Snarled Traffic in Bahrain

Now, driving here is a challenge/treat depending on how aggressive a driver you tend to be. Those that imagine themselves a “Mad Max” version may do well here…. Timid drivers not so much.

Personally, I’ve become much less aggressive of a driver since moving here. Which leaves me brain room to wonder about such weird things as “why is the traffic so snarled here??”

I’ve seen three major reasons…..

Road design and signage. Instead of seeing a “merge left” sign telling you what to do…

OK, the right lane is ending, merge left.  Easy.

OK, the right lane is ending, merge left. Easy.

We have a “two lanes into one” free-for-all sign… so no one has to yield….

OK, two lanes merge into one, but who has the right of way?

OK, two lanes merge into one, but who has the right of way?

And no one does.

Often, where lanes are going to change for some unknown reason, there is no signage….. we just no longer have road markings. None. No stripes, lane markings, indications of any kind. “Sort it out yourself” seems to be the traffic rule there.

Many times, I’ve found myself in an “exit only” lane with no clue that it was exit only…. No signs.  On to reason #2…..

Oblivious/Inconsiderate attitudes.

Example – local exhibition hall has an expected large crowd…. So, at the roundabout, which has barriers up to only allow straight traffic, two exits blocked, a gent stops in the middle, gets out of his car, removes the police blockade fence, and drives through. A brazillion cars follow him.

Same exhibition and the line of traffic is moving *really* slow. As I get closer, I see why. In both lanes, there are private vehicles with drivers, like a private chauffeur. They stop, driver gets out, opens the rear doors, three women get out, collect their bags, and cross traffic, stopping the other lane. But then they turn, go back to the car, (stopping traffic again) and collect the phone/case/bag they forgot. And discuss with the driver what time to pick them up. The driver is helping the elderly female from the front of the vehicle. Then, traffic stops again for her to cross. Driver closes all doors left open by his passengers, gets back into the car and drives off. Rinse and repeat with the next one. Since there are two lanes of snarled traffic, the thought process is “but I’m only here for a minute” I suppose.

Oh, missed your exit on the highway? No problem, move to the hard shoulder (Lexus Lane) on either the left or right side of the highway…. Throw that little shifter into “reverse” and back up till you reach the exit. Then turn.

Impatient drivers. This one is hard to visualize…. Stay with me. At exits on the freeway, when you are going to exit, you move to the right lane, slow down and then exit when the extra lane appears, right? A huge cause of traffic snarls is when people don’t honor the exit lanes…..

exit lane

See the red car trying to exit by cutting off the car already in the exit lane? Exit Lane Cheaters. OK, add to that the hard shoulder Lexus Lane drivers. So now, you have two lanes of traffic trying to illegally merge into one, and Exit Lane Cheaters are now trying to push their way into the exit lane by cutting off the line of traffic just before the triangle of no return. Annoying, stopped traffic, blocking flow of cars trying to continue on the freeway past the snarl.

Then…. Then there are the VVIP drivers that won’t be waiting in the exit lane, or behind the Lexus Lane, nor behind the Exit Lane Cheaters trying to push their way in… they are still merrily driving down the center/fast lane until they reach the point of no return. I’ve seen them literally 90° to traffic, at a dead stop, blocking the two slow lanes of freeway traffic, and forcing the Exit Lane Cheaters to let them in. Crazy.

So, in my humble observations here, these are the main issues with traffic snarls here. Totally avoidable but still happening.

One thought on “Snarled Traffic in Bahrain

  1. And here I thought we have it bad here in Doha. So far, I’ve never seen anyone backing up when they miss the exit (thank goodness!)

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