Sunday, September 23, 2012

You need Speed... to get Rich (or is it the other way around?)

Road Signs & Crashes

Driving in a country other than your own is always an adventure. In Australia, it was the difficulty associated with steering on the right side of the car and exiting off the left. In Honduras, it was the giant potholes, exploding tires and the lack of rules and regulations.  In Kuwait, it is the speed.

People drive fast here. To get anywhere you need to merge onto a highway and, once on the highway, people fly. The speed limit is 120 k/h (75 m/h). People take this as a recommendation. Cars regularly fly past us in the morning at 100 to 150 m/h. B has to look over his shoulder and way into the distance before merging, just to be sure he isn’t going to get rear-ended.

And this isn’t to say that there aren’t laws, because there are. The Kuwait government actually has a very good and accurate system set up. First, there are highway patrols patrolling the streets and pulling cars over. Second, there are cameras setup all along the highway that take photos of speeding cars and electronically issue tickets. These fines are also dealt with very efficiently. Basically, all fines you occur are added to your civil ID and you are not allowed to exit the country until you pay them.

Based on this information you would think people would be law-abiding citizens but here is the caveat. Many people are rich. They can afford the fine and more importantly they can afford the crash. It is awe-inspiring just how wealthy these people are, but we see the evidence on our way to and from work each day. In the half an hour it takes to get to school, we see at least one Lamborghini or Porsche or some other unbelievably expensive car lying totaled on the side of the road or crashed into a pole - sad and terrifying and unexplainable, but real, very, very real. Which is why B stays at the speed limit and merges with much caution. We can’t afford the fine, we can’t afford the crash and, most importantly, we want to live to see tomorrow.


  1. As Paul Harvey used to say "We are not one world".

    1. I know. It is such a different way to live, when you don't have to think about the cost (at least in terms of money)...