Driving in Jordan

Imagine driving on a road, that has only two lanes, but there are 4 lanes of cars on it, no one is using turn signals, honking is a regular occurrence, and it’s rush hour. Feeling stressed already? This is just the beginning.

When we talked about things to know about Jordan, we mentioned that driving in Jordan takes some time getting used to. It sure did for me, and I feel it deserves a bit more detailed overview.

First, let me just say, renting a car in Jordan was simple and straightforward. You go to your preferred site of choice where you look up the prices for rentals, you book your car, and you get confirmation – your car is booked. You then patiently wait for the day you start your trip, you get to Jordan, pick your car and you are on your way. I booked us the car with a company that didn’t have its booth in the airport (we didn’t know that at the time, that’s a whole another story), so a guy picked us up and drove us to the company office in Amman. That’s the only difference we had from the “regular” experience.

We were warned about the possibility of getting a ticket for speeding if you don’t obey the traffic signs, as well as the top speed on highways being 110 kmph (~68 mph). Basic instructions on how to fill in certain paperwork, basic car inspection, where is the nearest gas station and we were good to go.

We were on the road around 14:00. The roads were packed with people getting out of Amman, and it was complete madness. Coming from a Western country, Agata and I thought we knew crazy when it comes to driving in rush hour. We were so naïve. People walking in front of you, trying to get on the other side, cars stopping in the middle of the highway, people turning left and right not using signal lights, cars, and trucks cutting in front of you with little to no warning whatsoever. All that in the first 10 minutes. I wanted to literally turn back, return the car and hire a taxi, no matter the cost. Agata was the only person who was, well, understanding of the situation and trying to call me down. After exiting Amman and the surrounding area, road construction began. Did I mention that this is all happening in 2 car lanes that have 4 lanes of cars?

After a while, when you get far enough from Amman, the number of cars dwindles, and you can start getting used to the new normal. Because that’s what you must do. But every once in a while, when you’re getting close to another city or a village, there is a pedestrian crosswalk across the highway, and they are usually on these speed bumps that are very poorly marked. A couple of times my heart skipped a beat when I drove 110 kmph over this “speed-pedestrian-bump-crossing” when I thought man, something must have broken. Luckily, we were fine.

We had a jam, luckily our jaywalkers were kind enough to get off the road quickly.

One more thing to know – the police is everywhere. There are few police stops where you have to roll down your window and exchange a few lines with the police officer who will ask you few simple questions, and you will be on your merry way again. But they really are everywhere. Some people told us they weren’t feeling safe about it because their police look more like a military, but they were always nice and kind to us.

It’s not all bad when you have a view like this

But, let’s end this on a positive note. We must say that the road infrastructure is great (where is no road construction), roads were clean from sand and most places have traffic signs in both English and Arabic. Desert highway, the main road that connects north and south of the country, is gorgeous. The scenic landscapes we saw, even the desert windstorm we witnessed when we were getting close to Wadi Rum was amazing and beautiful (the scene of sand slowly flowing across the road will always stay in my head). Going down to the Dead Sea is breathtaking. All I’m trying to say is, that after you get used to driving in Jordan, it becomes easy, and you can more easily enjoy what you came for in the first place. 😉

Have you ever had any such experience? Tell us in the comments!

Stay tuned and follow our footprints!