Qatar driving can be intimidating, frustrating and even dangerous. Experienced drivers, however have adapted and found -knowing what to expect can be half the battle. You won't be able to change the system or the drivers –so it is better to accept reality and save yourself the anguish.
There is an order to driving on the roads in Qatar, be patient observe
A contradiction in terms, but the safest way to arrive at your destination.
Be aware of your surroundings at all times, expect the unexpected and be prepared for it. Assume that any vehicle around you will make an incorrect action (just because the vehicle in the front is indicating right, this doesn't mean that he's going to turn right!) Anticipate the worst of actions by the vehicles around you.
When choosing a vehicle some people prefer the security of a large size -and others the agility of a smaller vehicle. Choose what you are most comfortable driving. Maintain an awareness of vehicles to your rear and those passing (on the left or right) by keeping a close eye on all of your mirrors. This is referred to as situation awareness.
In case of an accident call the police/ambulance at 999
If you are driving in the left lane (well any lane) and the vehicle behind you is approaching quickly with flashing headlights -the driver is in a hurry and wishes you out of his path. If it is safe to do so –signal and move over. Do not touch your brake pedal flashing your brake lights -telling the driver "back off buddy you're too close." The driver behind will interpret this as very aggressive behavior.Flashing headlights are a gesture to give way in some countries. Beware –not usually the case in Qatar. Locally this translates to –"you’d better wait –I’m coming through".
The honking of car horns usually means I'm here, but as you will find there can be an enthusiastic volley when the lights turn to green, or if the vehicle be has a space for you to join the traffic on the roundabout or that you were taking too long to move. Don’t be intimidated by the honking. Take your time and join the traffic when you’re ready.
People tend to drive in the left lane, as vehicles approaching from the right tend not to stop when joining the main road, so:
Usually when approaching a roundabout from a two lane carriageway the right lane is meant for turning right and the left lane for continuing straight ahead, turning left or turning back -unless otherwise stated.On a three lane carriageway the right lane is for turning right, the middle lane is for going straight ahead and the left lane is for turning left or turning back unless otherwise stated. Many roundabouts are now being fitted separate slip road for turning right
Ideally if you approach the roundabout from the middle lane and intend to go straight ahead you should drive into the roundabout position yourself in the center -as if there is another vehicle on your left and right sides. Follow the round shape of the roundabout. As you approach your exit you should indicate and turn off, almost as if you’re making a right turn.
Some people follow this lane discipline, but I have to say that they may be the minority. So just because someone is in the middle lane do not assume they are going straight ahead, they may be turning left or believe it or not they may even wish to turn right,. Approaching the roundabout, it seems many people position themselves in the shortest –or fastest moving queue regardless of which way they might be turning in the roundabout
I once heard someone call a roundabout over here a straight-on-about, this is
generally because some people don’t indicate or follow lane discipline
Now going through the maneuveras in example above will probably be more like this: approach the roundabout from the middle lane intending to go straight ahead, when you see a gap in the traffic,pull away as quick as possible to get ahead of the traffic on your left, then cut straight through the roundabout (making it a straight-on-about) as soon as you see your exit aim straight for it checking your right mirror, because remember the vehicle on your right should have turned right, but maybe he’s trying to turn left.Vehicles in the roundabout have the right of way.Most drivers comply.
If someone is driving erratic, pulling out in front of you, suddenly stopping, cutting you off,and obviously having no consideration for others, take one or two deep breaths,get out of the way,and let them go. Then smile to yourself, because it is not worth a duel or the trouble. Be mindful of trucks carrying any load and in particular when they are going around a roundabout or overtaking you. Avoid driving behind:
Taxi's: they are likely to stop anywhere without indicating to pick up or drop a fair
Trucksin general and especially Water Trucks:They are often very slow and unpredictable. Youalsohave very limited forward vision when behind a truck.
The Traffic Police from time to time will carry out random checks on:-
There are now speed limits on all roads, and the police have mobile radar cameras and unmarked cars fitted with video cameras. Speeding fines vary from QR300 to QR500. Be aware that the police can and do impound your vehicle if your speed is excessive.
Many traffic signals have a static camera, which will take a picture with flash of anyone jumping a red light. The fine is QR1200 You can be subjected to a traffic penalty without your knowledge. Frequently the first you will learn of the penalty will be upon annual vehicle re-registration,when in a car accident, or trying to leave the country.
Rules, regulations and procedures are subject to changes - sometimes frequent changes. The above advice is current at this time.