The Jordan Direct Guide to Driving in Jordan
Considering a self-drive trip to Jordan? Maybe think again. Whilst many drivers abide by the rules, many do not. Jordanian roads are often governed by laws of mutual understanding between locals, built over decades of experience. Let us guide you through some of the slightly anarchic things you should expect if you choose to self-drive Jordan.
Stop Signs 🛑
Expecting a stop sign to mean stop? Not in Jordan. Right of way is a grey area here. Never assume traffic will yield. Always be on the lookout for drivers in a hurry, and double check your rear. Drivers often don’t leave enough space to anticipate your sudden stop.
Traffic Lights 🚦
You may think that, of all highway infrastructure, traffic lights are the simplest to understand. Not in Jordan! Even though running a red light is an offence in Jordan, it’s not uncommon. City roads can turn into drag strips haunted by super tuned pick-up trucks and muscle cars. If your reactions aren’t on par with a fighter pilot on the green, expect a melee of frustrated car horns in your direction.
Again, we come back the issue of yielding. Whilst on a roundabout, don’t expect drivers to give way. The legendary formula one driver Ayrton Senna once said: “if you no longer go for the gap that exists, you are no longer a racing driver”. Jordanian drivers have taken this to heart. On roundabouts always be prepared for others to join you with little warning.
While the government is working towards more pedestrian friendly streets in Amman, there are a few clear pedestrian crossings, and jaywalking is very common. Sidewalks in Jordan are not always conducive to walking, and even on very fast roads, pedestrians will risk life and limb to save half a minute until the next gap. Always be prepared to brake suddenly and watch your rear.
Foreign drivers are often caught out by Jordan’s spine shattering speedbumps. These are littered all over the countries road network and warning is usually only provided immediately before the speedbump (when we say immediately – we mean it).
Expect the Unexpected!
Anything is possible while driving in Jordan. Expect a sudden change in lanes, double parking in major streets and cavernous potholes. Welcome to the wild west!
Driving in Jordan is manageable, but often stressful. To get the most out of your trip, we recommend booking with a driver who knows the country’s roads inside out and has insurance should anything go wrong.