1. Always have your valid national drivers’ license on hand. Any traffic officer will expect to see it if you are stopped. We also recommend that you carry an International Drivers’ Permit- printed in English!
2. Remember the differences in rules of the road. Our cars are right- hand drive, and we drive on the left side of the road! Also, keep in mind that all distances and speed limits are in Kilometres!
3. Learn the lingo! South African’s have their own unique language that may confuse you. These are the big ones- a robot is a traffic light, and a circle is a roundabout!
4. When driving in cities, keep your doors locked at all times! It’s also a good idea to keep your windows rolled up, especially at the robots! Hijackings are common all over South Africa.
5. Do not leave anything valuable on the seats or in plain sight. This does not only apply to when the car is parked. Keep your bags under the seats, smash and grabs are a common occurrence at the robots.
6. Never stop your car when driving at night! South African thieves have developed a whole host of way to get cars to stop at night, where they are then hijacked. This can include putting boxes of rocks to sharp objects in the road. Never stop the car, keep driving until you are home, or in a busy area.
7. Do not confront aggressive or abusive drivers! It’s common knowledge in South Africa that all mini bus taxi drivers have shocking driving skills, and don’t follow the rules. Remain calm and do not confront them. Which brings us to the next tip:
8. Always maintain a safe following distance. Taxi’s often jump robots, cut into lanes, and make sudden stops on the side of the road. Remain a safe following distance wherever possible!