The Emergency Lane Tragedy

Post by Mark

I’ve been complaining about the emergency lane rules ever since they were announced a few years ago. I think they’re just too complicated and didn’t make sense, either convert the emergency lane into a regular lane or keep it as it is.

Does anybody here actually know what are the hours you’re allowed to use the emergency lane in?

a) 6AM to 10PM
b) 6AM to 10PM only in case of traffic congestion
c) 6:30AM to 9AM into the city and 12:30PM to 3:30PM out of the city
d) 6AM to 9AM and 12:30PM to 3:30PM
e) None of the above

I actually don’t know the answer since I’ve posted all the above previously on the blog. Maybe none of the above are right since the timings could have changed and I wouldn’t know.

Recently the sister in law of a friend of mine got into an accident. I’ve met her a few times since she helped out on the blog a few years ago, a super nice person. She was on the highway with her 4-month-old daughter and nanny when she felt something was wrong in the car, so she pulled into the emergency lane and stopped. A car speeding in the emergency lane (max speed is meant to be 45km) crashed into her car killing her daughter and sending her and the nanny to the hospital. Such a horrific incident.

This sometimes it’s an emergency lane and sometimes it’s not is just a confusing and stupid mess. Either convert the lane to a regular lane or leave it an emergency lane. I don’t understand why they’re being so timid. This accident has caused an outcry in the media and hopefully, they’re going to solve this before any more lives are lost.


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45 comments, add your own...


  1. Green says:

    The problem is that the people who make those laws have ZERO expertise or any relevant formal education. Sadly its not only the traffic department, its everywhere!

  2. SA says:

    Hi, The whole idea to make the emergency lane to traffic at certain time does not make sense at all. Not only has this created a mess, but the lanes are be abused as people are using it at will. The accident that you mentioned is really a tragedy and who knows could have been prevented had this idea not be implemented in the first place. My condolences to the Family of the departed.

  3. Security Advisor says:

    Its tragic what happened to your friends sister in law Mark. My deepest condolences. May her daughter rest in peace. And the Lord comfort her and her family during this trying period

    This should never have happened.

    She did the right thing by pulling into the emergency lane when she suspected something was wrong only to have an asshole who thought he was above the law slam into her

    Again this should have never happened . If the authorities had taken their job responsibility seriously from day one it may have never have happened.

    I totally agree, either make it a regular lane or get it back to an emergency lane and stick to it. I mean really stick to it. Personally I prefer them going back to a full time emergency lane. Where else can motorists in trouble pull into safely ?

    Make it an unforgiveable offence to drive in the emergency lane unless you can prove its an actual emergency flat tire, accident or engine trouble etc.

    Make driving on it a deportable offence for expats and a No fine short term (30 to 60 days) prison offence for locals. .. MOST IMPORTANTLY ENFORCE IT WITHOUT PREJUDICE REGARDLESS OF STATUS OR WASTA

    Set up real time cameras dedicated specifically for this purpose. Any vehicle caught speeding should have their plates noted and instantly uploaded in the system. Followed by the nearest cruiser in the area being sent to the offenders home to A- Seize and impound the vehicle and B- Arrest the offending driver to be referred to prosecution.

    I guarantee you let this take place as I said earlier without prejudice for trial period of 06 months; I guarantee that the phenomena of speeding on the emergency lanes will totally disappear. People will think 10 times before attempting to go over 45 in the emergency lanes.

    • Expat says:

      I agree traffic laws should be implemented and enforced but I am curious as to why expats always have to have the punishment of deportation. I follows the laws regardless, you don’t have to threaten to deport. Actually enforcing fines and other penalties is usually enough to ensure people follow laws without going to extremes. It is ludicrous to think a traffic offense deserves deportation of expats. You would not find this in many other countries in the world.

    • afnanzn says:

      deport an expat and 30 days jail for local? security advisor huh? such advise.much wow.

      • Mrs. Mohammad says:

        Put it at 45 days jail for everyone for driving in emergency lanes. Expats can’t afford jail (probably would lose their job anyway, besides the horrible experience in the jail) and therefore would be careful. No need to threaten deportation.

    • MT says:

      deportation for expats and jail term for locals? isn’t this a racist ideology??

  4. q80 says:

    It is the most stupid thing ever.
    They permitted driving in the safety lane in order to reduce traffic congestion, I found the opposite which is INCREASING traffic.
    First the cars drive more than speed limit which is dangerous since the lane is smaller in size than the regular lanes.
    Second, as of the case of the mentioned sad accident, cars park in the emergency lane for different reasons.

    Third and the most important thing is when the cars which drive on the emergency lane change to the left lane, which is supposed to be the fast lane, cause the other cars to slow and push on brakes reducing speed and the flow of cars in the fastest lane.

    • Ipsom says:

      Exactly, the third point you mentioned causes even more traffic, negating any reduced congestion (which is extremely minor) from opening the lane

    • Kuwait says:

      I believe the left emergency lane should never be used for car breakdowns even before they were permitted for traffic. There is simply not enough space to work on the car or move it because of the concrete divider, not to mention the fact that is adjacent to the fastest lane.

      • Ipsom says:

        I get you, if my car breaks down I’ll try to park it on the right in a safe manner. But what if I can’t move it to the right emergency lane in a safe manner? What if it’s an urgent failure while I’m on the left lane? There will be many scenarios where your choice is the left emergency lane. That’s why highways are designed with 2 emergency lanes.

  5. The Other Ahmed says:

    What a sad and senseless tragedy, the ministry or whoever is in charge of this disaster should be punished for this!

  6. Kuwait says:

    Personally I use it as answer B. Regarding the accident, it’s mainly because the law using them is a total mess, as you have mentioned, nobody has a clear understanding of the correct rules. There should have been a clear and continuous campaign on the lane use, and furthermore how that affects the old process of emergency use. For example, cars should not stop under any circumstance on left emergency lane, and it should only be kept for emergency services use. AFAIK, the law in other countries is that car breakdowns should be on the right only, and in some cases on the left IF there’s a left emergency lane, and in all cases that lane is NOT used for traffic, so an accident like that would not happen.

  7. Ipsom says:

    It’s the third option (you wrote a-b-b-c…), when there is heavy congestion, and only on select highways and portions. But it should just be off limits.

    Opening the lanes had no positive effect on overall traffic, and the amount of misuse and all the problems associated with it (accidents, cracked windscreens, etc) is just beyond ridiculous

  8. M says:

    Very tragic what happened to your friend’s sister in law, it was all over the news and I think the lane rules have been reconsidered since. I am sorry for what happened to her and can only imagine what she and her nanny are going through.

    What I find further confusing is the existence of an emergency lane next to the fast lane. There should only be one emergency lane in my opinion and it should be on the right side of the road. What I heard was she pulled to the side of the road to check on a tire but I am assuming it was more critical to make her pull over to the left emergency lane, not being able to slow down and move to the right lane or side of the road?

  9. Wiseau says:

    Because people in Kuwait, for whatever reason, do not understand… Here’s how we do it over here in the civilized world:

    1. The left lane (passing lane) is for fast traffic and those who want to pass – don’t forget to use your blinkers.
    2. If you are having car issues, pull over to the emergency lane on the RIGHT. Use the RIGHT SHOULDER if you need to stop on the freeway. It is the safest place to be (not the emergency lane on the left).
    3. If you get into a fender bender or small accident and your car can still drive, please pull over to the RIGHT SHOULDER. Don’t leave your car in the middle of the freeway. This should be obvious.
    4. Pay attention to the road.
    5. Respect others on the road and try to understand that your life, and the lives of others, are literally in your hands when you are driving.
    6. Don’t be an asshole. This is the most important rule.

    These rules are simple, effective, true and tested.

    Read them. Learn them. Live by them. Amen.

    • Jumanji says:

      Much Agreement, especially about using the right shoulder. Stay safe everyone

    • Assumebusy says:

      It’s not always practical.

      I was in a situation when I had a tyre burst on the fast lane on the highway during peak traffic and it was nearly impossible to swerve to the right shoulder.

      You can only park on the left emergency lane with your hazard lights on and pray that no moron rams in to you.

  10. Joe says:

    Sorry for your/your friends sister in law loss. Mark, it was not too long ago that you wrote about your experience speeding in the E lane and getting your car impounded. Back then you were advocating the use of the E lane because you simply can use it as per the law. I now sense that you might have changed your mind about the use of the E lane?

    • Mark says:

      Yes that happened before they put signs up saying the speed limit was 45km and I had thought it was 65km.

      If the law says you can use the emergency lane then you can use the emergency lane.

      What I’m saying is that they should either convert the emergency lane to a permanent fast lane or keep it an emergency lane, not have it be both at the same time.

  11. NG says:

    Isn’t the Emergency lane only for emergency services? i.e. fire truck, ambulance or police vehicles (assuming they are genuinely in a rush to reach another spot, and not using for their daily drive).

  12. Neo says:

    Quite Sad…
    Keeping the family in prayer.

  13. Lindsay says:

    The driving in general all over Kuwait really is a national disgrace with untold daily deaths and people broken and maimed. The police seem reluctant to intervene and when there is an accident they can’t get to it because the so called emergency lane is full of vehicles.

    Emergency lane should mean emergency lane period leaving no room for ambiguity and Wasta…

    The authorities are failing in their duties to protect the people and seem to prefer tormenting everyone with wonderful new rules like renewals of driving licences every year and oh! a person can’t drive unless he is degree qualified than putting police traffic vehicles out onto the highway with officers trained to enforce laws and actually punish the people who think they are untouchable.

  14. Typical Kuwaiti says:

    The issue there is no standard operational procedure on what do do when ur car breaks down.

    Should be on the right shoulder not the left.

  15. Mala Mia says:

    Such a tragic event, prayers for the family. That emergency lane has to be one of the scariest places to break down. A friend watched as a guy was in that lane changing his tire, he was at the back of a car when another one ran into him splitting him in half and killing him, the guy ran away and they chased him, it turns out he was a police officer. I was just curious as to whether or not the baby was in a car seat or being held by the nanny?

  16. Samia says:

    I have driven in most continents around the world. The hard shoulder ( what they call it in some countries since its not always for emergencies) can be used when you need to. The bumper on my car fell off while driving on the fast lane, where do I go? cut across four lanes? speeding cars coming at me? actually i’ve stopped on the hard shoulder in the UK near the fast lane for the following:
    changing drivers because my friend was falling a sleep on the wheel (yes we have to drive hours on end)
    My friend was sick and vomiting one time
    It was so cold i had to get a jacket or stretch my legs.
    Not once did I get a ticket, get reprimanded, or hit by a car. The emergency lane is for our emergency, whatever it may be. There are hard shoulders on both sides. Before this law, you could stop if you needed to, we all did! and I’ve been driving for more than 25 years. Please do not justify this stupidity. No road or transport expert has ever heard of such nonsensical policies.

  17. Jumanji says:

    There are reasons nothing is fixed or permanent when it comes to traffic department in Kuwait. Same reasons we don’t have real time / RECORDED camera (CCTV) footage of all the highways and roadways. The “administration” doesnt want that to happen. When laws are flexible and vague, it is very easy to “make something disappear” when someone powerful wants it to. Emergency lane laws arent concrete because it gives them to power to convert to traffic lanes and back to emergency lanes whenever and wherever they please. If collisions happen on emergency lanes, the inspector and traffic dept is free to decide whether that area should have been used or not, giving them the power to decide who is at fault. Real time traffic cameras with recorded footage can be a liability also because if someone powerful got into a collision and was at fault, the traffic dept would then have access to the footage and nobody higher up wants that to happen no do they. So sad to hear about that little girl dying, absolutely horrible, but these tragedies will continue to happen because this country serves the administration and the powerful people, things only happen when someone of that class of people is affected. You know when emergency lane laws will cease to be vague? When someone powerful enough (or someone close to them) gets hurt or annoyed. If an emergency stop is needed, ALWAYS PULL INTO THE RIGHT SIDE emergency lane, the shoulder as it is called, RIGHT SIDE, as people usually drive at crazy speeds on the LEFT side of the highway. Please stay safe

  18. Jay says:

    Sorry to hear about the tragedy and hope the injured recover soon. But the lady should have known that the left side emergency lane is not for pulling over.

  19. Pedro says:

    Well Obviously I don’t Cause I got a Fine of 15KD driving 38km/h on the emergency lane on King Fahad Highway heading back home So I am Confused too, Btw I don’t use the EL at all but that time because it was really crowded and all because of people who exit the highway

  20. pedro says:

    and I just continued reading the full post I feel Awful and my condolences goes to the family and hope the rest get better such tragedies should be avoided with simple rules and better management in lanes and traffic laws. drive safe people and take care all

  21. Shehzad says:

    Emergency lanes have the engraved patches after ever 10-20 meters or so…which clearly depict that driving in lane is allowed (not going into timings thing) but at a much slower pace but it is clear that it is not for stopping of a car….her loss is irreplaceable but I think stopping on an emergency lane is not a wise thing to do….on the other hand driving at higher speed on emergency is also equally unwise to do…if the driver that hit her car was driving 45kph as Mark wrote and also wrote below that the speed limit is 45kph then its not his fault.

  22. Ashraf says:

    Allahu Akbar!

    it’s terrible what happened with the little child.

    What happened to who killed the child? I hope he is booked for it and rotting in jail.

  23. Security Advisor says:

    @ Shehzad, Mark never said he was doing 45. He said he was speeding. So he was most likely doing over 45.

    On a separate not and relating to all the different comments here….

    Was the child in a secure car seat? Don’t know the answer to that question. Was the child sitting on the nanny’s lap or in the front seat unsecured like we see infuriatingly so many times when we are on the roads here in Kuwait ?? Again Don’t know .. Possibly Maybe.. Would the child be alive today if she was in a car seat?? Again Don’t know .. Possibly Maybe..

    Studies and examined incidents of car crashes around the world have shown and proven a significant up in the survival rate of children and infants who have been involved in severe crashes while been strapped in a secure car seat.

    Point here don’t look at what happened as a consequence. What happened is tragic and if certain elements were in play maybe quite possibly could have been avoided.

    No… look at what caused the accident and loss of life of an innocent child.

    And that is gross negligence on the part of the driver who was very likely NOT doing 45, WAS Most definitely doing above 45 ‘ie’ Speeding in the emergency lane

    If this guy was doing 45 like you assume. Then no way would he have not been able been able to see the stationary vehicle ahead of him . He would have been slow enough to slam om the brakes and if not stop; at least slow down enough to cause a rear end. Not smash through with such an impact that sent 2 people with severe injuries to the hospital and the death of a child.

    Please don’t tell me other wise. If my speedometer is showing me doing a continuous 120 on the fast lane and 7 cars pass me on my left one after the other they are not speeding ???

    If they are legally doing 45 or lets give a little lee way here 60 .. I should still be the one passing them .. not the other way around and eating their dust and rocks that the kick up as they pass me.

    Matter of fact lawfully and legally they should be on that lane in the first place when traffic is moving.

    You should only be there if there is jam or gridlock and you are in tearing hurry to be some where ..

    So Please.. That guy was Speeding. He was breaking the law. He caused an accident due to his negligence. His gross and utter indifference to the law caused the death of an innocent child . So in my book this guy not only deserves prison time but deserves to be deported and banished from driving a motorized vehicle ever in his life.

    And yes on this point as an expat my self I am a racist. I hate fuckers who feel entitled to break the law and do whatever they want. Especially my fellow expats. Its because of them the rest of us get painted with the same brush as trouble makers and law breakers. You cannot deport a local so throw his ass in prison. But you can deport an expat. So throw him in prison for doing the crime and then throw him on his ass out of the country. Keeping Garbage only stinks up the back yard.. Best to put it in the trash and get rid of it.

  24. Fawaz says:

    Maybe you should just stop using the emergency lane, and play it safe, if your late to work go out earlier.

  25. Security Advisor says:

    @ afnanzn,

    You are entitled to your opinion.

    You want me out?? OK fine prove I said something actually racist..

    What you have from my comments is me saying I am racist towards entitled fuckers who believe they are above the law. Plain and simple

    I plainly said expats who commit crimes need to be punished with prison time and deported ..locals need to serve time simple. Note I said crimes. Not traffic offences.

    The incident on topic here was combination of the two which ended in the death of an infant. Ever heard of the words manslaughter? or Grievous bodily harm or injury??

    No where in my comments have I shown or spoken as a racist towards any specific community in Kuwait, A specific race , culture, religion ,skin color or ethnic background.

    I am only racist towards assholes and pieces of shit (dosen’t matter what nationality) who feel that they are entitled to break the law just because of of who they know , their family name or the amount of cash they have to throw around in the face of the law.

    Kuwait is supposed to be a country with definite laws. Doesn’t mean jack crap if it isn’t enforced without bias to all levels of society.

    Like you I am entitled to my opinion. As father of an infant myself I cringe every time my kids are in the car and assholes go flying past on the emergency lane at killer speeds kicking up dust and shit just coz you are doing the legal limit and they are doing 160 and you aint getting out of the way fast enough.

    All it takes is one mistake and not only do they kill themselves but end up taking a couple of innocent lives with them and lets not forget the entire families that they destroy due to their stupidity. ( Case and point the topic of this story)

    Sorry…. but I don’t want to end up a statistic just because an asshole felt he was above the law.

    • afnanzn says:

      bruh calm down. after calling yourself a racist, dont sit and justify it.
      yes expats who commit crimes need to be punished with prison time but not deported for every fucking crime like E-lane or getting flashed, forgetting to wear the seat-belt is also a crime but how is that enough to get someone deported.
      Rant all you want but make sense atleast.

  26. Frank says:

    ALWAYS use the right shoulder if anything is wrong with you or your car!

  27. Hana says:

    Lets just deport expacts and locals with poor IQs and be rid of the idiots in the Kuwait news population. Things like these make me upset I live in Kuwait.

    I blame the UNDERAGED drivers’ parents that allowed their underaged piece of shit of a son to drive a car. Stupid people shouldn’t be allowed to reproduce, or else they should pay a significant fee.

    This bullshit about using only the right emergency lane is ridiculous. If I get a flat tire on the left lane I’m supposed to drive over to the right with oncoming traffic so whoever is on the ride side of the car gets hit by oncoming traffic? Not to mention damage my tire rings. Why not call the left lane a “just incase” lane while we’re on the topic of bullshit ideas.

    The Ministry of Education needs to step up and better educate the residents of Kuwait to lower our stupidity per capita.

    *mic drop*

  28. Terri says:

    If anyone is interested this is an article written by the mother who lost her daughter in this traffic accident.
    http://news.kuwaittimes.net/website/my-loulwah/


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