now it gives you minor heart-attacks each time you remember that you have to cross the road..as the drivers seem not to have something called.. Speed-limits...:S