Driving on South African Roads

Tips to remember about Driving on South African Roads:
The first thing to remember is that in South Africa you will be driving on the Left. This is extremely handy for drivers coming from the UK and Ireland but may be a little strange to those coming from the Continent or North America. Since the driving position will be on the Right Hand Side of the car so as the driver you just have to make sure the line in the middle of the road is outside your door.

Also similar to the UK, most cars are manual transmission and it may be difficult to procure an automatic, be sure to book one early but even then it may not be guaranteed.

The roads in South Africa can vary in quality greatly. The National and Regional roads that connect the major cities and major towns are all of a very high standard. Some sections of these National Routes are dual carriage freeways and some a tolled. The main examples of the National roads include the N1, which connects Cape Town to Pretoria through Johannesburg; the N2, which runs from Cape Town to Durban though the Garden Route; and the N3 which runs from Durban to Johannesburg.

Outside of these main roads, the quality can diminish quite severely and this is especially the case in some of the National Parks which feature dirt tracks that you may not want to take a regular car onto.

The speed limits on the motorway are generally about 120km/h, on other major roads the limit is 100km/h which is lowered to 80km/h in built up areas and then within urban areas it is 60km/h. These speed limits are enforced by the police who are equipped with laser or radar guns. If you are driving a rental the fine could be sent to the rental agent who in turn will take it from your credit card so it best not to speed in the first place.

All road sign distances are in kms and fuel is sold by the litre. You will not be able to purchase fuel in garages with a credit card; you will require either cash or one of the special Garage Cards that can be bought in almost any bank. Most petrol stations will have ATMs anyway so you could try getting cash that way. The prices are regulated by the government so there is no need to skip petrol stations in the hope of finding a cheaper one just down the road. When it comes to the national routes, just down the road can be between 200 and 300 kms, so best to fill up whenever you are getting a little low and you happen to be passing a petrol station. Many of these stations are open 24-hours and will include restaurants, shops, bathrooms, etc.

There are no left turns permitted on a red light unless there is a yield sign that specifically allows it. Otherwise you have to wait for the green.

Hopefully this brief introduction into South African Roads will aid you on your trip to this beautiful country.

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