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The Keys to the Kingdom: Saudi Women Learn to Drive

But some were not sure they were ready to face Saudi Arabia’s often ferocious traffic, or male drivers who have no experience interacting with women on the roads.

Raneem Modaress, 22, said she had wanted to drive before a car she was riding in got hit a month ago, leaving her with bad bruises up and down her side.

“It was terrible,” she said.

Now she plans to wait to see how it goes for other women before getting her own license.

The workshop concluded with what remains a rare opportunity for women in Saudi Arabia: the chance to drive a car through a course of cones in a parking lot.

Before she got her shot behind the wheel, Ms. Alzahrani, the architecture student, said she had driven Jet Skis in the Red Sea and motorcycles in the desert, but never cars. The thought of doing so made her nervous.

“I don’t know where the brake is and where the gas is,” she said.

She started slowly, then rounded the first curve, then the second. She approached a stop sign and hit the brake too hard, causing the other passengers to jolt forward. She laughed nervously and then went forward again before reaching the end and stopping with a slightly lighter jolt.

“Praise God for your safety,” the instructor said.

“Yay me!” she said.

The drive had taken only a few minutes, but it had changed her outlook on the whole endeavor.

“It was so amazing. I loved it,” she said. “It felt good to be behind the wheel.”

Source: NYT > World

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