Israel Stories

Thursday, September 01, 2005

26 Ways to Drive you Crazy

Not many people know this and even fewer actually believe that according to Israeli law drivers must take 26 lessons and pass a test before receiving their full license.

What these lessons consist of nobody knows but there are many theories. Below is a list, compiled by myself and members of my carpool, we have called the Rules of the Road, or Survival of the Fittest:

Etiquette and courtesy: It is important to remember that mutual respect for your fellow drivers is paramount when venturing onto the highways and byways of Israel. This also means that people will have to respect you. When pulling out, therefore expect other drivers to be aware of your presence, the indicator, as you will learn in later lessons, is optional. One tip we would suggest slamming your foot down on the accelerator in case another driver claims right of way, also discussed in a future lesson.
Traffic lights: One of the first obstacles and potential hazards you will encounter is the traffic light. The traffic has two sequences of lights, Red, Amber and Green and Flashing Green, Amber and Red. If you approach a traffic light that has just turned Red remember you still have four seconds to get across the junction before the other lights turn amber. At all times keep your foot on the accelerator. Hoot, discussed in a later lesson, if necessary when you anticipate the Red light will turn amber, thus alerting fellow drivers to get a move on. Always accelerate towards a flashing green, amber or Red light.
Indicators: On each of the four corners of your care you will find orange lights that flash. These are your indicators. They are added feature of your car and optional to use, please do not be alarmed if people look surprised when you do not use them.
Right of Way: Right of way is always yours.
Round-a-bouts: There are several ways to traverse a round-a bout, clockwise, anticlockwise or over. Nobody has quite understood the point of round-a-bouts but the general theory is they are something to do with the airforce.
Breaking: At all times and for no reason whatsoever use your breaks. These should also be used in an emergency and at the last possible moment. If you are too late and crash into the back of the car in front, do not panic. Simply explain to the driver that he was driving too slowly and thus a hazard on the road.
Full Beams: Full beams may be kept on permanently or flashed at will. Use your full beams when driving on unlit roads. Should another car approach you, do not worry, he has the option of slowing down, closing his eyes or averting his head to one side. Should a car approach you with full beams on, flash you beams insanely at him until he has passed. Also flash your full beams behind a driver you feel is not driving the regulatory 30 KMH faster than the speed limit, discussed later.
Hazard Lights: Believe it or not you have a button, that when pushed ignites all the lights on your car causing them to flash. Its quite neat and generally used for saying hello to people in from or behind. They are caused hazard lights because as you drive down the highway, oblivious to them flashing, people will get out the way.
Speedometer: This indicator has a round face with 0 to between 180 and 240. This dial is linked to your accelerator. The object is to press the accelerator and try to make the dial hit as close to 240 as possible.
Accelerator: use this to make your speedometer hit as higher score as possible.
REV Counter: Do not confuse this with your speedometer, you cannot drive at 100,000 KMH but you are welcome to try.
Horn: The use of your horn should be restricted between the hours of 1am to 7am. Use your horn as warning that traffic lights are changing colour (any colour), when you are in a long queue of traffic, when you a street away from picking someone up and you want to signal in advance that you are arriving.
Radio: Your radio is essential in many ways. It helps to retain concentration on your driving and ignore what is happening on the road, dull out the sounds that may potentially distract you like police and ambulance sirens and announce your arrival from at least 3 kilometers. If you have a from loading tape deck or CD, remember to lower the steering wheel so you can read the back of the CD with one hand, load it with other and drive with your knees, also see Mobile Phones.
Police: Police also drive on the roads. They drive in white cars, with blue and red flashing lights. Before leaving home on a journey make sure you have researched you family history and can claim to be related to a policeman and or know one or no somebody who knows one. This information is vital if you are ever asked to pull over. Not having this information could result in a fine.
Accidents on the Road – Part 1: Never admit responsibility. Even if the other driver was still filling up with petrol.
Accidents on the Road - Part 2: If you happen to pass an accident on the road, slow down, have a good look, offer you advice but do not get out your car.
Hard Shoulders and Emergency / Security Vehicle Lanes: The only time you may drive on a hard shoulder is if you are in traffic and in a great hurry. Stopping on the hard shoulder to use as a toilet is allowed at your own risk. Beware of other vehicles using this lane in the event of a traffic jam. Unique to Israel is a Emergency / Security Vehicle Lane, which runs down the middle of most major highways. Only use this if you need to change a CD, light a cigarette or dial a number.
Mobile Phones: It is your democratic right to free speech, unfortunately at 3 shekels a minute its not so free, ideally you should always leave one hand free to steer with when using a mobile phone. If you possess to phones use your knees to steer with, ask your instructor for additional lessons, or ask a passenger to steer for the duration of you call.
One way Streets: Ensure at all time you only drive one way down a street.
Speed Limit: You will occasionally see round red signs with a number written in black, this is the minimum speed a driver must drive.
No Entry Signs: These signs are to ensure the cars do not enter a street from both directions. In this unique circumstance, wait and if you are certain no cars are traveling in the opposite direction, you may pass the No Entry sign.
Parking: This is not the same as stopping. When you park you must leave your vehicle. Use your hazard lights if necessary to warn other divers you have left your car, for instance on a round-a-bout of in a traffic cue. Parallel parking is parking parallel to another car, sometimes called double parking. This creates twice the number of potential parking spaces for your fellow drivers. Sometimes car parks have designated spaces separated with white lines, ignore these, they are just for decoration.
Changing Lanes: Remember the old saying that whatever lane you’re in is the slowest, well it is suggested that you constantly change lanes, try to push in front of other drivers and remember to keep a cars distance (the length of your car) between yourself and the space in front of the car you are cutting up so as not to cause damage to either car.
Zebra Crossing: If you look carefully at certain points along your journey you will notice black and white lines painted the entire width of the road. It is suggested to keep you eyes ahead of you as looking for these lines can cause accidents. Beware of pedestrians trying to cross the roads at these points, swerve around them if necessary. Any sudden braking may cause accidents. Always use your lights or horn to warn unwitting pedestrians that you in fact have right of way.
Bus Drivers: Don’t let small cars get in your way.
Taxi Drivers: Remember you are a law unto yourselves.


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