x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Female driver 'not typical'

Hana Yazbak, from Jordan, considers herself a confident driver.

Jordanian Hana Yazbek, 25, drives through the streets of Abu Dhabi. Hana, a driver for eight years, believes that women need to be more decisive when it comes to dealing with traffic.
Jordanian Hana Yazbek, 25, drives through the streets of Abu Dhabi. Hana, a driver for eight years, believes that women need to be more decisive when it comes to dealing with traffic.

Despite the widespread perception that women are more conservative drivers than men, Hana Yazbak believes she is an exception.

Ms Yazbak, 25, from Jordan, said she "definitely" did not drive like a girl. Women who lacked confidence posed a threat on the road, she said.

"There are so many accidents because women can't make up their mind. They want to go, they want to stay - make up your mind and move. You often see this when women approach a yellow light," she said.

As Ms Yazbak travelled along the Abu Dhabi roads, her drive filled with sharp turns and forced lane changes, it became clear she knows how to handle her car. Such driving tactics were necessary for surviving the streets of the capital, she said.

"If you don't drive this way, you'll never get anywhere. You have to blend in with traffic, otherwise you'll stand out and you're more likely to get into an accident."

With nearly eight years of driving experience, she has never received black points and was involved in an accident once - it was not her fault.

"I was waiting at a red traffic light and a guy drove up and rear-ended me out of nowhere," she said. "He threw me into the intersection."

Whether Ms Yazbak's knack for evading car accidents was due to luck or skill, she was not sure.

But as she checked her BlackBerry for "important" messages, sipped her coffee, flicked through her iPod, and did her make-up on a drive from work, luck seemed to be in play.

However, last week Ms Yazbak experienced a scare. "My car is under my father's name, and he received a text message that the vehicle had been recorded for reckless driving and that he must go to the traffic police," she said. "They didn't fine us or give us a penalty, but they gave him a warning."

Now, Ms Yazbak said, she was especially cautious, adding that her driving had improved significantly since she first received her licence.

"Back in the day I was much worse. At least now I recognise red lights."

* Manal Ismail