May 172008

Driving in Cairo is absolutely INSANE.

I did read about this a bit in my Lonely Planet. A couple of excerpts:

One of your enduring (and hopefully not too painful) memories of the Middle East will undoubtedly be the driving standards: the driving is appalling by Western norms. Fatalism and high speed rule supreme. Many regulations are, in practice, purely cautionary. Car horns, used at the slightest provocation, take the place of caution and courtesy.

It may sound silly, but the greatest challenge most travelers face when traveling through Egypt is crossing the street in Cairo. Our advice is to position yourself so that one or more locals form a buffer between you and oncoming traffic, then cross when they cross – they usually don’t mind being used as human shields. Never, ever hesitate once you’ve stepped off the sidewalk; cross as if you own the road. And do it fast.”

Or my personal favorite,
In Egypt road rules are something that the average Cairene has heard of, but only in jokes.

Still, I somehow envisioned it to be no worse than Brazil.

Oh, how wrong I was.

To describe it as total and utter chaos would be a massive under-exaggeration. Nobody pays attention to stoplights at all, and people will literally walk right out into a 4-lane road full of cars. If there’s not enough space to make it all the way across, that’s alright – they’ll just stand between two lanes with traffic zooming by less than an inch away on either side. The horns blare moreso than in China, and motorists weave in and out of every lane, shoulder, and inch of extra space. When viewed from above, there’s no differentiation at all between pedestrian and motorist areas – it’s just one huge mesh of motion.

  4 Responses to “Drive Like An Egyptian”

  1. I don’t believe that they use their horns more than the Chinese do!!!!

  2. Believe it. But more than the horns, the total and utter chaos is the most shocking part. It’s seriously completely insane.

  3. Well, I did warn you about their driving standards, but I think you’ll survive. Perhaps you have noticed (and understand) that every single road in Egypt is a one-way road. My taxi from the airport was doing about 120mph driving slalom in and out between all the other traffic on the road. Pretty insane, I’ll never forget that traumatizing experience…

  4. Oh yeah…no problem. What’s life without a little adventure, anyway? 😉

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