What Side of the Road Does South Africa Drive On?
When traveling to a new country, it is important to familiarize yourself with the local driving rules and regulations. One crucial aspect is knowing which side of the road to drive on. In South Africa, as in many other countries, motorists drive on the left-hand side of the road. This may be different from what some visitors are accustomed to in their home countries, where driving on the right-hand side of the road is the norm. Understanding this key detail will ensure a safe and smooth driving experience in South Africa.
Driving on the left-hand side of the road is a legacy of British colonial rule, as South Africa was once a British colony. Although the country gained independence in 1961, it retained the left-hand driving system. This means that vehicles in South Africa are right-hand drive, with the driver sitting on the right side of the car. The steering wheel is also positioned on the right-hand side of the vehicle.
Driving on the opposite side of what you are used to can be initially disorienting, especially for visitors from countries where right-hand driving is the norm. However, with some practice and awareness, it becomes easier to adapt. Here are some frequently asked questions about driving on the left-hand side in South Africa:
1. Why does South Africa drive on the left-hand side?
Driving on the left-hand side of the road in South Africa is a result of British influence during the colonial era. Many former British colonies, including South Africa, adopted this driving system.
2. Is it difficult to drive on the left side if I’m used to driving on the right?
While it may feel strange initially, most visitors adapt quickly to driving on the left side. It is crucial to remain focused, pay attention to road signs, and be aware of other drivers.
3. Can I rent a left-hand drive car in South Africa?
No, rental cars in South Africa are right-hand drive. If you are comfortable with driving on the left, you will have no issues renting a car.
4. Are there any specific rules for driving on the left in South Africa?
The general road rules apply, such as obeying speed limits and traffic signs. Additionally, when driving on multi-lane roads, keep to the left lane unless overtaking.
5. What if I accidentally start driving on the wrong side?
If you mistakenly find yourself driving on the right side of the road, safely pull over and readjust. Take a moment to regain your bearings and continue driving on the left side.
6. Are there any exceptions to driving on the left in South Africa?
In certain cases, such as when overtaking cyclists or pedestrians, it is permissible to drive on the right side temporarily, ensuring it is safe to do so.
7. What about roundabouts and intersections?
When approaching a roundabout or intersection, always yield to traffic coming from the right. Proceed in a clockwise direction around the roundabout, keeping to the left.
Driving on the left-hand side in South Africa may require a brief adjustment period, but it is a manageable task. By adhering to local driving rules and practicing caution, visitors can enjoy their journey on the beautiful South African roads. Remember, safety should always be the top priority, so take your time to acclimate to this different driving system.