10 reasons why people in Mauritius don't know how to drive

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sima Erriah_Balraj

Driving in Mauritius can be a real challenge because people don’t follow the Highway Code and therefore are a danger to themselves and other road users. Yes, there’s a traffic jam problem here but that does not justify reckless and dangerous driving because at the end of the day, you’re putting the lives of innocent people at risk. Here are the top ten breaches of the Highway Code:

1. Overtaking on solid white lines

A solid white line is designed to divide traffic and it is prohibited to overtake if you would need to cross that boundary. However drivers here do not have the slightest clue how dangerous that can be and because everyone seems to be in a rush, they will sometimes overtake not only one vehicle but as many as required in one go even if that means driving in the opposite lane to accomplish their goal.

2. Entering yellow criss-cross box at junctions when their lane is not clear

You are only allowed to stop in the yellow box junction if you’re about to turn right but are prevented from doing so because of oncoming traffic to avoid traffic jams. Yet, you will see many drivers stopping in that designated area and blocking other vehicles from emerging from side roads.

3. Driving with main (full) beam headlights on at night

The full beam headlights should be turned on only when driving on unlit roads or when visibility is seriously reduced and switch them off when visibility is improved. This is important so that you don’t dazzle other road users but here in Mauritius, everyone seems to be driving with the full headlights on and this makes it really difficult to see ahead and stick to your lane because of the discomfort to the eyes caused by oncoming vehicles.

4. Emerging from side roads without stopping first to see if it’s safe to proceed

70% of the time I'm driving on a main road, I see drivers coming from side roads emerging without stopping. Their vehicles are already half way on the main road and you are forced to either slow down or stop to let them proceed or swerve to avoid hitting them. Why can’t they just stop for a second to make sure it is safe for them to proceed? This is recipe for disaster because you have priority when you’re on the main road and if you fail to stop in time, you’ll cause an accident or if you manage to go round, you might not have had the time to check whether it was safe for you to “overtake”.

5. No courtesy on the roads

Is it such a big deal to have some courtesy and give others way? If you’re trying to emerge from a side road, you’ll have to move inch by inch onto the other road up until other drivers have no choice than to let you pass through. This is because instead of giving you way, other drivers will try to go round you as long as they can. Don’t make the mistake of waiting for someone to let you go, you’ll stay in the same place for a long time!

6. Jumping red traffic lights

Everyone knows that a red traffic light means STOP! For many drivers in Mauritius, a red signal means accelerate quickly so that you can slip through. Actually you’re supposed to start slowing down and stop when you see the amber lights according to the Highway Code and should only proceed if it would be unsafe for you to stop. If you’re at a red signal, you’re also not allowed to turn left whether you’re able to do it or not. I see motorcyclists doing that a lot. I've also noticed a lot of people moving off at red traffic lights before they turn green. It’s fine to anticipate the green lights are coming soon but that does not give you the right to start moving until you get the green lights.

7. Horn unnecessarily

You should use your horn only to warn others of your presence and when your vehicle is moving. So the use of the horn should be limited to avoiding an accident by making others aware of your presence when they did not realise it. This means you cannot horn when your car is stationary. Yet, you’ll hear beeping all the time because somebody has come to pick up your neighbour or the guy behind you is getting frustrated why the traffic is not moving or a man sees a pretty girl walking down the roads.

8. Not obeying speed limits

Speed limits are here for a reason and that’s for your safety. When the sign says 60Km, that means you should aim to keep your speed within that limit and not TWICE as much. Everyone here seems to be busy and wants to reach their destination in the least amount of time possible but by going over the speed limit, they are causing a danger to innocent people. If you don’t care about your life, that’s fine but don’t put others at risk! The faster you drive, the more time it takes to slow down and stop. So your stopping distance increases with your speed and hence that affects your ability to avoid danger.

9. Stopping after line at junctions or traffic lights

When you reach a junction or are stopped by traffic lights, you’re supposed to stop before the solid white line marking on the road and not after. This is important because it allows other vehicles to turn into your road safely. Remember that lorries and buses are longer and wider and they need more space than regular cars to properly do their manoeuvres. By not stopping behind the line, you’re obstructing oncoming traffic. Motorcyclists are the worst offenders but there are some car drivers as well who fall in that category.

10. Parking anywhere that’s convenient

You cannot park on yellow lines. Actually there are so many places where you can’t park and the Highway Code shows it all but it’s common sense to not park your car if it’s going to cause obstruction to traffic. So you think it’s alright to just park outside the shop even for a minute to get some cigarettes? No it isn't! Put your car somewhere else and walk. Stop being lazy and for once think about others and not you.

Just because everyone else is doing it does not mean you should do it too and if you’re guilty of bad driving habits, then it’s time to change.

There are many other things which are unacceptable but the above highlights the main ones. If you think of anything else, then feel free to add it in the comments.

gices Published 30 Apr 2012
Gices Abraham is the founder of Clever Dodo. He's a life coach and advocates the practice of MAM (Movement/Arts/Meditation) for a well-balanced and happy life. Born in Mauritius and now living in the UK, he usually blogs about fitness, music, spirituality and driving topics to pass on his knowledge.


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228 members . 105 topics . 347 posts
sphinx 01 May 2012
Ok, drivers don't follow the rules but it's difficult to be the "model driver" when everyone around you is forcing their way through. If you keep giving way to others, you'll be at a stand still.
hacker8 25 Aug 2014

introduce parking tickets and get their machines confiscated

gices 31 Aug 2014

Parking tickets are already operational eg Port-Louis near Telecom Tower, Rose-Hill on the main road. Elaborate please.

hacker8 31 Aug 2014

no i saw it in films
they give a parking ticket while towing away your machine
in this way , they won't put their machines anywhere and this won't be an inconvenience for those driving

ShishaSmoker 12 Jan 2014

Roads around Mauritius, in my opinion, do not allow for 'good driving' due to the lack of attention given to the security of its users no matter what the responsible authorities might say.. (lack of signs.. poor road marking.. traffic signals on motorways.. potholes even on motorways where people drive at high speeds etc..)
For example, in Beau bassin their is a a very busy bus-stop where very often 2-3 buses are piled up.. Right in front of it is a pedestrian crossing and in front of the latter is a round about.. how much sense does that make?
Also, the driving test set for learners to obtain their licenses only require them to drive in a very distinct manner which obviously cannot be used on mauritian roads..

gices 13 Jan 2014

You're talking about the roundabout near Gool shop, right?

sima 09 Jan 2013

talking about security of people on the road.wonder how people get their licences through bribery.someone, a friend of my husband told him that he can get me a license without going through driving tests.isnt that shocking.it would be like cheating or making a fool out of myself.but the problem is not everyone have the same morals or thinking.maybe every week or day whatever who knows.a person is walikng through the gates of the casernes with a driving license grinning like a fool,and to tell me that strict measures are being taken by police officers to protect our civilians.bribery is so current yet everyone is closing their eyes.

Erriah_Balraj 04 Dec 2012

well said can i share it on facebook for everyone to see

gices 04 Dec 2012

Of course you can :)

There's a facebook like button to your left for easy sharing.

Karl_Mulnier 14 Nov 2012

When taking a turning to the right, most mauritians drive over the white limiting line and swerve dead right taking the risk of coming front to front with another coming in the opposite direction.

gices 14 Nov 2012

True, they are oblivious to the meaning of the solid white line.

anonymous_4 25 Jul 2012

i agree with your review but on one thing i not agree is to give way..
Some drivers here don't respect the code of waiting in the same traffic line,
they are so rushing to arrive at their destination that they overtake another road
to pass other vehicle waiting..In this happen to me i will never let the driver
pass because they don't respect the code..Wait for your turn like others don't try to be more busy..
Everyone want to arrive at their destination early..

Neo 20 May 2012
The rules written above are true and easy to follow. Even I have broken all the rules mentioned when I was getting late but I can't risk my life and the life of others for this. I request all of you to follow these rules.
gices 20 May 2012
@Neo: Mistakes happen but we should always try to correct them. I'm glad to see people like you who can understand how driving like you own the roads can be dangerous not necessarily for yourself but for others as well.
Peaches 15 May 2012
Police officers need to set a good example first then those who drive top of the range cars that think they are better than everyone else need to also take a step back and remember a thing called courtesy! I agree you cannot give way to everyone but people here don't do it ever!