Baha woman tells her 40-year story of driving

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Okaz/Saudi Gazette

AMSA Hathel was the first Saudi woman to drive in the southwestern Saudi province of Al-Baha around 40 years ago and today she is the first Saudi woman in the region to get a driver’s license.

“I have been driving for the last 40 years and never have I made an accident or broken traffic rules. I always drive on the outskirts of the city near where I live and never in my life have I been criticized by any of the residents,” she said, adding that she learned how to drive by herself and nobody taught her.

Amsa, who is over 60 years old now, is happy that women in the Kingdom will finally be able to drive and enjoy one of their basic rights granted to them by the country's law.

Amsa said when she was young, she used to ride with her uncle and run errands. She picked up driving skills from him and learned to fix the car if it broke down. The harsh life of the village and her mother’s illness encouraged her to learn driving because she had to drive her mother to the hospital on a monthly basis.

She would use unpaved roads to avoid being spotted by traffic officers. Her father died long time ago leaving them alone.

She told her future husband that she would only marry him if he allowed her how to drive. And he did, but her husband had to move to Riyadh later, leaving her on her own. But Amsa managed to fend for herself by driving on a daily basis.

“I always drive carefully and never engage in any behavior that might risk road safety,” she said.


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