People here sure do love their cars and trucks. At least, they love buying expensive ones then beating the crap out of them. I've seen more expensive cars and trucks in the past year than I probably have the whole rest of my life. I've never really paid attention to car models and types, but after seeing so many top-of-the-line cars and trucks, I can't help but notice.
I also cant help but notice the ridiculous paint jobs on some cars. Here is a link to a previous post with some pictures of a Bentley painted pink with a Sonic the Hedgehog design. Below is another wonderful paint job that I saw on a Toyota Land Cruiser. While it's not an especially expensive car, I should point out that you can't see from the picture that the pink paint job is glittery.
It's also hard to miss how my students will rev the engines of their expensive trucks in the parking lot of the college until they backfire. As mentioned in previous posts, young Emiratis will drive around the city during times of celebration revving their engines until smoke comes out of them. Hence the first bit of advice that you'll get when you state your intention to buy a car: NEVER buy from an Emirati.
With all the expensive vehicles on the road, you'd think that people would be fairly cautious of how they park. Unfortunately, that's not the case. I've seen some amazing parking techniques. Here is a photo of how someone parked their truck in front of my building. Keep in mind that this isn't running in to get something for five minutes. This is overnight.In addition, there are so many trucks and SUV's on the road combined with so many crazy drivers that you need an SUV here to have any hope of surviving a crash. And crash they do. According to this site, there are 600 auto fatalities per year, 24 per 100,000 residents.
For the people who don't want to brave the roads of Abu Dhabi behind the wheel, there are tons of taxis that are dirt cheap. The only catch is getting one when you really need it. Near where I live, it's getting harder and harder to get one. Initially when we got here, we didn't have a vehicle for the first few months. We were surprised at how cheap and convenient taxis were until we tried getting one at peak hours.
Previously, I'd mentioned that the bus system wasn't worth figuring out. Well, I'll go back on that. It's worth it to me for my wife to figure it out. My wife loves public transportation and it didn't take her long to figure out the bus system. It costs one dirham for adults and kids are free. She's worked out how to get where she wants and pretty much has the whole system figured out by now. Of course, now that we have two vehicles, none of that matters now.
Overall, I'm pretty used to the driving situation in Abu Dhabi. I've also gotten over some of my squeamishness of parking if I know I'll be right back. The real question is: If the traffic situation is that much worse than last year as people say, what's it going to be like next year?