Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in Tunisia, you may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Tunisia is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Tunisia can be dangerous. Visitors should avoid driving after dark outside Tunis or the major resort areas. Drivers fail to obey the rules of the road even in the presence of the police. Traffic signs and signals are often ignored, and drivers sometimes drive vehicles on the wrong side of the road. Faster drivers tend to drive on the left while slower drivers stay to the right. Traffic lane markings are widely ignored. Bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles are operated without sufficient lights or reflectors, making them difficult to see darting in and out of traffic. Motorists should also be aware of animals on the roads, particularly in rural areas.
Pedestrians present an additional challenge as they continuously dodge traffic (even on controlled-access highways) and do not pay attention to vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists should be aware that drivers rarely yield and will not always stop at either crosswalks or stoplights. Defensive driving is a must when driving in Tunisia. Drivers may be stopped for inspection by police officers within cities and on highways at any time, and drivers should comply.
Drivers should also be aware that if they are involved in a motor accident that results in death or serious injury of another person, the police may take them into protective custody until they are absolved of responsibility. This can mean spending a period varying from one day to two months in detention. As with any arrest or detention, U.S. citizens taken into custody should immediately request that the police inform the Embassy of their whereabouts.
Travel in the desert areas of southern Tunisia presents additional challenges. Many roads are not paved and even well-traveled routes are subject to blowing sands that can create hazards for vehicles. Persons driving off the major paved roads are encouraged to ensure that their vehicles are appropriate for off-road driving conditions, and are equipped with appropriate spares and supplies, including water and food. Groups should generally travel in multiple vehicles, so if a vehicle becomes disabled or immobilized, the group can return in the operable vehicle(s). Desert regions are subject to extreme temperatures, from sub-freezing evenings in the winter to dangerously hot daytime temperatures in the summer. In addition, there are many areas in the southern desert regions with little or no cellular telephone service. The Tunisian National Guard encourages persons traveling into the desert to register their travel beforehand.
Emergency services are widely available in the larger towns. They can be less reliable in rural areas. Emergency service numbers are:
Police (Police secours): 197
Fire Department: 198
Ambulance (SAMU): 190
Towing (SOS Remorquage 24/24): 71 801 211, 71 840 840
Tunisian Tourism Board : http://www.tourisme.gov.tn/.
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.