Today, I cheated death on Dubai's roads. No, really. The driving is insane here: fact, and many's the time my heart has been in my mouth due to some freak's relentless tailgating, flashing, or just general reckless moves. But today was different.
So, we're heading out to a meeting with one of the office drivers, and whizzing along SZR, when for some reason the car in front of us starts braking suddenly. No big deal, cars do it all the time here. But it did it again, and again, to the point where the the windscreen was getting just a little too close to my head for comfort. Then it fell back, and came up behind us, flashing and beeping. Then when we tried to speed up and get away from what was clearly an escaped lunatic, it pulled alongside us - and terrifyingly - started to push our car into the central reservation.
I'm not exaggerating- it was pretty horrific. At this point I'm not happy - neither are my two colleagues ( a girl and a guy), not to mention our driver. We decide to pull across the highway (all six lanes) to the slow lane - mainly to get out of this guy's way. (And it always is a guy, isn't it??). But there was no escape, he carried on trying to ram us with his car. It's now like something out out of Grand Theft Auto, only minus the fun and plus a lot of screaming and shouting - all members of the car included. Eventually, we are completely run off the road by the other driver. yes, run off the road. lest we forget, this is a six lane highway, WITH NO HARD SHOULDER, where cars screech along at an average speed of, oh 100 MILES AN HOUR.
Call me old fashioned, but when cars pull over/get run off the road, no good can come off this (remember Kenneth Noye, people of the UK?) We all tried to persuade our driver to stay in the car, but he was having none of it. The other guy gets out of his car too, and they have what can only be described as a huge argument which deteriorates into an actual fight. AT THE SIDE OF A SIX LANE HIGHWAY. WITH NO HARD SHOULDER. I'm sorry to shout, but you're getting the picture? Oh, and it's all in arabic so we have no clue what is going on.
What to do? We roll the windows down and join in the shouting. I attempt to get out of the car but think better of it when a 4x4 screeches past my nose with a few millimetres to spare. Mark the fireman's words are ringing in my ears at this point: more accidents are caused on the roads by people stopping their cars than anything else. Gulp.
After what feels like an eternity but is actually about 3 minutes, we persuade our driver to get back into the car - the other guy is still well into the argument. He's a local. Which means that if the police were called, and he wanted to make an issue of the incident - depsite it being HIM who is deranged, it would most likely bedeemed out fault. Nice.
Anyway, to cut a long story short, we made it away, in a cloud of dust. Seriously shaken by the whole thing. Dubai drivers: stop being such complete and utter deranged freaks!