While driving safely in other countries means things like drive defensively (assume the other driver is an idiot, and be prepared), leave a safe stopping distance between cars dependent on speed, and remember to pump the brakes, never brake hard in slippery conditions, in Saudi Arabia the upcoming planned women's driving movement, starting Friday June 17 has different safety guidelines, or additional ones, in light of Saudi prohibitions (law, custom, fatwa) against women driving.
It is important for others, especially those who are Saudi-based, to remember that the Saudi women organizers have asked that non-Saudi women refrain from participating by driving. I see that as a safety issue as well. It would feed opposition arguments and ire, as well as cloud the meaning and purpose of the action, if non-Saudis and particularly Westerners were to be engaged in driving too. One can be supportive in other ways.
Some Saudi women have decided to make driving a highly visible statement of their demands for reform for women in Saudi society. I respect their decision, and also the decision of those who put their energies elsewhere, or deem that at this conjuncture it is not safe for them to participate in Women2Drive June 17.
For those who will be driving, the safety guidelines below are from Sabria Jawhar's post Saudi Women June 17 Driving Guidelines on her blog, Sabria's Out of the Box. Those offering support in other ways should also be aware of these guidelines.
Saudi women planning to drive on June 17 should observe the following guidelines for their safety:
1) Islamic dress code
2) There won’t be any gatherings. Go out only to run important errands, visit the hospital, drop kids off at school, etc.
3) It is encouraged that you videotape the event and upload it on Youtube.
4) Drive within city limits only.
5) To reaffirm our patriotism, fly the Saudi flag and lift up a photo of Abu Mit’ib (the King).
6) No need to be scared. If the police arrest you, you’ll only be required to sign on a pledge.
7) It is preferred that whoever plans on driving to have an international driver’s license.
8) It is better if a male accompanies you to protect you and to guarantee your safety (since the ball would just be starting to roll).
9) Avoid driving into any empty plots or deserted or faraway areas because that might pose some danger to you.
10) Driving is not scheduled for one day only. Saudi women are starting Friday but will continue to take to their cars beyond that date until a royal decree is issued.
11) Any woman who fails to comply is responsible for any possible consequences.
12) Ensure notifying family and friends of your intentions to drive (in case you go missing they’ll have an idea how to act).
13) If you have a phone with internet connection, follow WOMEN2DRIVE on Facebook and Twitter.
I hope all those who choose to drive have a safe experience!
Women2Drive on Facebook, and #women2drive on Twitter. Real Time results for Women2Drive via Google are another way to follow events and coverage of them.