What the driving experience tells us about strengthening brand Dubai

22 September 2023

Stephen Worsley

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to exit the roundabout only for another driver to cut in front of you. And to make matters worse, they’re not even going in the same direction. They’re heading the opposite way!

Another classic is the spiteful refusal of people to give way when changing lane. Like two bald men fighting over a comb, each driver purposely inches forward to impede the other, holding up themselves and every other car in the process.

My all-time favourite highway etiquette gripe however is the dawdling pedestrian at zebra crossings. Nose in the air, mobile phone in hand. Could they be walking any slower?

Of course, this isn’t the first article about driving in Dubai. And to be fair, conditions have improved greatly since I first arrived on these shores more than 25 years ago. I write this after a three-week holiday in the UK where giving way on the roads is almost a badge of honour for some.

Britain is not without its problems, as anyone witnessing the slow-motion car crash that is Brexit will testify. Generally speaking, however, inconsiderate drivers aren’t one of them.

What my country wouldn’t give for a brand image like Dubai’s right now. Tell anyone you live here and they will look at you as though your street is paved with gold and your bank account the size of Warren Buffet’s.  I became so self-conscious about this during my stay in fact that I started saying I live in the UAE instead of Dubai, thinking this would somehow confuse people. Don’t they know I shop at Brands For Less and am the proud owner of a 12-year-old Peugeot 3008 with 206,000 kilometres on the clock?

It does make you wonder how much stronger the Dubai brand would be if more attention was paid to encouraging people to be kinder as well as safer on our roads. Now the UAE’s goal has evolved from attracting tourists, businesses and investors, to encouraging them to put down roots in the country, this would seem strategic as well as sensible.

The British philosopher Bertrand Russell once said that no matter one’s views about the world, they should be inspired by kindly feeling. This noble principle should of course guide our behaviour in everyday life.

I for one would appreciate the hassle-free journey to work.