Yesterday I took my car to get the two driver side doors fixed. For the last three years I paid an additional insurance premium so that any repairs would be carried out by the main dealer. This year I decided not to pay the extra 750QR, which means I have a repairer allocated by the insurance company.
I headed off to the Village Car repairers located at Street 11 Gate 44 in the Industrial Area. This is one of my least favourite places in Doha. Being based on a grid layout ought to make it easy to find your way around, but it doesn’t work that way. The roads are narrow, often lined with trucks and cars. Many are still unpaved with huge, deep potholes.
I managed to find Village Car repairers. The area outside is littered with some very broken cars. Inside was little different except they were in various stages of repair. There were an awful lot of damaged taxis.
I asked when it would be ready. “Wednesday”. “But I need it on Monday as I will be out of the country from Tuesday”. “Can you do it by Monday?” I asked. They said they would try, but I don’t expect to see it again until we return to Qatar in February.
I managed just three years and four accident-free months on the roads of Doha. But last week, on the way home from work, a large old 4×4 (not a Landcruiser I should say) clipped the drivers side doors while we were both on the Al Rumailah roundabout. I ought to point out that I was not at fault – I have a witness who will support this assertion!
In circumstances like this, both cars are legally obliged to stop, however the other driver decided to rapidly speed off. We didn’t get his number, or more precisely we sort of had a set of numbers but they might not necessarily have been in the correct order or perhaps even the right numbers as it all happened so fast. Unfortunately the first time my car-cam was required, the number plate in the video is unclear. Watch for the bump!
We reported the accident by phone straight away. I was told to go to the Traffic Department at Madinat Al Khalifa. It’s the building next to the one where you register your car.
I picked my number 392. A guy came up to me and gave me his ticket 390 as he couldn’t wait any longer. The screen showed they were up to 384 so not too long to wait. As I waited and watched as drivers went to the counter and completed the process, I noticed that the police officer would occasionally accompany the driver out of the office. I asked what was happening, and apparently they need to see the damage to the vehicle. My car was not parked closeby, as I had thought I was going to the main traffic building. So I rushed off to move the car to the car park outside the building. When I got back ticket number 393 had been called, so I picked a new number – 409.
My turn came around, and I explained the details of the incident to the traffic officer. As I could not identify the other vehicle, I was told to come back the following morning to see if the accident had been reported by anyone else.
So this morning I went off again, this time parking in the correct car park. No numbers needed this time, and in a couple of minutes I saw a different officer. I explained the collision and showed him the video. He watched the short clip of the accident, and identified the car as a Chevrolet.
He asked where the car was. I told him it was outside the building in the car park. “Please get a photo of the damage”, he said. Below you can see the same image I showed him.
Not a huge amount of damage, but nonetheless annoying and inconvenient.
He gave me a document and said that I should return in one week, during which time they will see if they can identify the other car… very unlikely, but then, hopefully I will have the correct form to take to my insurer to authorise the repairs.
So back seven days later and I was given the documents for my insurance company. The papers are in Arabic so I have no idea what they say. I went to the insurance company, who filled in more paperwork, made copies of my ID, driving licence and car registration, photographed the damage and gave me the documents for the car repairer. I will only have to pay the 20% excess.
So on Wednesday, I will head off to the Industrial Area to book the car in to have the dents removed and the doors resprayed… and that will be another story for you.
The early morning fog in Doha has again reduced visibility in some places down to around 30 metres. Whilst not all drivers appear to be slowing down or even turning on headlights, the common practice appears to be driving with hazard flashers turned on. I must look, but I am not even sure my car has a rear fog light. Either way fog lights are not being used. I don’t know whether hazard lights are a legal requirement or just personal safety preference, however the practice does make cars in front much more visible, though rear fog lights would be even more effective.