Olaya Road. Near Aqaria. Traffic Jam. Though on the other side, traffic seemed normal. It all looked ok everywhere EXCEPT on this north bound road. Why? The signal went from green to red and back to green with a flash of orange ( a deception) many times and we did not move a lot. My son patting my head out of boredom from the back seat…Me discussing with my wife the lousy traffic situation in Riyadh now.. we moved inch by inch. A car I have driven at 200+, now being humiliated with a forced speed of 20-30 km/hour.
POMP! POMP!!!. Move it guys!!!.. That was not just me by the way. This was the situation of many cars behind me. POMPPPP!!! YALLLAAA!!!!…
Finally, as I came closer to the light with my mind set on making a U-turn and heading back home ( we had spent 40 minutes!).. I saw that cars in the middle lane were going right or left, as if something was blocking them. And, when I got close enough, there WAS something blocking the traffic so far. Four guys, two indians and two arabs stood on the traffic light and their cars stopped in the middle lane. An accident. When I was next to their cars ( I was in the left lane at the traffic signal , ready for my U-turn), I looked at their cars. A Trailblazer in the front, and right behind it a Tercel. The accident? Nothing…. a slight bump by the Tercel to the rear of the Trailblazer , no apparent damage. Just a small dent that a kick could fix!… I had waited 40 minutes in a jam to see this!..
Now, I always go around telling the world to control anger as it causes only grief ( I still maintain that).. but in that moment, I lost it. This was just STUPID!.. It was TOOOO stupid. To cause such a jam for SUCH a dent!.. S T U P I D!.. I opened my window and looked at those four and I said : YOU ARE IDIOTS!!!.. They stared back .. with a ” HUH?” look.. I had more to say , but I had to make that U -Turn and I made it when the light was orange.. As soon as I turned, there was a FLASH. What the heck? I thought and I turned to look.. LO AND BEHOLD!.. S A H E R. The Camera has been, ladies and gentlemen, INSTALLLED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!…And, it took my picture calling four idiots what they are, idiots. But, guess who will look like an idiot in the picture? Yours Truly, Mr. Real Talk guy, ME. So, I should have stuck to what I preach and not lost my temper. God, Forgive me please!
There is something else I did not know. For the first hundred or so kilometers out of Riyadh on the Dammam Highway, cameras have been installed and they DO take pictures. One of my employees told me this and also told me that he cannot drive at just 120 on a highway like that and that he is willing to pay the fine and so he smiles and waves every time he passes a camera! Mr. Guts. But, lets see what happens when he DOES get the fine one day. I am not paying for it, he is.
So, that’s why all those new recruits in the traffic police have been hanging around traffic signals giving people guidelines for so long. This was coming. And it has come. And, I have a lousy feeling that it will work too. Though it is good, I am worried about my “four idiots” snap shot. I was in a rented car.. does that do anything? No idea.. I guess I will ask a friend at the Police department. I will , of course, pay a fine if it finds its way to me.. I respect law. And, the fault was mine. I should have ignored the four “Idiots” and looked at the signal .
What I am thinking is that with such a fantastic traffic control system in place, the revenue generation is going to go high. Very high is my prediction. Most people don’t even notice the flash. Most people don’t even know they are on camera. And most people drive like they have to go to the toilet and there is no waiting!.. Revenue, friends, will be HIGH. Mark my words. Pretty soon you will read it in one of the papers ” Saher brings great revenues to the government”.. Which is good because more will be invested on our police forces and better equipment brought in. But, better than all this is the better security and prevention of incidents on the roads. Now, the police does not have to come and figure it out, it is documented. And, this is the BEST evidence for anything. Lesser time will be wasted and Riyadh will have a better traffic system and control in time.
And it would have been nicer if I was not photographed that night..