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Driving in South Africa

Find out about the essential rules, road taxes and regulations on driving and alcohol in South Africa...

The minimum age in South Africa to drive a car is 18. Drivers must carry a valid driver's licence with them at all times while driving.

Rules and Regulations
  • Drive on the left in South Africa
  • Wearing of seat belts is compulsory for all occupants in the vehicle
  • Distances are measured in kilometres
  • The use of hand held devices while driving is illegal
  • Motor insurance is not a legal requirement in South Africa
  • It is illegal to drink and drive
  • Children under 12 years old are not permitted in the front seats of a passenger vehicle

Safe road usage

  • At a four way stop intersection, all vehicles must stop at the stop sign, with cars taking turns to cross the intersection on a first come first serve basis
  • Come to a complete stop at stop signs
  • At two way stop signs, vehicles must come to a complete stop at the signs while vehicles at the other two directions have the right of way to cross without stopping. The same rule applies as at the four way stop intersection: the first car to arrive moves away first
  • Traffic lights are called 'robots'
  • Traffic to the right has right of way at a traffic circle or roundabout
  • For comprehensive information about the rules of the road in South Africa: Click here

Driver and passenger safety

  • It is compulsory for all the occupants in a vehicle to wear a seat belt
  • Children under 12 years old are not permitted to travel in the front seat
  • Children should travel with a child restraint appropriate to their height and weight, for example, a car seat. For further information: Click here
  • Motorcyclists must wear helmets

Documents to carry in a car

The following documents must always be carried with the driver in the car:

  • Valid driving licence
  • Vehicle documents

Items to carry in a car

It is not compulsory to carry any items in a car while driving in South Africa. Depending on the destination, different items are recommended. For example, when travelling to remote areas, the following items are recommended:

  • First aid or emergency kit
  • Cash to pay for fuel during a journey as many rural garages do not accept credit cards (South African Garage Cards are accepted)
  • Spare bulb kit
  • Map
  • Mobile phone
Road Taxes in South Africa

There is at present no road tax in South Africa, but toll roads are used to raise money for the maintenance of road networks.

  • For details of toll roads and their costs: Click here (PDF)

Green tax

A CO2 or Green Tax is paid according to a vehicle's CO2 emissions. This tax is applied to new vehicles at the time of purchase.

  • For more information about the carbon tax on vehicles: Click here
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Everything you need for life in South Africa - local information you can trust
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