Driving in Egypt is a nerve-wracking experience. There are no rules, lanes are practically decorative, and everyone you encounter seems to have a death wish. Even though Egypt breathes new life into the concept of ‘defensive driving’, we’ve rounded up the unwritten rules of driving in our favourite concrete jungle.
The whole thing is a game of gay chicken, and we’re all bluffing
We’ve figured this out. The Egyptian driving experience is an ongoing game of chicken with your hood as your proverbial weapon. The more willing you are to shove your hood into other people’s faces, the closer you get to crashing into them, the more likely you are to ‘win’. Except, really, nobody wins.
The blinkers are the tip of the signal ice-berg
Actual turn signals mean less than nothing. It’s all about the hand-gestures, ramyet el booz, and the, ‘I’m taking this lane’ look. No matter what kind of signals you use, the other driver can (and will) still insist that they saw nothing.
You can communicate ANYTHING using your horn
We’re not familiar with the concept of the residential neighbourhood, and we honk in every possible situation. Your horn can communicate anger (read: cussing at others), cat calls, wedding festivities, or one may simply honk to confirm their existence.
Lanes are purely decorative
They’re really just there to make the roads a little bit prettier. Everybody knows that lanes are more of a suggestion than an actual rule, and most of us think the epitome of good driving is smack bang in the middle of the road, straddling the lane. ANYWHERE is a good place for the ‘ana mashy f 7arty’ argument.
Blame it on a woman
When in doubt, or if you’ve had an accident, blame it on a woman driver. There is a collective belief that women are terrible drivers who are unable to manage the simplest of manoeuvres without demolishing the entire street. If you have an accident, tell everybody that a woman was at fault – nobody will question you.
If it fits, put it in
We’re talking about the hood of your car here. If your car isn’t sniffing the ass of the car in front of you, you automatically forfeit your position in the queue, and shouldn’t argue if someone else gets in there first.
It’s all about people-watching
Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. When stuck in a traffic jam, take the time to gawk at the surrounding cars/passengers. A solid 50% of driving ‘competency’ is mastering el bassa.
The donkey is the king of the road
El 7omar seedy el share3. We’re not being nasty about other drivers, we’re literally referring to the 4-legged creature that you often come across on highways and bridges. You can honk all you like, but the donkey really doesn’t care.
Blind the enemy
On a two-way street in the dark, driving is an actual duel. Master the art of the duel and blind your upcoming opponent before they get the chance to blind you.
Pedestrians are adrenaline junkies
Pedestrians are fierce, fearless, and incredibly stupid sometimes. The scarce pavements turn into motorcycle playgrounds during traffic jams, so they’re not always at fault. Often enough though, they’ll fling themselves into the road with little to no concern for anything beyond getting from Point A to Point B.
Sometimes we unite
We’re at odds with other drivers all the time, but there’s one situation where we really do come together. Egyptians share an exaggerated hatred of radarat – and we’ll help a brother out. If you’re ever flashed by people on the other side of the road, know that they’re warning you about a radar or a lagna.
Try not to care too much
Things happen. Try not to stress too much! Enjoy the chaos, it’s hard to find such functional chaos anywhere else in the world.