The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) produces the most popular automobile racing events in the US. Watching the high-speed race keeps you at the edge of your seat. Cars zip around the track while maintaining a distance of barely a few inches from each other. Drivers stay highly focused at all times, and even the slightest mistake can result in a massive crash. I never dreamed I would share the experience of a NASCAR driver, till I got to Tel-Aviv…

NASCAR Race Track

Israel is a small country.  Compared to the US everything seems “scaled down”: the streets are narrower, cars are smaller, and parking spots are tiny.  On an average day you will find the roads crowded with cars moving at high speeds; Drivers changing lanes with minimal to no warning; Scooters zigzagging between the cars, using the shoulders to by pass traffic jams.

Tel-Aviv may not be on the NASCAR list, but the level of focus and adrenaline involved in driving here are probably similar. And here too, even the slightest mistake can result in a massive crash…
Tel-Aviv “Race Track”

I find myself constantly wondering where the edges of my car are. Something that hardly occupied me while driving in the US – there always seemed to be plenty of space left. In Israel, I find myself constantly pondering where the edges of my car are. How else would I pass through a narrow street with cars parked on both sides? Especially when a car driving in the opposite direction proceeds as if it’s on a highway, not a narrow strait that barely fits you both…

Parking also became a challenge for me. What used to be a simple in-out exercise has turned into a complex maneuver, which takes 2-3 attempts to complete.
I now understand why local car sales reps proudly demonstrate a feature of folding both side mirrors with a push of a button. Who would have thought?
Well, it is “week 4” of driving in Israel and so far so good… It may take me a bit longer to get to where I need to, but I manage to do that unscathed (knock on wood). Next time I watch a NASCAR race I’ll have a different perspective. I will know exactly how these guys feel. After all, I go through that every day… 
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