Posted by: sam | June 20, 2007

Driving in Canada

This is my first post on Arab Expats. Thank you who-sane for inviting me to join🙂


Over the years I have met with a number of people who had recently immigrated to Canada from Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. Of course one of the first things people do when they get to Canada is apply for health insurance, social insurance number and a driver’s licence. Sounds pretty simple eh??



This is a conversation I’ve had over and over with these people:


Me: so are you all set for your driver’s exam?

Person: of course, there is nothing it is, I have been driving for years in (Lebanon, Jordan, etc)

Me: maybe you should get a driving instructor to give you few lessons

Person: no like I said, I have been driving for years; I can give lessons to the best of them

Me: ok good luck!


Few days later:


Me: sho mabrook 3ala your licence?

Person: no not yet, I failed the exam!

Me: wal! No way! You did? How come? (Thinking I told u so, hahahaha)

Person: listing at least 10 things he did wrong during the exam

Me: that is too bad; you should take some driving lessons, to learn the driving laws and rules in Canada

Person: Yeh I called a driving instructor and will take some lessons!

Me: good; good luck next time(thinking I told you so, I told you so)


I know, I know, bas ya3ni they were too annoying with their over confidence! One person wanted to show off so he was driving with one hand during the exam!


I have only met two people who actually passed their exam from the first try! I mean “rules” are different in the middle east, everything goes, and the shatara is not following the rules and cutting people off there.


This reminds me, the way the traffic light is placed in Canada is very confusing to middle easterns. When my husband’s nephew came to Canada, he would be driving, then he comes to a red light but keeps on driving to stop right under the light!

He looks around and notices that he has already passed the intersection and is n the middle of the road.


That was hilarious to watch! When I went back to Amman and Syria I knew why he did that.


Can anyone blame me for not being to happy about him driving my brand new car?



  1. Welcome welcome!

    I am lucky because I didn’t drive in Amman so it was easy for me to pick up the good habits. But I am terrified of having to drive in Amman.

  2. LOL! … I don’t blame you at all sam!

  3. welcome on board Sam.

    I was scared when I drove in Jordan one summer. I learned how to drive in the states, so I did follow the rules. In Jordan’s driving culture, there are no rules!!!
    ****a taxi driver was amazed that I put on my seatbelt. (shoo 7’ayef? he asked with a giggle)
    ****another, as we were entering a circle, stormed in. “isn’t priority to the cars that are already in the circle?” I asked. he replied that “el awlawieh lalli bidafish.”
    ****at a stop sign, you’re only required to honk. dare you stop, because the guy behind you is going to slam into your car.
    ****lane markings are for decoration purposes only. in a two lane street, you will find three cars driving side by side in harmony.
    ****at the red light, prepare to hear a barrage of honking when the light turns into yellow. (in Jordan, traffic lights go: green-yellow-red-yellow-green)

    I only drove for a few days, but I am sure there are more rules (Jordanian rules) for driving.

    the good thing is that everybody drives that way. so you can say: for them it is as safe as other countries.

  4. When I took the driving exam here in the UAE I failed miserably. Who the hell puts traffic lights at the other end of the intersection. We are in the Texas or Mexico!

    And who the hell still drives manual (except in Syria and Amman, where auto is considered a luxury). Have two driving licenses in two different countries, and the guys in the UAE insisted I go back to those countries to have my licenses revoked for my insolent driving skills.

    I passed on the fourth try.

  5. Now just for the record.. I am one of those people who actually got their DL from the first try after driving for more than 5 years in Amman.. impressive eh?😀
    LOOOOOOOOOOOOL @ your relative, yeah I did it once when I first started, and guess what my still does when ever she comes back from her vacation in Jordan LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL, at first I was extremely confused I was like “why the heck are the lights are so freakin away” LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL
    Good luck driving in Amman my dear, now that will be really funny for us to hear about😀

  6. LooL @ I told you so I told you so😀

    Driving in Amman sucks, it’s like driving in hell😡 I swear when I first started driving, I was the gentleman in driving, following all the rules, seat belt fastened, giving signals and all!! But if you are in Rome, act like Romanians… Now I drive around like a taxi driver😀

    PS. ka2ino ma ello 3alaqa bil mawdoo3 elli ana 7akito😀

  7. 7aki me too, terrified of driving in just praying that one day somehow driving there will be as much fun as driving here!

    who-sane thank u for agreeing, hubby thought i was out of my mind! he didnt even check his blind spots kaman, and almost had few accidents, in my brand new car!:(

    globalorama, wow! it is just like a jungle on amman’s streets, the stronger and crazier is the one that gets by..

    kj! wow fourth try eh? a freind of mine had to do it 8 times! he was so stubborn…o well:)

    maioush nooo way..i have made a decision that i will not drive in least for now..if we ever move for good then yeh…but i want to enjoy my 6mo to 1yr of living in amman, and not stress out:)

    jasim yeh im sure few weeks of drivinign in amman and i will be driving like a lunitic! but we wont be finding that out soon..3shan i will not drive there…taxi’s are dirt cheap there..:)

  8. Hey welcome SAM, and soon we will welcome ya to jordan too.

    Hmm driving in Jordan is exciting. while driving in canada and the states is boring.
    I don’t drive any different here than i do in the states (minus the speeding tickets since i don’t get caught as much and i have a few more accidents here than i do in jordan). The way that i drive is that am the cop on the road *mwahaha* few of my enforcment rules:
    – at the roundabout the when you are on the roundabout on the way to getting out just put ur foot to the paddle and pray that you do the most damage when they hit you.
    – highlights in your eyes, turn you highlights on and start veering towards the car
    – you see someone slowing down to check an accident, girls or whatnot put your hand on the horn turn on ur highlights.
    if that doesn’t work then car kiss the car infront of you that should rattle them(tho its a prospect for a fight or a highspeed chase). Use same technique for cars that park in the street.
    – enforce using signal lights, no one is allowed to switch lanes without signals, when they try maintain the same speed as they do unless they put a signal

    there are a whole bunch of those. thats why its exciting

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