A street scene in Aleppo, Syria
This may not seem to make a lot of sense, but it’s true: I am beginning to miss the drivers of
The average Syrian driver has an impeccable feel for the exact size of his automobile, and can scrape through amazingly small centuries-old alleyways while dodging horse-drawn carts and soccer-playing children with astounding precision. There are virtually no American-style parking lots in
Of course, part of this vehicular flexibility stems from the fact that Syrians, in general, drive small cars. You don’t see many trucks (besides Suzukis, and those don’t count), vans, or SUVs driving around the city, and when you do, they likely have a Saudi license plate.
But most impressive to me is the average Syrian driver’s skill. American drivers just don’t measure up. Sure, Syrian drivers may drift across several lanes on the highway without signaling, but at least you can be fairly sure that they did it knowingly. Or, if not, then you yourself, as a Syrian driver driving defensively, fully expected them to make such a move. In
Syrian drivers are also intelligently aggressive. They know when to take chances and when to yield to the other guy. In America, I constantly find myself behind some dude driving like an idiot, apparently unfamiliar with even the most basic rules of driving, or else I’m dodging overly aggressive drivers who are just plain unsafe. And this is in the American traffic system that admittedly has dumbed down most every aspect of driving. You can hardly turn left anymore without waiting an eternity for a precious green arrow, instead of being trusted to be able to handle a yield-to-oncoming-traffic green light.
And I never thought I’d say this, but I kind of miss the traffic circles, too. True, they were usually scenes of chaos and mayhem, but somehow, people get where they need to go without waiting for a traffic light to tell them when to stop and go. In
Part of the problem with the overabundance of unskilled drivers in