Indian man unlearns bad behaviour to become a better driver

Kader Batcha took driving lessons at the Emirates Driving Company in Abu Dhabi to become a better driver.

Kader Batcha, an expatriate from India, is instructed by Naeem Khan at the Emirates Driving Company in Mussaffah. Christopher Pike / The National
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ABU DHABI // Kader Batcha cannot wait to get his UAE driving licence after years of struggling to hail cabs in the city.

The 41-year-old sous chef passed his parking test this month after a two-month training course at the Emirates Driving Company (EDC) in Mussafah.

Mr Batcha, who was issued a license from his home country in 2004. said he had to unlearn his Indian driving habits.

“In India, many drivers don’t follow the rules,” he said. “I wanted to get proper training here.”

He put off applying for a UAE licence when he first arrived in the UAE in 1994. He worked for two years in the Maldives and a year in Saudi Arabia before returning to the UAE.

In May he attended a five-day theory class, each one 70 minutes long, and passed the exam.

After an evaluation of his driving skills, he proceeded to his practical driving lessons inside the EDC compound for another 70 minutes per session, and then appeared for his parking test.

“He did well, more than what we had expected,” said Mohammed Naeem Wajeed Gul, a trainer at the driving company. “He did it in three to four minutes. A beginner might be nervous behind the wheel but he belongs in the intermediate level and exactly knows what to do.”

He completed a 10-hour practical driving lesson on June 22, and is due to take his road test on July 16.

“I can say that I now have confidence,” he said. “I can easily negotiate a roundabout and change lanes. I wear my seat belt and make sure to follow all the traffic rules. I slow down as I approach the traffic signal at the intersection.”

He is aware that learning to drive does not end after one obtains his licence, and driving is a privilege that should not be abused by reckless and careless road behaviour.

“I see many drivers who are not using their indicators when they change lanes, and others even overtake at roundabouts,” Mr Batcha said. “Many are also entering the road from a parking lot or a roadside without checking for oncoming vehicles and those in front.”

Drivers may receive good training but a common mistake is a lack of concentration, Mr Gul said.

"They tend to lose focus while driving which may lead to losing control of their vehicle," he said. "We're here to make them safer drivers."