Monday, December 21, 2009

Dar Driving School FAQs

  1. What do you do if you are caught in a traffic jam?
    • Be resourceful! Are you next to a "sidewalk" that is wide enough to accomodate a car and relatively free of trees, large rocks, or other obstacles that might make driving difficult? [Note, pedestrians should not be included in this list]
      • If no - Pole sana (very sorry). You'll probably be sitting in traffic for a while. Hopefully you....
    • have a good stereo (that actually functions) and there is good music on the radio, and/or
    • are on a major street and can do some "window shopping" (by which I literally mean buying things out of your car window); items you can likely buy include...
        • Car essentials: floor mats, emergency reflective triangles, steering wheel covers, etc
        • Seasonal fruits (mangos, bananas, pineapples, watermelons, etc.) and other snacks such as peanuts and ice cream
        • Home essentials and seasonal decorations: wall clocks, pillows, coat racks, hangers, large maps of Tanzania, fake Christmas trees, etc.
        • Phone credit for any of Tanzania's major cell phone providers
        • Toys: kites, soccer balls, pool floaties, wooden cars, etc.
        • Fresh fish (sorry, no meat options available)
        • Pets (I haven't actually seen this myself but am told you can buy puppies & tropical fish)
        • Furniture and landscaping materials: sofas, papasan chairs, large potted plants, etc. (and although you might have to pull over to buy these items, you wouldn't actually have to get out of the car)
        • If yes - Is there a policeman nearby who might see if you were to, say, drive somewhere you are not supposed to?
          • If yes - Pole sana. See above.
          • If no - Check for both oncoming and passing traffic, and slowly pull out into your new lane. If you run into obstacles, simply force your way back into the line of traffic until you have passed it. Note, this "lane" does not necessarily have to be on your side of the road.
      • If a road appears to be a 2-lane road, does that mean that it is a 2-lane road?
        • Looks can be deceiving. A 2-lane road can actually become up to 5 lanes. Refer to the answer to question #1 for some tips on expanding your use of the road.
      • Do I always have to drive on the left-hand side of the road?
        • Of course not. Typically, you are free to use the entire road, although it is best to avoid collisions with other vehicles or large objects. Some instances in which it might be imperative that you drive on the wrong side of the road are:
          • There are obstacles on your side of the road (this might include a vehicle parked where it shouldn't be, a public transport vehicle letting passengers on or off, a bicyclist, a person pulling a large cart, etc)
          • The vehicle in front of you is driving too slow for your liking (remember, you can pass on any street - you do not need any kind of designated "passing lane")
          • There are large potholes on your side of the road and you would rather not slow down for them
      • If there is a pedestrian crossing the street, do I have to slow down?
        • You might be tempted to, but this is actually completely unnecessary. Simply use your horn repeatedly and continue speeding towards the individual. They will get out of the way.
      • If I come upon a 4-way intersection that has no traffic lights or signs or any kind, what should I do?
        • Generally, those driving on the more "major" of the two roads are considered to have the right of way. However, it is often unclear which road is more major. If you are in a hurry, it is not necessary to stop or even slow down.
      • When is it appropriate to use my horn?
        • At any time. For any reason.
      • If a policeman steps into the road and signals for me to pull over, what do I do?
        • Consider why s/he might be stopping you. If you know you have not done anything wrong, and that there is nothing wrong with your vehicle...the policeman is likely after money. Simply continue driving. S/he does not have a vehicle in which to give chase, so you will be fine.
      • How does the middle lane on the road to Mwenge work?
        • Although the two outside lanes on this 3-lane road are designated as moving in opposite directions, the middle lane is not designated as going in one direction or the other. During rush hour periods it functions as a second lane going the direction of heavy traffic. During non-rush hour times, it functions as a giant game of chicken, or sometimes known as "my vehicle is bigger than your vehicle". Feel free to use this lane to go either direction, even if faced with oncoming traffic. Just be sure your vehicle is bigger than the oncoming vehicle, or that there is space to cut back into your designated lane at the last minute to avoid collision.

      1 comment:

      1. I see you are now writing official training materials. Excellent coverage of the major issues for driving. Perhaps you should follow up with a guide for pedestrians.