Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stuff Arabs Like #15: Hazard Lights

Like the liberal use of the car horn, Arabs (or perhaps more specifically Saudis) love them some hazard lights! And like the car horn, the hazard light has many meanings. Yes, in the West, use of these flashing taillights is usually reserved for when you're broken down on the shoulder after sunset. Slow-moving or heavy-laden vehicles might also use the hazard lights on the interstate to prevent other cars from changing lanes too late and rear-ending them at high speed.

You use your HAZARD lights when you are a HAZARD! It's logical.

Not the case in the Middle East. One can assume that Arabs think the hazard lights are like little flashing accessories for their cars--a less expensive alternative to underglow.

Thank goodness we haven't seen much of this in Saudi!

You see the blinkers in traffic jams--when EVERYONE is at a complete stop. You see blinkers when a BMW burns by you at 100 miles an hour and weaving in and out of traffic. School buses leave their hazard lights on permanently, even when they're not in residential areas and there's a chance of a child darting out into traffic. Blinkers on pick up trucks with 15 migrant workers in the back. Blinkers on delivery cars stopped outside a customer's house.

Apparently when an Arab asks himself (cause we know in Saudi it ain't gonna be a woman making this decision) "Is this a situation that calls for my hazard lights?" the answer is always "YES!"

Vicariously yours,

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