Pet Practice – Time to Control the Crazy Men Behind Wheels
Time to control the crazy men behind wheels
By Molouk Y. Ba-Isa, Arab News Staff, 23rd March 2002
My maid has just brought me a cup of tea and two aspirins. I returned home a few minutes ago after
surviving my tenth car crash. It was a big one — a five-car collision on the Alkhobar-Dammam Highway.
Yes folks, ten times now I have heard the screech of tires and the crunch of metal, sounds which would tell
anyone that a negative life experience was in progress.
Ten times I have been a helpless passenger in crashes which have left me emotionally hurt forever. The bad
news here is that I am one of the lucky ones. Ten times I have been able to walk away from the crashes.
Many of my female friends haven’t been as lucky even the first time around.
Saudi Arabia doesn’t publish numbers of how many women are injured or killed every year in traffic
accidents. It’s a touchy and delicate subject. That’s because every one of those women was the victim of
some man’s stupidity. Perhaps a driver was speeding. Or he forgot to check the tire pressure. Or he was too
tired to focus on the road properly.
Or he was eating, smoking, chatting or goofing off and wasn’t paying any attention to his driving. Or
maybe he just didn’t care enough about the traffic rules to obey the signals. I could give you hundreds of
reasons why men have car accidents that kill women. The bottom line is that this is a disgusting situation
which is getting worse and worse, and the time has come for women to speak up in self-defense.
It’s a fact that internationally women cause fewer traffic accidents then men. Yet I have been told that I am
banned from driving here in Saudi Arabia because it’s in my own best interest. That leaves me at the mercy
of irresponsible men who don’t respect my life.
Hundreds of traffic police around the Kingdom spend hours every day stopping vehicles to ask for the
driver’s license and registration. Listen to me officers! I don’t care anymore if any driver has a license or a
registration. Stop looking for those useless pieces of paper and start stopping the lunatics who are on the
road wreaking havoc! Punishments for speeding and running a red light should be huge and enforced on all.
Three days in jail and a SR5,000 fine for a first offense would be perfect. Let the jail time and fine double
for every successive offense. Recordings of women crying in pain and sorrow should play without stop in
the jail cell during a driver’s time in prison.
I can hear all the men out there shouting and angry at my suggestions. I don’t care. My life is worth a lot to
me. The only way any lunatic on the road will understand that is if he is hit hard in his pocket. Part of the
fines can go to the Ministry of Health to improve the hospital accident and emergency centers across the
country where many female accident victims die every year because the facilities are not good enough.
You don’t like the idea of huge fines and jail time for drivers who can’t follow the rules? In that case, I
have a better suggestion. Men have been driving in Saudi Arabia for the last 70 years or so and time has
shown that they aren’t very good at it. So effective immediately, ban all male drivers from our roads.
For the next seventy years let women do the driving in Saudi Arabia and allow men to sit in the back seats
of the vehicles, hands clenched tightly in fear and praying. But don’t worry, they won’t be frightened and
miserable for long. I am certain that if women were driving, in a very short time the number of accidents on
Saudi roads would be dramatically reduced.
Do I sound angry? I hope so. I’ve been terrorized by idiots on Saudi roads for too many years and I’ve had
enough. Now, there’s just one question in my mind. How many more people are going to die or be
hideously injured in traffic accidents before we as a nation do whatever it takes to make the horror on our
1. The writer is having a cup of tea and two aspirins (Panadol) because
a) she was driving to Dammam
b) she has just been in an accident.
c) her maid brought them to her
d) she’s listening to the screech of tires and the crunch of metal.
2. The writer has been in _____ crashes.
3. Many of the writer’s women friends
a) have walked away from crashes.
b) have been lucky in crashes.
c) have not been able to walk away after crashes.
d) have been driving cars in crashes.
4. Why is the number of women killed or injured in accidents in Saudi Arabia a “touchy and delicate
subject”? (Line 9)
a) Because a number of women are killed or injured.
b) Because all the accidents are caused by men.
c) Because women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
d) Because there are a lot of traffic accidents.
5. In lines 13-14 the writer says she “could give you hundreds of reasons why men have car accidents…”.
In fact, she gives us nine. What are the nine reasons she gives? DO NOT WRITE MORE THAN
THREE WORDS FOR ANY ANSWER!
1. _speeding_______________ 2. _tire pressure____________ 3. __too tired______________
4. _eating_________________ 5. _smoking________________ 6. _chatting_____________
7. _not paying attention______ 8. _not caring______________ 9. _not obeying signals________
6. Around the world, women cause more traffic accidents than men.
True / False
7. The writer is allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
True / False
8. The writer thinks the police should do more to stop men who drive too fast.
True / False
9. The writer thinks someone who gets caught running a red light for the third time should be punished
a) 3 days in jail and a SR5000 fine.
b) 6 days in jail and a SR10000 fine.
c) 9 days in jail and a SR15000 fine.
d) 12 days in jail and a SR20000 fine.
10. The writer uses the word “lunatic” (Line 27). A lunatic is:
a) a good driver
b) a lot of money
c) a crazy person
d) a hospital worker
11. What does the writer think the money from fines should be spent on?
__hospital accident and emergency centers___________________________________________
FIVE WORDS ONLY
12. What does the writer think would be the best way to reduce the number of accidents on the roads of
___let women drive instead of men__________________________________________________
USE YOUR OWN WORDS