Last week, I got into a discussion (yet again) about bad driving in Dubai. It is inevitable that this topic will come up on any given night. Because bad driving is just that bad here.
So I was talking to a friend and I mentioned how Dubai doesn’t immediately punish bad drivers so the offenders repeat the offense over and over again. For example, if you are caught speeding by a speed camera, you get fined but (1) it’s not like they send you a ticket in the mail so how are you supposed to know that you got a ticket and (2) even if you did get a ticket in the mail, it’s not like you would (a) get points on your license b/c Dubai doesn’t have a point system or (b) charged interest for non-payment like in the States. Okay, on to point (3) which is that many people wouldn’t even know where to check for possible tickets they’ve received so they don’t even bother. (BTW, you can check for outstanding tickets at any RTA office or online here.)
As I continued on and on about how bad driving is encouraged here b/c it’s not punished, it suddenly occurred to me that maybe I was a bad driver. I mean, I don’t honk at drivers to hurry up just as the light changes from red to green, but I certainly have been known to drive over the speed limit and I have never paid for parking at a parking-metered lot. Why? Because of the same reasons I outlined above. Let’s say I get a speeding ticket every day on the way to Scotch’s work. But because I have no idea that I received a ticket, I continue to drive over the speed limit.
As for the parking meters, I started out as a law-abiding denizen of Simcity, er I mean, Dubai, but the first couple of times I tried to put money in a meter, nothing happened. No acknowledgment that I had deposited money, no parking stub came out, no money got returned, nothing. So I went to another meter and put money in. Same nothing happened. So there I was faced with a dilemma – do I move my car out of a parking spot that took me FOREVER to find? Or do I just not pay? Obviously, I went for not paying and haven’t put any money into a parking meter since.
And now my story goes back to that fateful day last week when I said aloud, “Why should I pay for any stinking meter when they’re not going to ticket me anyway?”
And just my luck, I got a parking ticket that night. 150 dirhams. Ouch.