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There is no better place in the world to have a holiday than South Africa. For independent information, advice and facts about going on holiday to South Africa visit southafricaholiday.org.uk

South Africa Holiday: Road safety

Before you drive in South Africa you should familiarise yourself with the basic driving regulations and laws, the speed limits and use of speed cameras, and what you must do if you have an accident.

Basic driving regulations

  • You MUST drive on the left hand side of the road.
  • You MUST always have your driving licence with you when driving.
  • You MUST always wear a seatbelt.
  • You MUST be 18 years or older to drive.
  • You MUST take it in turns to move off at a 4-way stop (more...)
  • You MUST give way to pedestrians when you are turning left or right at a green robot (more...)
  • You MUST park with the front of the car facing in the direction of the traffic flow, on the nearside of the road.
  • You MUST NOT allow children under 12 years in the front seats.
  • You MUST NOT use a cell (mobile) phone whilst driving.

Speed limits and speed cameras

The speed limits are
120kph (74mph) on open roads,
100kph (62mph) on smaller roads
60kph (37mph) in towns.
Even major national roads cut through residential areas so there may be a speed limit of 80 or 60kph on a road that looks like a major dual carriageway.
Speed limits are often imposed to protect pedestrians, particularly children, where main roads pass close to residential areas (particularly locations and townships on the edge of main towns).
Speed limits are actively enforced using fixed and mobile speed cameras. These are nearly always hidden and will measure your speed going towards them as well as away from them.

No drinking and driving

The drinking and driving laws are very strict and actively enforced.
The maximum allowable alcohol blood content is 0.05%.
This is roughly equivalent to one unit of alcohol (one glass of wine) for the average woman and perhaps 1.5 or two units for the average or large man.

If you have an accident

The law sets out clearly your duties if you are involved in an accident on a public road in which another person is killed or injured or suffers damage in respect of property or animal.
  • Immediately stop
  • Ascertain the nature and extent of any injury sustained by any person. Call for emergency services if needed.
  • Give the other person your name and address, and that of the vehicle's owner if different, and the vehicle's registration number.
  • If these details are not given to a police officer at the scene, you must report the collision at a police station within 24 hours, with your driving licence.
  • Always have a valid driving licence in your possession.

Emergency telephone numbers

  • Police 10111
  • Fire 10111
  • Ambulance 10117
Emergency services from a cell (mobile) phone: 112

Avoiding accidents with pedestrians

Many road fatalities are caused by accidents with pedestrians, many of which could be prevented by the application of basic principles.
  • Many informal settlements are situated alongside main roads with no formal points of crossing or pedestrian bridges.
  • Do not speed near these settlements and be prepared to slow down.
  • Avoid overtaking in the vicinity of these settlements, and especially in hazardous driving conditions such as heavy rain or darkness.
  • Keep you headlamps on during the day (dipped).
  • If visibility is poor, slow down - avoid driving if your vision is impaired by strong rain or the blinding headlights of approaching vehicles.
  • Be on the lookout for small children. Do not assume that you have been seen.
  • Be on the lookout for pedestrians walking at the side of the road with their back to you.
  • Be aware of intoxicated pedestrians � especially over weekends and near informal settlements (shacks).

Driving on gravel roads

Gravel roads in are common in South Africa. With the vast rural areas there is always the possibility of animals crossing the gravel roads.
  • Excessive speed is the main cause of accidents - keep to a maximum speed of 60-70kph.
  • Lack of concentration is the second cause - long driving distances and very little traffic.
  • Pay attention to road traffic signs. Particularly those that indicate a turn ahead or a dip in the road.
  • Reduce speed when passing oncoming traffic and keep as far to the left side as possible to prevent stone damage.
  • Switch on your headlights in rainy or dusty conditions so that others can see you.
  • In rainy or wet conditions beware of slippery roads, wash-aways, and running or stagnant water.
  • Always be on the lookout for wild or domestic animals - slow down.
  • Avoid driving at night because of poor visibility and increasing wild animal movement.
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