Vehicle Hire Road Safety Tips
South Africa Car hire is one of the best ways to get around South Africa. It gives you the freedom to travel wherever you want and it means that you don’t have to rely on the public transport system which can be very unreliable.
If you are going to hire a car to travel around South Africa make sure you follow these simple car rental tips. Always make sure you book your car well in advance to avoid disappointment. It is also a good idea to confirm your booking a few days before departure. This gives you the opportunity to inquire about possible free upgrades or discounted rates. Consider how long you will be hiring the car for. Sometimes weekly rates are much cheaper than daily rates. If you are hiring a car for more than five days make sure to do a comparison.
Think about who will be driving. South Africa is very spread out and if you are going to be travelling long distances it might be worth adding another driver onto your rental agreement to share the driving with you. Think about the type of car you need. In South Africa a lot of cars are manual gear shifts, not automatic, make sure everyone who is planning to drive it can. Also take into consideration that South Africa has a fairly warm and sunny climate, consider whether you will need an air conditioner.
You should also keep in mind what extras you will need such as car seats or roof racks. It can be difficult finding your way around South Africa. If you plan to drive around a lot it might be advisable to see if you can get a GPS included in your car rental agreement. Keep in mind that you will have to pay for your petrol and this must be factored into the cost of the car hire. Petrol in South Africa can be expensive compared to other countries and if you want to save money why not hire a more fuel efficient car. If you hire a car and it comes with a full tank of petrol make sure you return it with a full tank of petrol to avoid additional charges.
Always make sure you have the correct insurance. In South Africa you should check with the car rental company or your personal insurance agent to make sure you are covered not just for accidents or breakdowns but also for break-ins or theft of your hire car. Make sure you know the South African rules of the road. In South Africa you drive on the left and all cars including South Africa car rental cars are right hand drive. The general rule is ‘keep left, pass right’. Speed limits are denoted in km/h and should be kept to at all times. When driving, everyone in the car must be wearing a seatbelt at all times. It is illegal to drive while talking on a cell phone unless you are using a hands free kit, so enjoy your South Africa Car hire experience.
Despite what the newspapers tell you South Africa is no more dangerous than any other popular tourist destination. Car hire in South Africa is as safe and reliable as any other destination. It does though, like every other popular tourist destination, have it share of opportunistic criminals and it pays to be careful. This does not mean however that you need either avoid certain areas or stick exclusively to organised package tours. Tour operators will stick to the safer tourist routes in interest of your safety and their own this will however lead to you missing out on some of the hidden gems in South Africa’s rich tourism treasure chest. To get the most from your holiday we recommend you follow our safety tip and use Car hire in South Africa.
First off the basic things to know when you hire a car in South Africa, car hire is easily accessible in all international airports upon your arrival and most should offer the facility for you to pick up your rental car at one major centre in South Africa and then drop it off again at another, should you choose to indulge in a one way road trip.
In South Africa we drive on the left hand side of the road in right hand drive cars and the speed limit and distances are sign posted in kilometres. Most suburban roads have a speed limit of 60 while the inter-city freeways have speed limits of 120 km/h. This can change though so keep an eye out for the signs. There are three different types of octane petrol as well as diesel available at petrol stations in South Africa. Car hire agents will tell you what type of petrol your car will take and be able to update you on the current petrol price.
Although South Africa is no less safe than other destinations it always pays to be prepared and to remain vigilant, there are currently a large number of hijackings occurring at traffic lights at night in South Africa, a hire car will no doubt come with insurance but your life may not. When approaching traffic lights keep an eye out for sinister looking characters, approach the intersection slowly and leave enough space between yourself and the car in front of you in case you need to pull away. Don’t be afraid to run a red light a fine is a small price to pay for your personal safety.
Don’t leave any valuable visible on the passenger or back seats of the car, even when in the car and driving. There are a high number of smash and grab incidents when cars are sitting in traffic. The best way to avoid these is to not invite opportunistic thieves, leave wallets and camera in the glove compartment or under the seat out of site, wrap the strap of the handbag around the gear lever or hand break.
Following these simple guidelines, most of which are common sense, will help you to make the most of your holiday in South Africa. Car hire is without doubt the first choice for people that want the freedom to enjoy their holiday at the own pace.