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South Africa – Driving

South Africa is a large country with diverse landscapes and driving conditions. Road safety is a concern, and visitors should take extra care when driving on South African roads. In this article, we’ll cover road safety, driving rules, and other important information for driving in South Africa.

Road Safety in South Africa

The roads in South Africa range from well-maintained highways to unpaved roads in rural areas. It’s important to drive defensively and be aware of other drivers on the road. South Africa has a high rate of car accidents, so it’s important to exercise caution when driving.

Local driving standards can vary, and some drivers may not follow the rules of the road. It’s important to remain vigilant and anticipate the behavior of other drivers. Be especially careful when driving at night or in rural areas, where there may be animals on the road.

Equipment Required in Your Car

When driving in South Africa, there are certain items you must have in your car at all times. These include a warning triangle, reflective vest, and a fire extinguisher. It’s also recommended to carry a spare tire, jack, and wheel wrench.

Road Accidents in South Africa

In the event of a road accident, you must stop and provide assistance if anyone is injured. Call the police immediately and do not move the vehicles until they arrive. Exchange details with the other driver, including name, address, and insurance information. Take photos of the accident scene and get the contact details of any witnesses.

Driving Rules in South Africa

In South Africa, you must drive on the left-hand side of the road. The speed limit on highways is 120 km/h, and in urban areas, it’s usually 60 km/h. In residential areas and near schools, the speed limit may be lower. Always be aware of the speed limit signs and follow them.


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In South Africa, the driver of a vehicle approaching a four-way stop must give way to the vehicle that arrives first. If two vehicles arrive at the same time, the vehicle on the right has right of way.

It’s illegal to use a mobile phone while driving in South Africa, unless you’re using a hands-free device. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.05%, so it’s best to avoid drinking altogether if you plan on driving.

Road Signs and Traffic Lights

South Africa uses standard international road signs, which are easily recognizable. Traffic lights are also used throughout the country, and they operate the same way as in most other countries.

Road Traffic Information

The South African National Roads Agency (SANRAL) provides up-to-date traffic information on its website, including traffic reports and live traffic cameras. You can also check with your car rental company or accommodation provider for local traffic information.

Parking Rules and Permits

When parking in South Africa, always check the signs for any restrictions or time limits. In some areas, it’s necessary to pay for parking using a meter or parking app. In cities, parking can be difficult to find, especially during peak hours.

If you’re planning to park for an extended period, it’s important to check whether you need a parking permit. This is especially important in areas with high populations of expats, such as Cape Town and Johannesburg.

Disabled parking bays are available in many public areas, and vehicles displaying a disabled parking disc are permitted to park in these bays. You can obtain a disabled parking disc from the South African National Council for Persons with Disabilities.

Driving in South Africa can be a rewarding and enjoyable experience, but it’s important to be aware of the unique challenges that come with driving in this country. By following the rules of the road, staying informed about traffic and road conditions, and taking the necessary safety precautions, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in South Africa.


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