Driving in Pakistan for Dummies

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Tricked Out Jeep

Think for a moment what it is like to take a normal drive from your house or apartment to a daily destination such as the gym, store, or work. Now compare that with my 10-20 minute trip to the gym. Driving in Pakistan requires a completely different skill set…

1. Walk outside house and unlock gate.
2. Enter right side of car and place key in ignition.
3. Use left hand to place car in reverse and back up, making sure not hit the mirrors against the sides of the house.
4. Put on emergency brake, step out of car and lock gate.
5. Step back into car and continue backward.
6. When back of car is 2 feet into road, look both ways for pedestrians, goats, kids, carts, cars, rickshaws, etc.
7. Back up fully on to Park Lane and begin driving on the left side of the street, making sure to dodge the potholes.
8. Honk just before entering intersection to ensure other drivers are aware that you are coming.
9. Pass old man holding out his hand for change.
10. Take a left on Clifton road toward Tin Talwar (“Three Swords” in Urdu. A roundabout with a monument of three swords in the center). If you wait until the coast is clear, you will be here all night. Force your way into traffic.
11. Honk at slow vehicles that are driving in the middle of the road so they will move into one lane.
12. As you get closer to Tin Talwar, move to the extreme left so that you can bypass most of the traffic that is waiting to turn right.
13. Wait in traffic. Wag finger and say “Nay” to: transvestites looking for money, kids wanting to clean the windshield, hawkers selling cheap inflatable toys, etc.
14. Sneak back into right lane about 100 meters before Tin Talwar and wait.
15. Honk at cars that are too close.
16. Keep your bumper 5 inches behind the car in front of you to keep other cars from cutting in.
17. Avoid hitting pedestrians and motorcyclists who will jump in front of you.
18. Pass the traffic cops extracting bribes and turn right.
19. Continue until the next intersection where the traffic light is not working. Force your way through the traffic to the other side. Pray the colorful buses with people on the roof will not hit you.
21. Drive straight into the water. It should be no more than a few inches deep. Continue toward the piles of gravel where the street crews have still not filled the holes.
22. Drive through the puddles of water and make sure not to stop in a trough as these can be five to seven inches deep. Allow cars and rickshaws through when necessary, as there is only room for one vehicle at a time.
23. Navigate the maze of potholes and take a right at the end of the road. Be sure to honk at cars with their reverse lights on.
24. Pass through the shops and veer to the left.
25. Take an immediate right past the guard, through the gate into Shapes.

Photo Credit: Joel Montgomery

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