(Note: This is based on experiences myself or my friends have had.)

  • When approaching a "blind" four-way intersection (i.e. one where you can't see whether any cars are coming or not), do not, under any circumstances, stop, regardless of any signs to the contrary. Simply flash your lights and honk your horn to "claim" the right to go through the intersection. Under no circumstances should you slow down, and it is preferred to speed up. Similarly, if approaching an intersection and you hear someone honking; honk back and indulge in a game of blind chicken.
  • Numbers in circles by the side of the road are minimum speeds.
  • Policemen will pull you over for no apparent reason. They like to read your ID upside down.
  • If driving in Saudi Arabia, then always dress like a Saudi. In an accident with a Saudi national, the non-Saudi is always at fault; since the non-Saudi does not understand the driving rules documented here.
  • Lane markings are there for decorative purposes. Two broken lines spaced a few metres apart mean "drive five cars across here here". If another driver drives past you at 150 km/h so close that he takes out your left rear view mirror, then that's his way of telling you that there was too much space empty on your right hand side.
  • Traffic lights are not always automatically controlled. Look for a police officer sitting in a box that's on stilts. He controls the traffic light. If you really need to go, then hurl insults/offer bribes at said officer to get him to change the lights in your favour.
  • Only wimps turn left from the left lane. If you are a bus driver, feel free to swerve your bus through five lanes of traffic to get to the off-ramp.
  • Beware of donkeys. In particular, avoid hitting a country farmer's donkey. He is likely to want the donkey put in the back of the ambulance and taken to hospital with you; indeed, the ambulance driver is likely to agree with the farmer.
  • When it rains, it's safer to drive faster.
  • Do not be concerned by mass honkings. It could be any of the following:
    • A wedding entourage.
    • Fans for a victorious soccer team.
    • Bored youngsters with nothing better to do than drive around the streets and honk.
  • When going to pick someone up, never actually go to their apartment, simply honk from your vehicle. However, to distinguish yourself from other sounds, develop your own "family honk" so that people will know it's you.

The basic principle that should guide you when driving in the Middle East, is that the if you drive faster you spend less time on the road and therefore you are less vunerable to road accidents.

Middle Eastern drivers often abide this principle so tightly that they often ignore other important principles such as slowing down in tight curves, stopping before someone gets out of the car, using the brakes when they're needed, etc.

The efficiency of this method is highly questionable.

Ah, but you both forgot the two most important parts of driving in the Middle East:

1: Horn

2: High Beams

Now, you both mentioned them, as well as some of the more appropriate times to employ them, but you both missed the technique.

Unlike in America, where the breaks are activated by the pedal on the floor, in the Middle East, the brakes are activated by pressing on the steering wheel. This activates a loud siren to alert people behind you that you are about to slow down. Now remember your driver's ed: The horn- I mean brake, is never to be depressed fully and held. It is to be tapped vigorously and repeatedly, preferably while flashing your high beams and yelling obsenitiies in Arabic, Turkish, or Hebrew.

Also, beyond any of the situations mentioned above, both techniques should be employed early and often. Feel free to improvise.

Okay, here's a serious one. In Israel, and I'm pretty sure in most other Middle Eastern countries, headlights are required at all hours during winter months. This is one of those common sense laws that I really wish certain other countries would adopt.

If somebody flashes their lights at you and it isn't summertime, they are not being antagonistic or trying to send you a coded message. They are trying to remind you that you are being a silly tourist and have forgotten to turn on the headlights, because you didn't bother to learn anything about the local laws. I get the distinct feeling this has happened to a couple of noders.

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