x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Kill time, not people

I love driving but even I get bored, so imagine how mind-numbing it must be for those who can take or leave the joys of motoring.

I often wonder how bored drivers get when they are whizzing around, zipping up and down roads like laboratory rats in a concrete maze. I love driving but even I get bored, so imagine how mind-numbing it must be for those who can take or leave the joys of motoring. Take a daily commute of an hour or so, to and from work, just as I do each day. Day in, day out, week after week, month after month. It's got to be boring. I get bored just thinking about it.

As the commute grows on you, one begins to notice minor details along the road. As time goes by, it is not uncommon to feel as if one is set to auto-pilot and the sights along the way become a bit too familiar. On a recent commute to Abu Dhabi, I passed the time by taking close notice of the number of crashes I drove by. There were three just a few metres from each other, and it wasn't even 9am. Although minor encounters, they still happened, maybe out of frustration, distraction or boredom.

That night, I logged onto Facebook and spotted a friend's mobile upload picture. It was a picture of the road ahead of her as she drove back home. I posted a comment: "HEY!!! Aren't you supposed to be focusing!?!?!" to which she replied: " hehe i WAS :) im a safe driver, i think. it was so empty and i was bored :s". This made me ponder. We all think we are safe drivers, we all think we know what we are doing and it doesn't take much to maybe decide that a harmless bit of fun like snapping and uploading pictures onto mobile Facebook just to keep us busy during the boring commute will be just that, harmless.

There should be no need to remind everyone what a terrible idea that is. If you do get bored during your commute, there are ways to help pass the time that will keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and wits about you. Try keeping count of how many lane changes are actually performed with signals; estimate how little time other drivers will leave before they slam on their brakes at every speed camera; keep a mental note of how many Abu Dhabi plates pass you on the way into Abu Dhabi and how many Dubai plates pass you on your way back to Dubai.

When you are legally overtaking, place a mental bet as to how long before that SUV behind you flashes his lights. Other ideas include singing along to the music of the Crash Test Dummies, learning a language, learning Arabic numbers by reading the Abu Dhabi plates, and planning out loud your culinary adventures for the evening - although this may lead to an unexpected hunger pang and a quick stop at the Adnoc Burger King.

But stopping off for a burger is at least a good way to break up the drive. Or a friend suggests stopping at one of the towns along the way just to see what goes on at Shahama or Al Rahba, for example. Did you know there's a turquoise-painted mini mall at Shahama which is good if you fancy fish for dinner or a bargain Hannah Montana backpack? Many of us must endure boredom on the road, but that's no reason why we should all become dangerous to each other. Keep alert, keep yourself entertained and learn about your surrounds, but most of all keep safe. And for all of you Facebook junkies, update your status when you get home. motoring@thenational.ae