Driving In South Africa
March 1, 2016
You have arrived in South Africa and want to take the self-driving option as it is a more enjoyable way of exploring our beautiful country. Here are some options to assist you in making your trip more enjoyable:
We can assist you with car hire either through your corporate or privately. Most car rental companies, international or local are represented at all major airports and city centres.
Vehicles may be picked up or dropped off at the various branches. Please remember to read the small print and terms of conditions before signing. All major credit are accepted. Please remember take insurance as it may not be you who causes the accident.
KEEP LEFT PASS RIGHT
In South Africa, we drive on the left hand side of the road. The general rule of the road and all highways in South Africa is ‘Keep left, pass right’. All vehicles are ‘right hand’ drive vehicles. For automatic and non-automatic vehicles where there is a gear shift, the gear shift is operated with the left hand.
Any valid driver’s license is accepted in South Africa, provided it has a photograph and signature of the holder of the license and is printed in English. Some car hire companies may require an international driver’s license.
When enquiring regarding car hire, please ensure to ask what driver’s license is required and what documentation you may need to carry with you. Please ensure to include any additional driver information and carry the documentation with you.
DRIVER’S LICENSES AND THE AUTHORITIES (TRAFFIC OFFICERS)
As mentioned above any valid driver’s license is accepted in South Africa, provided it has a photograph and signature of the holder of the license and is printed in English. It is always advisable to get your driver’s license authenticated in English by a Commissioner of Oaths or Public Notary. Remember to carry all documentation with you when you travel as traffic officers will ask for this information when they stop you or pull you over.
DISTANCES, SPEED LIMITS AND SPEEDOMETERS
Distances are measured in kilometres (km). Speed limits in general on South Africa national highways, freeways and major routes is 100km/h or 120km/h (h= hour). On secondary roads it is 80km/h or 100km/h. Most other roads or built up residential areas are 60km/h. Please remember to discuss fines with the car hire company. Most car hire companies will pay the fine and charge you an additional administration fee along with the cost of the fine.
The wearing of seatbelts is compulsory for all children and adults front seats and back seats. All children under the age of 3 years and toddlers are required to be buckled up or in a car or booster seats.
MOBILE PHONES AND DRIVING
The use of mobile phones or other devices while driving is against the law. Ensure you use a handsfree device. Ensure that you are in a safe area to use your handsfree device or in case of emergencies.
ALCOHOL AND DRIVING
Drinking and driving is against the law and unsafe to yourself and your family/passengers.
The legal blood alcohol limit in South Africa is less than 0.05 g per 100ml. The legal breath alcohol limit in South Africa is less than 0.24mg in 1000ml of breath. Anything more will hamper your driving ability so it is not advisable to drink at all when driving long distance or as an expat in unfamiliar areas or cities.
FUEL GAUGES AND FUEL
Fuel gauges are measured in litres. Please be aware of your fuel gauge and when travelling long distances avoid running out of fuel. Fill up at regular intervals.
Petrol or gas types in South Africa are : unleaded and lead replacement 97, 95 and 93 octane (super or premium). The 95 and 93 octane petrol are available in non-coastal, Gauteng and Mpumalanga and the 95 and 97 octane is available at the coast. Diesel is available with 0.05% sulphur content and 0.005% sulphur content.
Most car hire vehicles use unleaded petrol. In South Africa petrol stations are not self help. The petrol attendant will help you and you may pay them using cash, debit card or credit card. Some smaller petrol stations do not accept cards.
Most of our road infrastructure is excellent. On secondary roads and rural roads it is likely that you will encounter pot holes and poor surfaces.
MAPS AND ROAD TRAFFIC SIGNS
The Automobile Association of South Africa (AA) provided current information on roads, traffics signs for specific destinations. Stationery shops all provide maps of South Africa.
TOLL ROADS AND E-TOLLS
Many of the national roads between the major centres are toll roads. Do you calculations and check the fees before you leave to ensure you have the cash or credit card to pay for the tolls. You are likely to go through 3 or 4 toll gates before you reach your destination. Tolls vary from R10 to around R200 depending on the type of vehicle.
E-tolls or electronic toll collection is in place in Gauteng. Your car will be fitted with an e-tag and automatically collected as you are driving. Please ensure to ask the car hire company regarding the e-toll tag.
SAFETY ON THE ROADS
When driving on South Africa please exercise cause on the roads and drive defensively to avoid accidents. Minibuses and taxis can drive very erratically and often don’t adhere to the rules of the road. When in rural areas please drive carefully and keep a look out for animals on the road, or crossing the road i.e dogs, chickens, sheep, horses, cows and wild animals. Especially in the evening when it is dark, be very cautious and keep a look out for road signs showing wild animals crossing.
NEVER stop to feed wild animals. It is very dangerous.
Drive with your doors locked and windows up in cities and at traffic lights. Keep your wits about you and be safe. Don’t pick up hitchhickers. Do not stop to help someone on the side of the road. Rather report it to your nearest police station. When parking your car ensure that nothing is visible and all items are locked in the trunk or boot or glove compartment or cubbyhole. Ensure your car is locked when you leave it.
Please contact Sally Wardle – Tel : (011) 3721700 or Email : firstname.lastname@example.org for further information car hire, defensive driving courses, personal safety and orientation safety, and any other the items mentioned above.