My driving history has been interesting since passing my test 18 months ago. I learnt to drive and took my test in the UK but since, I have not driven on British soil. After passing my test last February, I didn’t have a car to drive in the three weeks between passing and moving to Tenerife. I arrived in Tenerife fully expecting not to drive as car hire companies will only provide to those with a license longer than a year. To my surprise, I was given a car straight away and my first experience of driving solo was on the other side of the car and on the other side of the road. I had to become confident in my driving quick as Tenerife has some crazy drivers but the Canary Island was nothing compared to Cyprus…
I was slightly anxious about driving in Cyprus to begin with having not driven for four months over Winter since leaving Tenerife. Also, from Tenerife, my mindset had changed over to driving on the right, whereas I had to switch back to driving on the left. Thankfully, I had no issues which is great because with the crazy Cypriot drivers, you really need to have your wits about you.
For some reason, Cyprus seems to have no rules or rather no rules that people adhere to. Cypriot drivers seem to make things up as they go along, making their own rules and a lot of them drive incredibly dangerously. I feel fairly confident driving on these roads now and I’m very quick on my brake but these are just a few things I’ve discovered about driving in Cyprus…
RED LIGHTS MEAN NOTHING
You know that colour that tells you to stop? In Cyprus, I’m pretty sure it actually means go. At a pedestrian crossing, the second people have crossed, regardless of whether the light is still on red, off the drivers go. Ever accidentally run a red light as it changes? These guys keep on going even after it has changed. Last night I was sat at a red light where everyone was stopped and all of sudden, with the light still on red, people just decided to fuck the system and started driving! Even if the drivers do stop, they creep and creep and creep as far forward as they can get without an oncoming car hitting into them.
NO RIGHT OF WAY
You know that polite system where if cars are parked on your side of the road, the other side has the right of way and you are polite enough to give way to them until it’s free to get through? Yeah, that doesn’t happen over here. I don’t know if it’s just not a rule or nobody cares but it just doesn’t happen. Even if your side of the road is clear but you see a car coming on the other side with cars parked, you have to stop because they just keep on coming.
Double yellows? Go for it! On a corner blocking the view? Why not! There are a ridiculous amount of places to park in Cyprus, it’s actually great but no one seems to bother using them. Instead they park in the dangerous places, the illegal places and the just simply awkward places. I’ve never seen a car get a ticket or get towed.
ALWAYS ROAD WORKS
Cypriots with their siga, siga (slowly, slowly) mentality will take a lifetime to finish one job and before they’ve finished that job, they’ll start another one somewhere else. There are always roadworks or some diversion, you never know where it’s gonna be but there’s always something.
TAKE OFF FAST
If you’re at the front of a roundabout or a traffic light queue, you better be prepared to take off at the speed of light because if you even have a second delay, you will be beeped by the entire lineup of cars behind you.
ALWAYS IN A RUSH
Considering Cypriots are so laid back and do everything else at a snails place, when it comes to driving, they are always in a rush to get somewhere. Ignore the speed limit signs and just go for it because no one else cares. Cypriots will overtake you at any given point, even if it is not safe or if there is physically no way of overtaking you, they will be right up your arse!
THE POLICE COULDN’T GIVE A FUCK
It was drilled into us at the start of season that you had to be really careful over here because the police are red hot. We were told they will pull you over for even the slightest speeding, give you a ticket for any parking violations, catch you out driving over central reservations and fine you for running red lights. In five months, I have not seen a single person be pulled over or a single motorist talking to the police. There are very few police on the road and the ones that are, do not reinforce the rules. I’ll admit, one day I was naughtily driving 100kmph down a 50 and spotted the police. I didn’t get fined, I didn’t get pulled over, they didn’t even bat an eyelid. They just don’t care.
SPEED CAMERAS DO NOT EXIST
There are many, many signs all over Cyprus warning you of speed cameras. Fun fact: this is a lie. There is not a single speed camera in place. About eight years ago, all of these signs were put in place but they never actually got around to putting up the actual cameras. The only speed monitors you’ll find are the ones in police cars and well, we’ve already talked about how they couldn’t give a monkeys.
TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS ARE FREQUENT
I have seen more traffic accidents in my five months here than I have in my life. Almost on a daily basis, you will drive past a smashed car or see someone drive into the back of someone. I have seen at least five people injured in the middle of the road or falling out of car, it’s not nice to see but honestly, it’s just a part of the roads here.
All opinions are my own and just that: opinions. This blog post was not sponsored or endorsed in any way. Please drive safely.