The roads here seem to be very poorly engineered, but I’m told that there is a method to the madness. In a word (or two): traffic control. The streets here are so crowded, that the roads have been engineered in such a way as to try to cut down on traffic jams. With all of the Camrys, Rovers, Civic, Hummers, hatchbacks, vans and buses clogging the road, I doubt that anyone could do much about the traffic jams here.
It is odd to see only male drivers on the road; you only need to be 18 years old to get a driver’s license, and I would swear every male 18 and over in Riyadh is driving. There are no women drivers of any age. No teenage girls trying to text and drive, no grown up soccer moms trying to get to the game, school or soccer practice. Only men. There is a gentle push here to get women driving, but it probably will happen later rather than sooner. It is not legally forbidden for women to drive, but no agency will issue a woman a driver’s license. I, for one, have no desire to drive, having driven more than 30 years in all kinds of horrible traffic, weather, bad drivers and bumpy roads. I also have no desire to drive in the crazy traffic that is Riyadh, but I can see why other women would want to.
Driving represents a kind of freedom, unlike anything else. To be able to get in your car and theoretically go where you want is very appealing. Recently, I woke up one morning and had the impulse to jump in my car and explore, but I realized that I couldn’t and the impulse soon passed.
For me, it is a luxury for me to be driven to my errands, and I’m enjoying it. I don’t have to worry about car insurance, gas, potential accidents, or road rage – mine or anyone else’s.
Oh, what a relief it is.