As horrific as a 127-car smashup on the highway sounds, it is amazing that it doesn’t happen far more often. The highway between Abu Dhabi and Dubai is one of the worlds most dangerous roads, if not the most dangerous depending on the year’s statistics, according to the World Health Organization. One person died yesterday because some idiot couldn’t be bothered to slow down in the fog. (This also happened about this time two years ago in fog when a 200-car pileup cost six people their lives.)

Having had driven it nearly every day for a year, I can tell you, the road etiquette here is deplorable. Actually, it’s non-existent. Other drivers ride your bumper, flashing their headlights at you to “get out of the way.” No warning; no giving you time to actually check to see if the next lane is open so you may move safely. If you don’t move fast enough, they will attempt to pass you by driving on the shoulder.

Oh, and all of this happens at 100 m.p.h.

Speed is controlled using cameras, so there are rarely police cars on the road. Even when there are, they hardly blink at the SUV blazing along in the far left lane at speeds nearly approaching 150 m.p.h. The police have set up a “road safety” PR campaign, but all that talk does no good when the laws aren’t enforced and reckless, even deadly, driving is unpunished.

A taxi gets lifted out of a 127-car pileup (Khaleej Times photo)

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