Tunisian Traffic

Tunisian traffic is total anarchy. There is almost no law while on the roads. You see cars whizzing past without a care in the world. Pedestrians and drivers mingle hazardously together and you cannot tell the driver’s intentions while on the road.

When I first arrive in Tunisia, the local AIESECers received us at the airport and drove us to the house in Tunis, using their own cars. The first thing I observed was that most of the cars in Tunisia are dusty, which makes sense, because its a desert area and doesnt make sense to wash the car when it would get dirty the next day.

Most of the cars are Volkswagens, Citroens, Opels, Fords and Audis.

So they drove us to the city center and it was chaotic! Tunisia follows right hand drive and the roads are mostly unmarked. They also have no lane markings, dividers, speed bumps or anything of that sort. And the roads have been smoothen out due to its heavy use which I assume would be dangerous if it rains. Most junctions do not have working traffic lights, so at junctions, the cars just criss crosses each other. How they know when to accelerate and stop, is beyond my understanding, but somehow, it works. Bigger streets may have traffic lights, but mostly the roads are chaotic, messy and sometimes do not make sense at first glance.  Sometimes you even see cars going in the opposite direction.

It was difficult to make sense of complicated junctions, and as a pedestrian I find it extremely dangerous to cross their roads. But apparently, the do give way to pedestrians. So even though its chaotic and the vehicles are everywhere, you don’t have to make sure that they are no cars. Just cross the road, be bold and somehow they give way to you, but you still have to be mindful especially motorbikes. Sometimes when I cross busy streets, its like taking a big leap of faith.

The city center have trams and it is closely intergrated with the roads. The funny thing about trams is that they can stop for pedestrians crossing the road and even vehicles, not the other way around. With cables overhead, the trams covers most of the city center, and its very evident from the green carriages that travel through the city that shares the same space as the roads used for normal vehicles.

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