I received this email yesterday from a woman I’ll call Jane…
Thanks so much for your website and the book. It has been very helpful.
I do have a few question for you and I hope you have time to respond. I just got hired to teach at either the Abu Dhabi or Al Ain public schools and I have family questions. I have a 6 and 4 year old as well as an 8 month old and I am curious about safety for them. I keep reading about the large about of car accidents and how it is the worst driving in the world. As far as being an expat how are you treated? I want this to be an enriching, safe experience for them. We live overseas right now, but it wasn’t much of a culture shock and so it was an easy transition for them. I just want to make sure I am making the right choice for my family and any personal input would be great. Thank you.
I replied as follows…
I’m delighted that you like the site and ebook. The quality of driving here is… different to be sure! It is not the worst driving in the world though. I was talking with a guy who was in Turkey, and another who was in Korea, and they were saying how much better the driving here was compared to where they were before! Yes, there are far more crashes here than in the UK, US, but I still feel safe driving. I believe you should get a 4×4 for safety. My car been hit from behind once in 2 years, and it wasn’t so bad. My wife’s car has been hit once too. Again not so bad. Other friends haven’t had any crashes at all. Cars do race up behind you and flash their lights and can drive so close that they almost touch, but you just need to get out of the lane. It could be a lot worse! If you were to talk to one of these drivers you’d find he (generally he) is very pleasant and friendly, and not at all aggressive! If you were to gently tick him off, he would be very apologetic too! (But don’t curse him, or you could get into more trouble with the law than you’d imagine: Emiratis don’t name call each other from what I understand, and take a dim view of it.)
The roads can be very crowded in Abu Dhabi. A number of people have told me that, because they would come down to their cars in the morning and find a new dent or scratch.
This doesn’t happen in Al Ain.
Every place has its positives and negatives. All I can say is that this country has its challenges, but we love living here. And you may very well feel the same when you’ve settled here after a few months.