06 Sep Driving in Morocco
Driving in Morocco is not always crazy and dangerous, but it can be! If you stay away from busy city areas and walled cities, you might just find it manageable. But watch out for the gendarmes (police)! They are waiting for you to pick up speed coming down hills and have staked out the best places to use their speed cameras to catch you.
Road surfaces are of varying quality, with many super smooth new roads, and many unpaved roads in small towns and near the beach. Do not underestimate the size of a speed hump or pothole.
How to navigate roundabouts
Driving is on the right side of the road throughout Morocco. Roundabouts are all anti-clockwise. Yield to anyone already on the roundabout, unless you have the green light. If you have the green light, and someone is already on the roundabout, they need to stop whilst on the roundabout and yield to you.
Note how this applies to you when you are turning left. If you have the green light as you approach the roundabout, continue onto the roundabout, but stop on the roundabout before you get to oncoming traffic, which obviously has the green light, too. You will need to wait until the light changes to continue on the roundabout to complete your left turn.
Rules of the road (how to not get a ticket)
- No talking on mobile phone while driving (you will get a ticket if a gendarme sees you).
- Wear your seat belt.
- No parking on red and white kerb. It is very possible you will get towed in cities, and then you will have a massive headache on your hands, along with a big fine, and it could ruin your trip.
- Stop for pedestrians in walkways, like you would a zebra crossing, though to be honest, it’s not that strict here.
- Avoid congested areas you want to visit (like city centres and walled cities) by parking just outside and walking or taking a taxi into the area.
- Watch your speed, especially descending hills when you are likely to pick up speed.
- This is obvious, but stop for stop signs. There’s a known police trap outside of Essaouira, where tourists are likely not to stop because of poor visibility of passing traffic. Make a full stop first, before inching forward for better visibility.
- You will have to pay for parking. Get used to it. In Taghazout, most of the surf spots and beaches, everywhere in Agadir, or any city, you will have to pay for parking.
- You don’t have to get ripped off though. Don’t pay more than 5 dirhams.
- But always be nice to the parking guardians, especially if you’re leaving your car in their hands.
- Try to park where there is a guardian, or at least where others are parked. A car on its own is an invitation to thieves.
- If you have a car hire and you’re locking it up, double check all your doors and boot are locked before hitting the surf.