AndFarAway

A Blog from Amman, Jordan, Online Since 2004.

The 10 Rules of Driving in Amman




(image by Crazy Dave the Rave on Flickr)

1. If there’s a ball there’s a kid running after it.

2. For the millionth time, NO, people have no idea that their cars come with signal mechanism. Mohammad Ghamaz besallem 3aleikom.

3. It’s actually okay to sound a little honk after counting till 7 and the first car on a traffic light still didn’t realize the light is now green. 

4. Avoid buses, cabs, white ‘serveese’ cabs, and delivery cars like your life depended on it. Hard I know, as they’re around %50 of our motor population, but you should try really hard.

5. Cuss idiots out while in the safety and silence of your own car. It is therapeutic.

6. Avoid: Garden’s Street. Shmeisani. Fourth Circle. Dakhleyeh Circle. Mecca Street. University Street. Abdallah Ghosheh Street. Sweifyeh. Matabat Street. Abdoun Circle. Rainbow Street. Downtown. Weibdeh. Wadi Saqra. Hada2eq traffic lights street. Madineh Street. Khalda. Rabyeh.

7. Garbage trucks, gas trucks, and “3otag gadeemeh lil-bei3” trucks are the devil. Dressed in bright blue and orange. Makes sense, yeah?

8. Lina’s insert: Make sure you have good music in your car, just in case you get stuck for an hour because some cop decided to act as a traffic light on some circle.

9. Make it a point to honk endlessly if someone parks in the middle of street “just to go pick up cigarettes.” These people are idiots. Punish them.

10. If someone behind you is really bugging you by driving bumper-to-bumper or whatever, drive really slow. If someone won’t leave enough safety distance, provide a few well-timed sudden breaks and he will freak out and move away.

Add your own :)

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32 Comments

  1. Since people don’t believe in pedestrian bridges, always watch out for “7ajje sameera” crossing the road right after a tunnel (even though there’s a steel fence right there waiting for her, she’ll cross).

  2. Shmal, great one! don’t know how i missed it!

  3. Gus

    don’t accelerate on puddles of water and splash pedestrians. be considerate. SLOW DOWN!

    o concerning point number 6, you should avoid driving in amman. full stop.

  4. Man. The first time I went into Ammani traffic was like participating in a running match. I threw my Freelander off the curb at Sixt (Garden St) and just went with the flow of the crowd. No way back. Crazy, chaotic, dangerous – especially if you’re used to the neatly controlled streets of the Netherlands, where every vehicle has its lane. Bikes, buses, cars.

    Here are some of my own rules: http://hofman.wordpress.com/2007/05/29/simple-rules-to-drive-in-amman/

  5. Yaseen

    You deserve to reach your destination first, even if you cause the others grief and actually make the traffic even worse, it’s the wild west out there.

  6. Ola

    And if somwone keeps flashing the highlights at you while you’re actually driving on the right lane, slow down even more, and if you have time let him overtake you then chase them closely honking your horn all the way to wherever he’s going

  7. Gus, hehe, 7abeebi shu mo7taram :P As for point number 6, it was a pool of suggestions :)

    Sander, great list! I couldn’t add a comment on your blog for some reason. Driving in Amman is like driving in your own augmented reality car speeding game :) It’s fun!

    Yaseen, Wild East ;) Wild Middle East. Haha.

    Ola, hehe, angry bunch, aren’t we? The retaliation technique is practiced well in this city :)

  8. Noura

    Hazard flashers are used to insult the car behind you (usually after over passing them). However, if the car in front of you “flashed” you, the appropriate response would be to blaze your headlights (high beam) in response; a counter offence of some sort.

  9. As for #2, and according to the say “Man 3ashar Al Qawm..”, so for them to understand your driving intentions, wo bema enno Mohammad Ghammaz hajar 3la canada men zaman, a5i al mowaten :

    “Shabber Tarba7”

    use the signal + your hands, they won’t believe you if you want to take the lane to left and u ticked the left signal, use your hand to indicate it, as for taking the lane to the right ( which maybe rarely needed, as the Left Has the Right – u know what i mean-, but just in case, buy a Gashhata, and keep it beside u on the front chair.

    even if you want to break, while using the breaks, get your hand out, and try to wave your hand up and down like you are trying to fly with the car, while non Jordanians will rofl, Jordanians will understand there is an urgent matter – i.e accident- on the road.

    When there is a traffic jam, consider Taking the Rightest Lane, as the accident occurred on the other lane, and all people are slowing down to take a look, the more the left you are, the more I’ll face people want to get closer to see the accident and figure out who’s mistake was it

  10. Ali

    Before i add my own rule i would like to add that i rent cars to a lot of tourists who come to Jordan thinking that driving in it’s streets is easy, I warn about almost all what you said above roba.

    Actually I’m even thinking to copy this to a text document and print it out and start giving it to everyone i rent a car to, I think it will be very handy for them.

    As for my own rule

    If your going straight on a traffic light, Take the far right of it, Because you’ll always find people who want to go left over taking the lanes of the people going straight.

  11. hahahaha I do number 10 ALL the time, especially with taxis.

  12. Omar

    the fastest lane in Jordan’s streets is the Right lane not the Left lane,so if you wanna pass cars in a street like Airport St. you have to drive in the right lane,because the left lane is always crowded with cars moving in slow motion.

  13. LOL Roba, were you stuck in Jabal Amman like me today at 12pm? I WAS COMPILING THIS LIST!!!!!

    1) Drive on top of the white line, so that you really cCAN own the whole road.

    2) Since one cannot pull forward to a free space just ten feet further, double park on the right lane on Zahran between 1st and 2nd circles and turn on your hazard lights before parking: that makes it all ok for people behind you. Then see Roba’s #9

    3) Avoid rental cars at all costs. Bad drivers driving cars they don’t care about are the worst. Ranks up there with learners, taxis

    4) If you are a woman and do have a bigger car, AND THE RIGHT OF WAY, go ahead and play chicken in the roundabout. Mr. Black BMW will have a heart attack, but he will stop.

    5) About revenge. If someone is driving dangerously, I practice #1to keep others safe ;). If he really wants to see if his Hummer will drive over the median to overtake me, I let him. We saw one jump the median on Mecca last week.

    6) With the jerk inching his way toward your bumper to pull in front of you after he has passed a line of waiting cars, inch right back, roll down the window, and yell with a smile “So, how much did you pay for that drivers license you obviously didn’t earn?” or “didn’t your mother teach you to take turns?”

    7) I pray for the people that make me the maddest. Calms me down, benefits them, and helps me remember that God metes justice much more creatively than I can.

    (heh-heh. heheheheh!!! Gotta link this)

  14. hisham assi

    Close your windows, Seal the outside-air ventilator, and turn on the interior air circulation unless you want to suffocate from diesel gas spread by any truck/bus/pickup/foxeh around you.

  15. Chris

    Funny stuff, but none of that’s going on around here. I’m driving around central Ohio all the time, 99% of the time people drive tip-top. Come to think of it, haven’t heard a car horn in probably a month. Anyway, I consider myself a good driver, but if I spent just a hour in Amman’s traffic, I might just swerve into some Roman pillar just to end the pain. Thee Hisham Assi in the house? If so, what’s up man!

  16. zeid (ou za3tar)

    I returned to amman on monday … drove (till now) less than a full hour on the mighty strrets of amman … wasn’t as bad as all of u say haha … the only thing i remembered while driving here was the cart pulled by a horse that we had a ride in in Turkey … roads here are so bumpy … ma6ab wara ma6ajjj (hade ya3ne joraa) .. heeehaaaaa

  17. Abu Tulip

    Yes, central Ohio drivers are great. Better than Michigan.
    Here’s one: Hit the recirculate button as soon as you see a Pregio in front of you. Gotta be quick on the draw!
    Second: When someone goes the wrong way down a narrow, one-way street because making the extra turn to go the right way “ma a3jabo” do NOT get over for him.
    Third: Always watch out for someone flinging a parked-car door open into your vehicle as you’re driving it.

  18. hahaha great list, roba! although this one is somewhat unrelated, i thought you might enjoy a top 10 list that friends and i put together:

    http://errwhateverz.wordpress.com/2010/01/05/10-things-we-want-to-see-in-2010/

  19. Shadi

    yesterday I saw a car accident it was split ed in to two pieces 150 meter between each piece !

    So avoid hitting ” 3imdan 2el Kahraba ” fe nos el Jazeerah .

  20. Shadi

    yesterday I saw a car accident it was split ed in to two pieces 150 meter between each piece !

    So avoid hitting ” 3imdan 2el Kahraba ” fe nos el Jazeerah .

  21. Mo

    Don’t drive in Jordan! Cabs are cheap and the stories they tell of wooing their women passengers are extremely entertaining….

  22. Noura, you’re right! We practically have a language for this thing! And you drive really slowly to flick them off.

    Mesh, loool, 3anjad hajar 3a Canada! That’s hilarious. The hand trick really works well when you have female hands btw :D People stop immediately. It’s hilarious.

    Ali, I was thinking about that today. I was at the Wadi Saqra traffic lights and I wanted to go left, I was on the second left lane (there’s a sign that says which lane goes where), and people on the first left lane would go straight anyway, when the sign says they can’t even go left, they have to UTurn! Idiots.

    Farah, yeah, my mother taught me that!

    Omar, or you have to become a pro at zorabeh :D I used to be a pro at zorabeh when I was in JU. YOU MUST BE f you want to face the endless idiocy on University Street several times a day!

    Kinzi, actually, I was close! On the Third Circle! My god, 16 minutes stuck there. My drive to the office usually takes 6 minutes TOTAL and the traffic is usually in Shmeisani. It sucked. Your additions are awesome though, I especially love point one! I don’t know how I forgot to mention that!

    Hisham, ya 7ayati shu high maintenance :P I don’t really like music, and I love having my windows rolled down, so I guess I don’t really relate. I know you have a “mood” when it comes to how you drive though :) It’s cute. MWAH!

    Chris, haha, yeah, Moose refuses to drive in Amman after driving for a few years in the US. It’s a jungle out there! I think it makes driving a little more fun though :)

    zeid (ou za3tar) yeah, the bumpiness is border line heart-attacking. It’s so annoying how one day a street woud have no bump and the next day it would have a JORA!

    Abu Tulip, wow, how did I forget point 3! I’m always worried I’ll end up killing one of the idiots who do that!

    Petitenemesis, nice list as well! :)

    Shadi, why do people in this city love hitting into objects that are just sitting there? You always hear such stories!

    Mo, Moose would agree :)

  23. Avoid Kia sephia cars, always, forever, white ones are extremely against humanity..

    Also avoid any green palate car (in general): Taxi, Buses, trucks, Service and Rent cars..

  24. Same Rules apply to Driving in Jeddah, KSA. including all the additional ones!
    and a few (lots) more

  25. mo

    the thing about amman is its nuts but its so congested and monitored that achieving high speeds in the city is pretty hard … by high speeds i mean anything over 100 … here in riyadh everyone is flying on the road … everyone … well except indians and sudanis … but pretty much everyone is else …

  26. mo

    oh and great post .. i like it better than the geeky stuff hehe

  27. Karam

    7ajjeh sameera has bad knees and bad back and weak legs so to expect her to climb up the stairs of the pedestrian bridge that even young people find tiresome is a bit unfair. have a heart. Pedestrian tunnels would have been much smarter. The first half of the trip is aided by gravity. You can fill the tunnels with small shops and give old people breathing room (no i don’t like to stop and take a break over the bridge while everyone stares at me) before they head up again. in most civilized countries (hate this term) they use tunnels to cross streets. a cheaper alternative is to have street level pedestrian crossings with demand traffic lights. As for those able-bodied adults who simply like to cross the busy streets regardless of the available alternative, i say we should pass the Human Roadkill Law that legalizes running over those idiots since it benefits humanity to cull the population of stupid, reckless people….kidding. Even dangerously stupid people have the right to live as if they were normal people.

  28. june

    funny

  29. Hussein, brilliant idea about color coding idiocy via green. You’re totally right!

    Ebraheem Hashem, lol, I know, I’d honestly rather handle Amman’s silly drivers than Saudi Arabia’s suicidal ones!

    mo, tell me about it. Driving in Riyadh is suicidal. You have kids… idiots who should not be licensed… inhumane snobs… It’s a very bad mix. Glad you like the post :) I often really enjoy writing the geeky ones though :P

    Karam, you’re right, tunnels are of course more practical. But they’re also expensive and disrupting, so if I would have the choice, I’d rather them build these stairs than none at all. I don’t understand why they don’t have enough in this country with so many people crossing the streets!

  30. Yes, about the driving in the middle of the white line! My biggest pet peeve. But my FAVORITE thing to do is smile when I want through or make an error. It totally takes drivers off guard and they let me through or forgive!

  31. Luayx

    There is no such thing as a rule for driving in Amman… Its the only place where you find donkeys drive, and at times a donkey will be ashamed of some of those so called drivers behave… To¬†succeed you need to be organized and from what I see, we haven’t even found the evolution path………¬†

  32. jennifer

    I personally loved to drive in amman. It was always a race to the red light or policemen at the roundabouts. The only issue I ever had was on the highway to dead sea, the patrol flagged me over because of my speed. Lol….no ticket, just a lot of English talk and big eyes…lol…funny my sister in law had 35 lessons to learn to drive 6speed, but never figured it out…great time in that country and very fun driving if you know how to drive fast n safe..

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