Driving in South Africa

Driving in South Africa: Rules of the road

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What side of the road do South Africans drive on? What are the rules at four-way stops? How do you enter a roundabout? Here's a guide to 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 percent. This is around one glass of wine per person.
  • 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!
  • The 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.


John Downes / Articlesbase / Expatica

John Downes: John writes for Novacarhire.com, an independent car hire reservation website where you can book low cost car hire at over 5,000 locations worldwide.

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