|Driving Information Description
Do not be under any illusion many South African drivers are notoriously bad, especially the public taxi microbus drivers. Jumping lights on Amber and even Red is commonplace. 'Undertaking' is the 'Norm' and driving while on the cell phone is totally illegal, South Africans find this absolutely necessary to do as part of the driving experience !!!
Having said that driving in South Africa is not to dissimilar to the UK and as long as you are streetwise and have your wits about you, as in the UK, everything should be alright. However driving at night, outside built up / urban areas, is a totally different experience ! You will have to be extremely careful and watch you speed in these very rural areas / roads as you well may come across people, cyclists, domestic animals, small and large game animals that can be found just wandering along the side or even in the middle of the road. As there will be no street lighting and no haze of nearby town lights these roads are very, very dark and medium /long range visibility is difficult. If you can avoid driving on the country roads at night you should do.
Minimum driving age is 18 years. Car Rental companies requires the age to be 21 years.
Seatbelts are compulsory for ALL occupants...................
It is worth having a canister of 'Tyre Jack' Inflater & Sealer in your boot for that quick puncture repair. ( purchased at most Hardware outlets / Checkers supermarkets )
Driving while on cell /mobile phone is totally illegal. ( only hands free kits allowed )
NOTE - With effect from 1st July 2012 a new Cape Town Municipality By Law came into effect whereby if you are caught driving while on a cell phone (without hands free kit ) you are liable for a R500 fine and your cell phone being confiscated for 24hours.
Drinking and Driving is illegal but many people do take chances with this, and "depending on the circumstances" the first offence may a large fine, around R6,000 ++. For the second offence the fine is much worse, around R15,000 ++ and you could lose your licence for up to 3 years. The third offence is your 'Red Card', the fine is around R28,000++ and you will lose your licence for 'Life' !!! ... In ANY of the above you may well have your car crushed as part of the penalty process. As time goes on there are more and more drunken drivers receiving custodial sentences as well.
If you are caught drinking & driving and involved in an accident ie - Multiple / Fatality, and again , it does depend on the circumstances, you could be dealt extremely harsh penalties, such as large fine, lose licence,car crushed and face a custodial sentence.
NOTE - During 2011, the courts are now taking a view that if you have been involved in an accident where a fatality has occurred and you have been drinking and driving, you could face charges of murder which carries a life sentence.
Basically-- DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE ! ----------SOUTH AFRICA IS BECOMING A ZERO TOLERANCE COUNTRY ON DRINKING AND DRIVING !
NOTE _ NOTE _ NOTE With effect from August 2014
CAPE TOWN - Irresponsible drivers will have to pay quite a bit more for traffic offences as the minister of transport and public works, Donald Grant, reports that traffic fines in the Western Cape will increase from August 2014.
The department said: We welcome this move as it adds weight to the seriousness of these violations, which perpetrators may have previously shrugged off or not taken as seriously as they should.
According to the department, offences are divided into three categories:
A - Serious offences ranging from R1 500 to R5 000
B - Driving offences ranging from R1 500 to R 3 000
C - Not so serious offences ranging from R500 to R1 500
According to Grant: We will be adopting a no-nonsense enforcement approach to this period (June - August), as we do during the busy festive and Easter periods. Road users must ensure that they are safe and exercise extreme caution during this time.
They must refrain from dangerous behaviour such as; drinking and driving; speeding, especially on wet and slippery road surfaces with decreased visibility; driving long distances without taking the necessary rest periods; and not being visible while walking on roads. Let us all continue to work together to ensure that we get Safely Home.
The following fines will increases:
Falling to stop on demand of a traffic officer R500 to R1 500
No driving licence - R500 to R1 500, HEAVY R2 500
No **PrDP - R2500, and with passengers R3 000
Unroadworthy vehicles - R1000 to R3 000
Unroadworthy bus or minibus - R1 000 to R3 000
Contrary to discontinue notices - R3 500
Operator safety issues - R3 000
Inconsiderate driving - R1 000 to R2 500
Scholar stop - R500 to R3 000
Level crossing - R500 to R3 000
Normal stop - R500 to R1 500, with *PrDP R3 000
Bus and minibus stop - R500 to R1 500
Disregarding bus/minibus lane - R500 to R1 500
No overtaking line - R1 000 to R2 500 and PrDP R3 500
Skipping traffic lights - R1 000 to R2 000 and R2 500 for PrDP
Service brakes - R500 to R2 500 PrDP
According to the department, offences for overloaded vehicles changed from kilogram categories to a percent rating - If vehicles are over the 14% to 33% threshold, fines will range from R750 - R5 000 (from R250 and R2 500).
Cut-off for NO AG (admission of guilt) for buses and minibuses was 150km/h reduced to 134km/h and R1 500 fine.
According to the department:The threat of these fines will no doubt deter errant motorists from engaging in irresponsible and dangerous behaviour on our roads.
Driving in South Africa is on the left, and give way to the right. There is a form of etiquette at any 2 way, 3 way or 4 way stops ( road junctions / crossroads )..................Whoever arrives at the junction first is the first to go, second is second and so on.
We have found that any 3 or 4 way stops and Robots (traffic lights ) are where most South Africans take risks and you should be extra careful when approaching and driving through these road junctions. You will also find many locals selling their ware's at these junctions. Furthermore, always be mindful of 'Car - Jacking' in particular at Robots at night. Also, It is not unusual for people to drive through a Red light at night if they see no other vehicles at that junction..........even more reason to be careful at any road junction.
Speed limits on motorways and some dual carrigeways is 120 km/h - Depending on the location of other roads there are different speed zones ranging from 100km/h to 70km/h and in built up areas the speed zone is 60km/h. There are Traffic Cameras,fixed and mobile, everywhere, many I have not spotted !!! Speeding fines from 1st October 2007 can range from R250 to R2500. For excessive speed you will have to go to court. There is no points on your licence system in South Africa. For a breakdown of the new, substantially more, speeding fines, with effect from 1st October 2007 please see the category below.
Stop, 2 Way, 3 Way, Four Way Stop = Road Junctions
Robots = Traffic Lights - sequence is Red straight to Green... then Green , Amber , Red.
Circle = Roundabout
Wag = Wait
Uitgang = Exit
Gevaarlik = Danger
Bakkie = Pick Up Truck
Lughawe = Airport
Stad = City
Please click HERE For a link to the road traffic signage of South Africa.
NOTE - If you have a car accident you are required to complete an accident form at the nearest Police Station to the accident ( If Possible ) You will then be given a case number which will be required when you complete your Insurance claim form.
NEVER LEAVE ANYTHING ON VIEW IN YOUR CAR WHEN PARKED UP.
NOTE --- A really informative website which covers almost all aspects of driving is - www.arivealive.co.za
IT IS A LEGAL REQUIREMENT THAT YOU HAVE YOUR DRIVING LICENCE WITH YOU AT ALL TIMES
NOT PRODUCING YOUR DRIVING LICENCE "ON DEMAND" CAN RESULT IN SOME HARSH PENALTIES
For visitors driving in South Africa you MUST have a VALID driving licence, WITH PHOTO. The UK Pink Photocard Licence is ideal. ( If you have the old Green Paper Licence you would do well to get it changed to the Pink Photocard. ) If that is not possible you should look to obtaining an International Driving Licence, available from the AA in the UK.
South African Law states ANY International Driving Licence issued MUST be in English.
For OVERSEAS VISITORS OR TEMPORARY RESIDENTS a valid UK Pink Photocard licence is accepted by the Traffic Department / Police, most Car Rental and Insurance companies for the temporary period you are in South Africa. However, recently we have heard of instances whereby the Police have requested an International Driving Licence in addition to your UK Pink Photocard Licence This issue has been mainly raised when driving for business purposes. You should check with your employer and your/their insurance comapny for clarification on what they require. This is because not all Police areas are familiar with the legalities of the driving licence laws relating to overseas visitors / temporary residents.
It is the PHOTOGRAPH on the VALID driving licence that is the key thing.
For PERMANENT RESIDENTS a valid UK Pink Photocard licence is again accepted by the Traffic Department / Police and most Insurance companies. However, your UK licence ONLY REMAINS VALID for a period of 12 months following the approval and issue date of your Permanent Residents Certificate and ID document. Thereafter you MUST exchange your UK licence for a South African one ,or if you want to retain your UK licence you can take a SA driving test to obtain a SA driving licence. Driving tuition centres are in most districts and can be found in the local telephone directory.
The SA driving licence has to be renewed every 5 years.
INSTRUCTIONS: APPLYING FOR A DRIVING LICENCE
You are required to have your driving licence on you whenever you are driving a vehicle. Only people over the age of 18 can apply for a driving licence. However, you can apply for a licence to drive a motor cycle (up to 125 CC) if you are over the age of 16.
When applying for the licence you will have your fingerprints taken. You will also need to bring:
completed form DL1
any existing driving licences
four identical black and white photographs of yourself
the required fee
Your application will specify which type of vehicle you would like to drive (motor cycle, car, minibus etc.).
Once you have applied for the licence and have passed the eye test, a date will be set for your driving test.
The driving test uses the K53 method and the driving examiner will ensure that you:
have a valid learner's licence
know and understand the road traffic signs
have a sound knowledge of the rules of the road and the different signals which a driver of a vehicle is required to give when driving on a public road
are generally capable of driving the type of vehicle specified on the application
Study materials are available to help you prepare for your driver's test and many people employ the services of a driving instructor.
Once you have passed the driveing test, you will be issued with a temporary driving licence while your credit card format driving licence is prepared.
Once the credit card format licence is ready for collection, you will be notified in the post. When you collect the licence, you need to produce your ID. Licences that are not collected in 120 days are destroyed.
If another person is to collect the driving licence, the person collecting the licence will need to have:
a certified copy of their identity document
a certified copy of the driver's identity document
an affidavit stating why the driver cannot collect the licence themselves which also states the name and ID number of the person collecting the licence.
There is a R120 fee to book a driving test. Once you have passed the driving test, you will be required to pay R100 for your licence.
RENEWING YOUR DRIVING LICENCE
Your credit card driving licence is only valid for five years and needs to be renewed after this time. The expiry date appears on your licence. You will also be sent a renewal notification in the post.
You can renew your licence at any time before your licence expires. The new licence will be valid for five years from the date of the renewal.
To renew your licence, you need to complete the application form at your nearest Driving Licence Testing Centre. You will also need:
your current driving licence
two black and white ID photographs if you're renewing your licence before the expiry date of your current licence or four photographs if you're renewing your licence after the expiry date
Before your licence can be renewed, you will need to have your fingerprints taken and you will have to undergo an eye test. If your sight has deteriorated since your licence was issued, new restrictions may be attached to your licence. For example, you may be required to wear glasses when driving. Should you fail the eye test completely, your driving licence will not be renewed.
You are not required to undergo the driving examination again.
South Africans who are overseas at the time that their driving licences expire can only renew their licences when they return to the country. At present there are no penalties for late renewal. However, once penalties are introduced, people who have been unable to renew their licences will be able to apply for exemptions from these penalties.
If your licence has already expired when you go to renew it, you will have to get a temporary licence while you wait for the credit card licence to be issued. In this case you will need an extra two black and white photographs.
There is R100 licence renewal fee. There is also a fee of R40 if you require a temporary licence.
REPLACING YOUR DRIVING LICENCE
If your driving licence is lost, stolen or destroyed, you can apply for a replacement licence.
Theft or loss of a driving licence must be reported to the Police, who would need an affidavit. You will need a case number (CAS no), and the name of the Police Station where you reported the theft/loss when you complete Part C of form DL1: Application for Driving Licence.
You will be issued a temporary permit which is valid for six months or until the replacement driving licence is issued, whichever occurs first.
To apply for a replacement licence, you need to complete form TDL at any driving licence testing centre.
You must provide:
four black and white photographs.
The temporary permit costs R40, while the fee for a replacement licence is R100.
For more information contact:
Law Administration Helpdesk
021 483 2080 / 2078 / 2469
PROVIDED AT: These facility categories:
Driving Licence Testing Centres
ALL INFORMATION PROVIDED BY:
GOVERNMENT BODY: Roads Infrastructure Branch (Department of Transport and Public Works, Provincial Government of the Western Cape)
PRICE: An appointment for a driving test costs R120.
A driving licence costs R100 for the first licence and each time you renew or replace the licence.
A temporary driving licence costs R40
AUTOMOBILE ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
Website - www.aa.co.za
PERMANENT RESIDENTS - IMPORTANT NOTES - :
You can apply to exchange your valid UK Driving Licence at most Traffic Departments in and around Cape Town or you can visit the main Traffic Department in Somerset Street, Cape Town. With your application you MUST have FOUR photographs (passport size,ideally in black & white ) and a letter from the British Consulate validating your current UK licence, which currently costs R519 each as at April 2009. As you also have to have an eye test, the Traffic Department will do the eye test at time of application/exchange. You may wish to have an eye test certified by your local optician,although this certification only lasts for two months.Your fingerprints are taken by theTraffic Department at time of application / exchange. Exchange currently costs R100 as at July 2009.
FINALLY, IF YOU DO NOT COMPLY WITH THE SOUTH AFRICAN DRIVING LICENCE REQUIREMENTS YOUR INSURANCE MAY BE INVALID.
IF YOU REQUIRE FURTHER CLARIFICATION PLEASE REFER TO YOUR LOCAL TRAFFIC DEPARTMENT OR DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORT
PAYING FOR PETROL
Please note that all petrol stations in the Cape Town area are all the same price for fuel. You can only pay for fuel on a DEBIT CARD or CASH
With effect from July 2009 legislation now allows petrol stations to accept credit cards. PLEASE NOTE, There will be many Petrol staions that WILL NOT take up this initiative in light of the % levies charged by the fuel companies.