Driving in Israel, Part I

Israel traffic jamI feel like driving in Israel deserves its own series. Why? Well because anytime you get on the road, either as a driver or as a passenger, you’re basically playing a game of Russian Roulette. Seriously. I feel like people say that about driving in New York too…but believe me when I tell you that driving in Israel is worse than anything you can imagine.

Anyway…I was smart enough to sort out the driver’s license business when I first moved to this country. I did a little lesson and took a little test and that was that. I knew I wouldn’t be driving anytime soon but I wanted to go ahead and get it out of the way. Finally, about two years after my arrival, I’ve been blessed with a car. A brand new car. Like many Israelis, I have leased a car through my company…it’s one of the perks of working in high tech. I’ve been lucky.

The first few days, I drove very timidly and cautiously and I was a friar. We’ve had that lesson on Zabaj before…what is a friar? A friar is someone who gets taken advantage of…the polite person or the quiet person…yeah…we get walked all over in this country. I had to quickly learn to assert myself on the roads. And I became very observant of all the mess that happens and all the really stressed out people behind the wheels of cars.

How can everyone be so stressed out? Well…it’s much like the escalator situation in this country. There just isn’t any urban planning. Everything is kind of thrown together. In America, you have all the up escalators grouped together so you can just go up and up and up without really pushing your way through crowds of people. Likewise with the down escalators.

In Israel…the up escalators and the down escalators are all clumped together so that whether you’re going up or down, you inevitably have to FIGHT traffic on each level to get to the next escalator. It makes absolutely no sense. And this is all besides the fact that people like to congregate and hover right on the entrance to every single escalator. For no reason. They just stand there and talk with old friends…completely blocking all traffic. Totally oblivious.

That’s how the roads are. The exit lanes onto major highways run parallel to the entrance lanes so everyone who is trying to get onto the highway has to merge with everyone trying to get OFF the highway. And it’s a long stretch of just utter chaos where everyone has to be extremely forceful and basically push people out of the way with their cars. It’s stressful for no reason. Where are the urban planners?

I feel like a great part of why everyone drives so insanely is because the way the roads are constructed make us insane. And I’ve found myself doing some insane things lately too! Like totally tailgating the car in front of me at high speeds because I know that if I am able to see his wheels touching the pavement, the guy to my right or to my left will suddenly decide he HAS to be in my lane…in front of me. It’s every man for himself out there…

Urban planners? Anyone? Anyone?

6 Responses to Driving in Israel, Part I

  1. Aviv says:

    The Israeli lawmaker thought everything out for us, so they came up with the ultimate solution to all traffic and driving problems: if young drivers are allowed to drive only two friends with them, everything will be just fine.

  2. eliesheva says:

    Windshield wiper fluid is water. WATER. Shutthefuckup.

  3. […] Zabaj’s Shirat Ha’Sirenah, in the country for two years, recently became the proud recipient of a leased company car. That said, the big S is finding out that sometimes the insanity of taking to the roads is truly…insane. […]

  4. […] in Israel, Part II As a follow up to my original post, I wanted to update our faithful readers. The other day I was sitting at a stop light in Jerusalem. […]

  5. LOU says:

    Hi, I’m glad I found you and I also write at jpost (Louis the scooterer) and driving in Israel is one of my pet hates / subjects..I hope ypou contact me my email address is in all my stories. Lou.

  6. James Bombed says:

    This blog is good. I am glad somebody wrote it.
    The weird thing is that there is no road rage. They will scream at you and make rapid hand movements whilst in your personal space because they did something wrong, but when you make it clear that the conversation will no longer contain words they run back to their cars, lock the doors and drive away as badly as they can.

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