10 December 2013

Changing traffic light sequence and turning right at traffic lights.

First, half of the current 6 readers live in North America.  North Americans keep in mind Tanzanians drive on the left (see * footnote), so a right turn is when you cross the oncoming traffic, opposite to what North Americans do.

I have two lights to navigate on my commute.  The second light is where I have to make a right turn. 

It used to be that the right turn light went just before the straight light.  So I could get in between the cars up front and felt safe.

 A month ago they switched and now the straight goes first, and no way do I want to be in between as they speed straight through the intersection.  Arusha drivers are a "in a rush" breed and I don't want to be there.

the options were :

1.  go straight like a pedestrian, then wait again to go straight again on my road.  I am a "in a rush" Arushan , that will add a minute or two to my commute.

2. Sit in the right turn lane but behind a car turning right.  I haven't tried that but I suspect that would make "in a rush" drivers fidgety, worrying that i will slow them down through the light .

3.  Sit in between and hope everyone sees me.  We have a few drivers, usually drivers of Foresters, who might try to overtake a slow moving truck in the intersection.  (Yes unfortunately it does happen.)

4.  Sit on the far left.  wait for the light to change.  wait for all the cars (certainly any Forester) running the red light straight.  Then cross in front of the straight lane and make my right turn with the cars.

Now bicyclists in North America and militant about not doing #4 (but opposite) , but this is what motorizied vehicle drivers like them to do.

I am reluctantly doing # 4 . 

The worst part is waiting for the people running the red light straight (patience erik),  followed by  I am the entertainment for the cars waiting to go straight.  They all start being helpful thinking i am going straight and yell at me to "go, go , go".

It is a tough life commuting.

* There are times when Tanzanian drivers drive on the right, in fact sometimes they drive on the far left in the shoulder.  When traffic backs up then 20% start going anywhere there is room, including the oncoming traffic lane.


  1. This North American still can't quite picture your #4 solution. Just be safe!! Love, big sis

    1. In your case think of me waiting on the curb on the right until the left turn signal goes red. I have to cross in front of the straight line and they sometimes run red lights.

    2. I drive a Subaru Forester....Am I the car/driver you are referring to? :-) Are there turn lanes in the middle of the street like here?
      I think you should use option 1 and develop a little patience. You need to leave 2 minutes earlier for work. :-)

    3. Re:Subaru Forrester: I just seems to me that when i see one they are driving faster and always overtaking. Is that how you drive Byrna? Is it becuase they are super hot cars?
      Yes we have turn lanes in the middle, but no physical dividers in this intersection, just lines. Well we had lines but they are worn off.