Driving Rules & Regulations in South Africa

You may have heard stories about driving in South Africa that have made you reluctant to get behind the wheel at all. Abandon your car hire plans, however, and you will be missing out on one of the experiences of a lifetime.  South Africa has great roads, quality cars for hire, superb driving weather, and enough breathtaking scenery to make even the longest journey pass quickly.

Of course, it pays to be informed, wherever you are renting a car. We’ve consulted our South African driving experts and put together a list of tips and driving rules that should make driving your rental car in South Africa a breeze.

 south africa driving

Essential Traffic Rules:

– 18 years is the minimum legal driving age.
– The legal blood-alcohol limit is 0.05%.
– Using a hand-held mobile phone while driving is illegal.
– Seat belts need to be worn at all times while driving.
– Drive on the left side of the road.
– An international licence may be required when hiring a car – check with your car-rental provider.

Things you need to know:

– Distance is measured in kilometres.
– Keep to the left and pass on the right when travelling along dual carriageways.
– South Africans often refer to traffic lights as “robots.”
– The speed limit is 120kmh for national highways and main roads, 100kmh for secondary or rural roads, and 60kmh for built-up areas.
– Known as “petrol stations” or “garages,” fuel stations are  NOT self service. Rental cars generally use unleaded petrol, but check first.

General driving safety tips:

– Don’t think you can get away with a speeding fine if you’re driving a hire car: The car hire company will pay the fine and then charge that amount plus an administration fee to your credit card.
– Headlights will increase visibility in poor driving conditions.
– Check water, oil, fuel levels, and the general condition of your rental car daily. South Africa is a vast country, so you don’t want to get stranded in the middle of the veld just because of a lack of basic maintenance.
– National roads between the major population centres are often tolled, so check your route before you leave and ensure that you have either a credit card or sufficient cash to pay.
– Many areas are unfenced, so be vigilant for wild animals straying onto the road.
– Be security conscious. Keep doors locked and windows up, particularly in built-up areas.
– Do NOT pick up hitchhikers.

South Africa is a beautiful country, offering the kind of experiences that remain with you forever.  Renting a car in South Africa is the best way to discover this magnificent land, so brush up on your road rules and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.

If you have any South Africa driving tips you’d like to share, please let us know. Thank You.