Whilst, Tunisian drivers don’t have that great reputation, but driving in Tunisia is a pretty convenient and generally easy way to get around. Tunisia has a relatively good, modern road network which spans the width and breadth of the country which are signed in French as well as in Arabic. Tunisia drives on the right hand side of the road (like most of Europe and the US), and there are GPS and maps available in English.
Well, are Tunisian drivers really as bad as everyone says? We are sharing our observations of driving in Tunisia. A lot of people know the stereotypes about Tunisians and driving: Crazy, fast, aggressive, etc.
To help make your driving experience in Tunisia a little bit more predictable, here’s an overview of the top ten Tunisian driving habits to watch out for.
Suggested Read: 20 Mistakes Foreigners Make when they Arrive in Tunisia
10 Tunisian Road Habits to Watch Out For
Suddenly the car you’re about to pass is drifting towards your lane. Hang on, no it’s not, it’s drifting towards the safety fence, no, it’s coming back again.
Advice? Wait until they’re heading towards the inside again then accelerate past as quickly as is safely possible.
Tunisians do like a good straddle. We don’t know why they do this but it is so widespread.
What to do when it happens? Get as far as you can, then pray.
Tunisians definitely consider indicating as an optional activity. And on the rare occasions that an indicator is on, it is likely that it will not be turned off for many kilometers.
Advice? Expect the unexpected.
Getting out from a moving car
A Tunisian driving art form. You see the car slows down, the engine turns off, the door opens, the driver sets one foot out and then the car comes to a dead stop.
Reluctance to change gear
Another habit. Many cars will pass and, somewhere inside your head a little voice will be screaming “change up” or “next gear!”
Parking in Tunisia does sometimes mean just stopping a car randomly with no regard whatsoever for lines, kerbs or the proximity of other vehicles.
Well, watching a Tunisian parking can be another entertaining diversion, as long as your car isn’t anywhere nearby.
Flashing headlights in Tunisia has a lot of meanings but mostly, it means ‘get out of the way’ and quickly. It could sometimes be used as an “after you”. But it’s not always the case.
Always remember the flashing is a warning, not a courtesy.
Everyone is in a hurry but no one really is! If you happen to drive in Tunisia, especially during rush hours, you will have to be super patient.
Our advice would be set your alarm earlier and make sure you beat the traffic by avoiding rush hours at any cost.
You can never assume that you have priority when you should. You should never assume that the other driver, whether prioritized or not, will go round, and not over, the roundabout.
Advice? Always be aware, very aware.
Tunisian road engineers are genius. With the built infrastructure, you can get used to the short run-offs that constitute many junctions, and somehow develop the ability to go from 120 km/h to 40 in the space of 20 meters on a tight curve.
Well, this is how it is so in Tunisia. Get used to it. There is no point trying to impose European, North American rules or getting frustrated as this is, quite simply, the Tunisian way.
Parking in Tunisia
Parking in Tunisia varies from a place to another. It is generally not a problem, however, can be tricky in the major cities, especially in Tunis and Sousse.
In these cities in particular (but across the country) parking is enforced on the road fairly strictly, and it is simple to establish whether parking is allowed from the color of the curb.
Whilst these regulations are pretty general, and different municipalities can use them in different ways, they are a good general guide, however, be sure to pay attention to signs and if in doubt try to ask!
To avoid all doubt, however, it is often easiest to find a car park where you can pay when you are finished and you save the hassle of searching around.
- Red and white markings: parking is generally not allowed (but in some places you can park on them, especially at night)
- Blue and white markings: parking is allowed if you buy a parking permit. Often you can get these from machines at machines at the side of the road, but in other places you’ll have to buy them from kiosks
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