Moroccan drivers

I’ve mentioned that I’ve taken two trips to Morocco in recent years. One of the things I’ve seen there and have always meant to blog about is the utter chaos that is traffic. Cars and mopeds zip past each other and pedestrians (and donkeys and cats), always seeming a second away from a collision. People race their vehicles through alleyways with barely an inch on each side. Even if you, as a pedestrian, get a walk signal at a light, cars turning right can still turn and it’s your job to stay out of the way. The only other place I’ve seen with traffic that dangerous is Juarez, Mexico.

Here’s a great little video demonstrating this:

However, despite the cacophony, accidents are still rare*. On my most recent trip to Morocco I started to pay attention to why this is. One reason, I think, is that people are much better focusing on not where other vehicles are, but where they are going to be. They’re essentially applying the logic behind the famous Wayne Gretzky quote, “I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.” Moroccan drivers are aware of where all the other vehicles are going to be in the next five seconds and steer accordingly.

* In Casablanca, I did once come across a crowd gathered around a man who’d been injured by a vehicle.

Of course, there’s one major difference between Moroccan and American and European drivers. In Morocco – a Muslim country – drivers are overwhelmingly male. (I don’t think I ever saw a female driver there.) Women are famously challenged when it comes to spatial perception which, obviously, is oft used in driving. It’s possible that driving in 1st world countries is so cautious because we need to accommodate the weakest drivers on the road e.g. women. Moroccans have no such limitation.

Ha! Just wanted to get the chicks worked up there. There’s actually a lot of evidence that women have less accidents than men, though one could debate whether that’s due to better driving skills or just more caution.

UPDATE: Here’s another crazy Morocco traffic video:

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