As many of you’ll be heading to South Africa for the football & will be renting a car, we’ve teamed up with the Department of Transport to provide you with helpful driving tips to make your trip more relaxed & enjoyable.
For many people the challenge of driving an unfamiliar vehicle is hard enough, but is made more daunting by having to drive on the left hand side of the road – something which we assure you gets easier after the first day. The trick, aside from the gear lever being operated by the left hand, is the need to look to the left to focus on the central rear view mirror.
South African roads carry close to 10 million vehicles and while the highways have recently undergone major renovations some still have a fair amount of pot holes. Therefore caution is needed when driving, as an inadvertent encounter with a pot hole could cause serious damage to your rental vehicle. You should also be aware that many South African drivers are relatively inexperienced and may be inclined to making a few errors of judgement. So stay alert as you don’t want to sour an otherwise enjoyable drive.
A last note of caution relates to the much publicised crime situation. While the probability of such an incident is slim, we encourage customers to use “common sense”; so steer clear of driving late night in central major cities, be alert when stopped at traffic lights, do not leave valuables and hand bags in view of pedestrians and street hawkers etc. These simple actions will add to a trouble free journey.
Driving around South Africa:
To make your journey easier, Avis provide easy reference maps that cover many of the great drives available in South Africa. We would also recommend hiring a GPS device, which will safely guide you to your destination. In addition to this we advise that you travel with your lights on at all times; while the law doesn’t require this, it’s a sure way of reducing the chance of an accident.
Even more important is the need for you to familiarise yourself with the workings of the vehicle before you drive off. Know how to open the boot and bonnet, plus find where the tools are for changing the wheel in the event of a flat tyre.
Most drivers in South Africa are courteous and will accommodate the needs of another driver, but remember that unlike other countries where vehicles are automatically “given a gap” here it’s acquired partly by some assertive driving and accompanied by a big smile and appropriate gestures (not aggressive ones).
Obeying the law
Generally the road rules are fairly easy to follow,. In South Africa two of the more common speed limits are 60 kph and 120 kph – the former being applicable in built up areas, while the higher speed is for travelling on highways or main roads. If you do encounter a law enforcement office resist the temptation to “bribe” the officer. Politely greet the officer and acknowledge the error with the request to have the “ticket” issued will make the point that as a visitor you do intend to obey the law.
South Africa has some of the best scenic driving roads in the world. We hope that you will not only enjoy a number of these but that the activities and experiences on the way will be savoured and enjoyed.
Enjoy South Africa!