Ian Edelman in Doha

Expat exploits in Qatar

Body space

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We have just returned from a few days in Kuala Lumpur. One of the advantages of living in this part of the world, is that other parts of the world which are a long way from the UK are now 7 hours closer and so much easier to visit.

Apart from the ‘green’, the first thing that struck me as we took a taxi from KL airport into the city was the calm and considerate driving. In February we visited Kerala in India where the driving was even more chaotic than Doha. A large proportion of the drivers in Qatar are from India, so I am fairly sure they have bought their driving style with them, contributing to the unique road experience that is driving in Doha.

When I learned to drive, the ‘stopping distance’, that is the space between vehicles according to speed and road conditions, was a question that was likely to be asked during the driving test. The gap between the car in front of you is an extension of personal body space… too close and I begin to feel uncomfortable.

Culturally, personal body space varies between different nationalities, however in a car, there are much more practical reasons to keep a safe distance. In Doha I try to keep a sensible, two or three car lengths when travelling at moderate speed. Yet if you leave a space in Doha, someone will certainly change lane and fill in the gap, which means I slow down to let the new gap increase… and of course the cycle repeats.

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