Driving Tips, Rules & Regulations in South Africa

There’s a great road infrastructure and beautiful scenery for driving in South Africa. And thanks to so many car companies for hire, travelling by car is a really great option for those who plan on visiting, whether for a short or long term stay. So if this is your transportation of choice, then you’ll need to keep in mind a couple of things.

If you don’t have a car yourself, you can bet you can hire one at the airport. Many of the reputable car hire companies in South Africa are well represented to greet possible clients. You’ll also find them in the cities, in case you didn't get to deal with one at the airport. The practice is that the hired vehicles are at a single pickup point and dropped off at another. These companies will also offer insurance – it’s advisable you get one.

As long as your driver’s license is in English and has your photo and signature, you’re pretty much allowed to go driving in South Africa. It’s the car hire companies, however, that might have additional requirements. For instance, most of them will ask for an International Driver’s Permit. And once you've procured the rental, make sure you bring with you all related documents to have something to show when the traffic enforcers call your attention.

South Africans drive on the left and pass on the right side of the road. Most of the measurements such as speed limits and distances are in kilometers. Seat belts are to be worn as required by law, and you can’t use your mobile phones while driving unless you've got a hands free kit.

It’s illegal to drink and drive when you've got blood alcohol content of more than 0.05g for every 100 ml. It’s better to avoid driving when you've had even a little to drink in the past hour. Remember that it’s very difficult to tell if you've consumed enough alcohol to exceed the limit, and officials can subject you to a test on the spot.

National highways, freeways, and most major routes have a speed limit of 120 km/h or 75 mph. Other roads not in build-up areas have a speed limit of 100 km/h or 60 mph, while those that are in build-up areas have a limit of 60 km/h or 35 mph. This of course will change if there is a speed sign that indicates a different limit.

South Africans normally refer to gas stations as “garages”. They are found situated on both the urban and rural roads and most of them are open 24 hours. Fuel roughly costs $1 per liter. Major credit cards are accepted, but in case you need cash there are ATM's on these stations as well. Most of the national roads are in wonderful condition, but watch out for pot holes and rough surfaces when on the rural areas. Planning ahead is essential to a stress-free trip when driving in South Africa. You might also want to procure maps just in case.

Summary

South Africa has a great road infrastructure.
If your driver's license is in English and has your photo and signature you ca drive. If not, you will need an International Driver’s Permit.
South Africans drive on the left and pass on the right side of the road.
Seat belts must be worn at all times, and you can’t use your mobile phone whilst driving.
It’s illegal to drink and drive when you've got blood alcohol content of more than 0.05g for every 100 ml.
South Africans normally refer to gas stations as "garages".

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