Rules of the Road in South Africa – What You Need To Know

Adapting to driving in an unfamiliar country can be challenging, but with a bit of forward planning, you have really little to worry about! If you hail from a nation that drives on the right hand side of the motorway, the main change in your driving style in South Africa is to adjust to driving on the left hand side.

If you are planning on availing of a hired vehicle for your South Africa holiday, there are a few essential rules of the road you should be aware of, if you are not already familiar with the road traffic rules of the nation. Check out our guide to some of the most important rules of the road you should understand before driving in South Africa…

· Drive on the left hand side of the road in South Africa and overtake on the right only.

· South Africa travel distances and speed limits are displayed in kilometers on road signs.

· The message is clear “Don’t Drink and Drive”. There are strict drink driving laws in South Africa. The maximum alcohol blood content level that is allowed is 0.05%. This is around one glass of wine per person. Don’t ruin your holiday by geting prosecuted for drink driving.

· A common feature at quiet intersections on South Africa roads are Four Way Stops. Here, the very first vehicle to arrive has priority. Remember to give way to traffic on the right at roundabouts – however it is wise and then proceed with caution.

· You must always wear a seat belt. All of the passengers in the vehicle are required by law to wear seatbelts.

· The use of hand held cell phones whilst you are driving is not permitted on South African roads. Use a hands free kit should you want to avail of the use of a mobile phone.

· You are required by law to carry your Drivers Licence when driving, and it is also advised to acquire an International Driver Permit also. Police Road Traffic Officers will want to see your driving documents if they stop you on your journey. If your Drivers Licence doesn’t have a photograph, then use your passport for photographic identification!

· Speed Limit on the national highways, freeways and all other main roads in South Africa is 120km/h (75mph).

· On the rural road network the speed limit is 100km/h (60mph).

· In the urban locations the limit is usually 60km/h (35mph), unless signs dictate otherwise.

· Make sure to reduce speed on congested roads, or if conditions are poor due to rain or mist.

· Note that in South Africa it is illegal to park your vehicle on the opposite side of the road when it is facing oncoming traffic.

· Yield to traffic on the right at roundabouts – oncoming traffic on the right has the right of way. Proceed with caution if clear on the right.

· At traffic lights, if the light is green, then you can proceed. If you are turning to the right and the light is green, the oncoming traffic has the right of way. Wait until it is clear to proceed.

· At traffic lights if you are turning left and the light is green, you can proceed.

· When the traffic lights turn to amber, slow down and stop.

· The legal age for driving in South Africa is 18 years of age.

Find out more about the Rules of the Road in South Africa and Road Safety in South Africa.The best way to explore South Africa is to hire a car. Book a Car Rental in South Africa or visit our Car Hire in Cape Town page.

Have you taken a South Africa Vacation in the past, or are you planning to head there in the near future? If you have experience of driving in South Africa and have further South Africa driving tips our readers would value your input.