Cairo Traffic

20 Aug

Cairo’s traffic, along with the associated air pollution, was one of the first things that hit me as soon as I arrived; it let me know I was definitely in a different world. Now, more than 2 months later, I have grown somewhat used to the craziness that is traffic here. So, here is what you can expect to experience on the roads if you come to visit (or you know, are just curious).

  • There are sometimes lines on the road, but they generally don’t mean anything. If the road is painted with 3 lanes of traffic, there will be around 6 lanes during high traffic hours, but with everyone weaving all over the place, it’s hard to count.
  • Due to the aforementioned lack of lanes, there are not any shoulders to pull over onto when a car breaks down. Thus, a single fender bender or break down, or you know a car stopped to chat to someone on the side of the road can cause lots of extra traffic slow downs.
  • Headlights are only used to flash at someone when you want them to move or want to let them know you are there.
  • If you get the nose of your car in front of someone else, then you have the right of way. (Maybe that’s why this EgyptAir plane tried to nudge out on the runway at JFK? I kid. I kid.)
  • There are not really any crosswalks/stop lights. Crossing the street is like a real life game of Frogger.
  • Egyptians honk their horn when they want other cars to move or when they want them to stay where they are. They also honk to express anger or to get a pedestrian into a cab. Often times, they honk for no apparent reason at all. The streets are very noisy.
  • There are no parking meters or parking tickets. Thus, people often double park on the side of the road.
  • It is not uncommon to see a young family riding on a motor bike (none of them wearing helmets, of course) with the dad in front, mom side-saddling on the back and the baby in her lap.
  • Friday, being the holy day of the week, is the best day to travel long distances as there are much fewer cars on the road.
  • I’ve seen one car so far (that I noticed) that did not have a single dent or scratch on it. It was a Z4 BMW. So, I am guessing the owner of that car just spends the money to get the scratches and dents removed. Pretty much every car on the road has some “character”.

So, there you go, all you need to know about Cairo’s traffic. Luckily, Shaun and I take cabs everywhere, so we don’t have to drive in it.


One Response to “Cairo Traffic”

  1. mujerboricua August 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm #

    I find the way people drive in different states fascinating, so my mind is blown when I visit other countries. In my travels I haven’t encountered a family on a motorcycle yet. I wouldn’t know how not to stare if I did!

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