Basics – Driving in South Africa

more than a year ago

To really get around easily you need a car - it’s as simple as that. Shop around and book in advance, and it won’t break the bank.
Buy a good map of the city, plan your route before you set off, and keep these tips in mind:

– South Africans drive on the left-hand side of the road and pass other traffic on the right.
– The maximum speed is a nippy 60km/h on urban roads, 100km/h on national roads and 120km/h on highways.
– Petrol is widely available. Attendants fill up the car and, if required, clean windows, check oil and water levels and pump tyres. Tip between R5 and R10.
– South Africans like to drive fast, hog the middle lane and don’t seem to mind being passed on all sides.
– Minibus taxis use their emergency lights to indicate that they are about to do something radical. Keep a healthy distance and avoid driving behind minibus-taxis in the left-hand lane.
– At traffic circles (roundabouts), the rule is that vehicles approaching from your right have right of way. Many Joburg drivers seem not to understand this, and treat a traffic circle as a four-way stop.
– Using hooters (horns) is a national pastime, so don’t be alarmed by the cacophony in congested areas.
– Traffic lights (known as 'robots) often don’t work; when you come across one of these, treat it as a four-way stop.
– Jaywalking is rampant, especially in the inner city, and it is not uncommon to see someone trying to cross a freeway.


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