“Ready? Wait there is a car coming!!” After having spent 3 weeks in Rabat, there is not doubt in my mind that traffic lights are merely a suggestion. I live a block and a half away from school, but crossing the street tends to add about an extra five minutes to my walk. Taxi driver stopped at a red light? No worries, as long as there is five extra seconds between him and the car in the opposite intersection, he will be three blocks down before his light goes green.
Back home in Milwaukee, I listen to the walk signals, if it is red, I wait until the little green walking man lights up. In Rabat on the other hand I have found myself having to ignore the signals as much as everyone else around here does. It is merely a leap of faith, hoping the drivers will stop in time to not hit me. I run into the middle of the road and anxiously wait for my next sprint to the other side of the street. I have begun to notice I am the only one sprinting, everyone is incautiously taking a nice easy stroll and ignores the drivers coming at them at about 50 miles an hour. My classmates looked up the number of traffic deaths each year in Morocco. Turns out Morocco is number 4 in the world for the most traffic deaths.
The most saddening experience was during our visit to Fes. At the end of a long day, my roommate and I headed to our hotel room. As she was getting ready for bed, I heard a women scream. At first I did not understand what was going on until her screams got louder and more disturbing. As I looked out the window of our hotel room I noticed an ambulance truck, a car swerved off the road and the frantic women crying over a young man laying on the street. It was a pedestrian that had been hit by the car. I do not know of the outcome of situation, but the way I have experienced the traffic in Rabat, I assumed the worst. It makes me wonder what the traffic laws in Morocco are. I have had no luck finding anything online. Are there any expectations at all?