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Here is a video I put together to show the difference between Israeli stoplights and those in the states: 

The main difference here is that instead of changing between red and green lights with only a yellow, there is this blinking feature. The biggest difference is when changing from red to green, the red will stay and the yellow light will start blinking. After 3 blinks, it will be green and you better already be going before those lovely Israeli drivers behind you run you over. This is where I get a little confused myself, because in the states it can be dangerous to go full speed just after it turns green. People tend to run their red light far too many times than not back in the states. So I thought it would be safe to assume it would happen here too. The thing is that when you have the lights set of like this, people seem to not run them as much. Israelis do run red lights of course, although I haven’t seen this happen anywhere near as often as I did while driving stateside. (And they are be NO means “good drivers”. I’m pretty sure it is widely none how crazy Israelis are out on the roads.) So when I see that blinking light, especially during my first few weeks of driving here, I was waiting for that last person to come through their red and would wait till the green. Of course, this isn’t something the Irsraeli drivers tolerated so well. All I heard that first week was honk after honk after honk. Lesson learned.

When you see that blinking yellow off the red, you better hit the gas and just go. Just go, don’t question anything. That is the lesson I learned. I don’t know where everyone going in such a hurry, but I’ve been able to become a better Israeli driver by just letting go of anything I use to know about driving and just hitting the gas. Yalla, bye!

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9 responses to “Scooting in Israel

  1. Dew

    Israeli drivers terrify me!

  2. Avital

    They have those blinking lights in European countries, too. My mother told me that it’s intended to give you time to change gears. In the US, where fewer people drive with a stick-shift, it’s not necessary.

  3. ShimonZ

    I would advise you to be very careful, and not to try and imitate the style of the Israelis until you really feel at home with the mentality here (even then, it would be better not to adopt their style). You’re very vulnerable on a two wheeled vehicle, and that should always be your first consideration.

    • It is a delicate balance I’ve been trying to figure out, riding here in Israel. It is a little frustrating sometimes because it seems like every time I go out for a ride, there is at least one fatal accident I had to avoid. (Lucky if it is only one.) It is the reason why I haven’t really ventured out yet beyond the Rehovot area. At least one advantage of being on a scooter is that I have much more flexibility to move out of a problematic situation quicker than a big ‘ol clunky car is able to do. That has been a blessing when a few drivers weren’t aware that I was so close to them.

  4. Michael Fishman ⋅

    Very enjoyable! I’ll probably never get to Israel so this little peak was a lot of fun for me.

    • Thank you! There are some others that I can refer you to, since I might now be able to get much more taping done anytime soon (though I would love to):
      http://youtu.be/ClTJuHBZkq0, a vespa ride in jerusalem’s old city from Treppenwitz
      and a few other clips found from the Israeli Vespa Club here, http://www.youtube.com/user/israelivespa.
      I still an trying to figure out how to best film with what I have before breaking down and buying a helmet camera. Thanks again for visiting!

      • Michael Fishman ⋅

        Thank you for the links. The ride inside Jerusalem was fantastic! I never knew the streets were so narrow or that so many areas were limited only to foot traffic. It would be so nice to visit. Maybe next year…

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