The scary advice for driving on South Africa’s roads – from the UK government

As part of its foreign advisory services, the UK government provides safety and security advice to its citizens who are planning to travel to South Africa.

In recent months this has included new warnings about potential terror activities in the country, as well as an increase in kidnappings.

It also takes into account the bomb threats made against shopping malls and other public places in KZN as well as ongoing tensions between Uber and metered taxi drivers.

In addition to these specific issues, the advisory also provides more general advice including information on South Africa’s high level of crime, the issues surrounding Cape Town’s water scarcity and where you can expect to receive mobile reception.


One area that stands out is the advice surrounding road travel in South Africa.

According to the advisory, the standard of driving in South Africa can ‘vary greatly’ and there are many fatal accidents every year.

“On highways, overtaking can occur in any lane including the hard shoulder,” it states.

“On single-lane roads, the hard shoulder is also sometimes used by trucks and slower vehicles to allow faster vehicles to overtake.

“At quieter intersections, first vehicle to arrive sometimes has priority. On roundabouts, you should give way to the right, although this rule is often ignored.”

The advisory also warns travellers to drive cautiously, obey speed limits and avoid unfamiliar rural areas at night.

“Thieves have been known to employ various methods to make a vehicle stop (eg placing large stones in the middle of the road) enabling them to rob the occupants,” it states.

“Park in well-lit areas. Don’t pick up strangers or stop to help apparently distressed motorists, as this is a technique sometimes used by hijackers. It’s better to report any incident to the police.”

On a more positive note, the advisory stated that South Africa’s road standards are ‘mostly very good’, but that some roads in remote areas are less well maintained and may have potholes.

Watch: crash safety tests for 9 of South Africa’s most popular vehicles

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The scary advice for driving on South Africa’s roads – from the UK government