Quick Tips for Drivers On The Road
- Get clear directions and/or use a map to plan your route before you set out in your rental car. Ask the car rental representative or hotel concierge for step by step directions.
- If you get lost, do not panic. Go to the nearest public place to read your map or ask for directions.
- Do not leave your car running unattended, not even to get a quick cup of coffee.
- If your rental car contains an anti-theft device, activate it.
- When parking: lock the doors, close the windows and keep the keys with you at all times.
- Avoid leaving an extra set of keys in a “secret” hiding place. You will never fool a car thief.
- Whenever traveling or leaving the vehicle parked, never leave important and valuable belongings visible. Put your suitcase in the trunk so the car looks empty when people pass.
- While driving, if you are bumped from behind or flashed by headlights, or see someone who indicates they need help, do not stop! Drive to the nearest, well-lighted public area.
- If someone suspicious approaches your vehicle while stopped at a traffic light or sign, blow the horn.
- Always park in well-lighted areas and check the interior of the vehicle and surrounding areas before getting in or out the car.
- Always take your parking ticket with you. Leaving it in the car allows the thief to exit the parking lot.
- If your car gets damaged or is involved in an accident, report this immediately to the police and the car rental company. You will need an accident report for the insurance company.
- If the accident occurred while you were driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the damage will not be covered by the insurance company and you will be responsible to pay for the entire amount of the repairs. Furthermore, you will be arrested, your driver‟s license will be taken away, and there will be some heavy penalties. Every state has its own sanctions.
- Gas Stations – Most cars use regular unleaded gasoline. In Uganda gas is sold in liters. Gas stations may be sparse in some areas most especially in the rural countryside. Always fill your tank in towns and make sure you always
have plenty of gas.
- Speed Limits – Do not exceed the maximum speed! The fines are high and the limits intensively checked. The speed limit in most highways is 55-65 miles per hour (about 95-110km/per hour); of course you must always observe the signs on the road indicating the local speed limit.
- Park only in authorized parking areas. Never park in a “Tow-Away-Zone” or handicapped area; you may receive a parking ticket and/or your car may be towed away.
Safely Drive Uganda
By East African standards, the road conditions throughout the country are good and ever improving as a result of major roadworks program being implemented. All the primary roads radiating out of Kampala to the North, East, South and West are asphalted. Driving around Kampala city streets one will notice a number of driving slip ups which make it very difficult for other motorists to drive safely and free of accidents however minor. Today even tourists can opt for Uganda self drive given that most roads are passable and well maintained.
Firstly, you must have the following documents when looking to driving in Uganda. This will make you have a soft and smooth drive while on the Ugandan roads. The vehicle registration book (a photocopy is acceptable, ensure it’s a recent one with the most recent vehicle license entry recorded at the back page), A minimum statutory Third Party Insurance Coverage Certificate, sticker and a driving license.
In order to drive safely in Uganda, you have to drive at a speed that allows comfortable traffic flow. It is not unusual to find someone driving at a speed of 20kph on a clear smooth road which has no pot holes and as a result ‘creating’ an unnecessary traffic jam. If the car is not faulty and there is space ahead of you, maintain a faster pace at about 50kph as long as there are no other reasons to do otherwise such as near a school or pedestrian crossing. If the car is faulty, please take it to the garage and have it fixed, no need to make other motorists share your problem.
Driving is on the left hand side in Uganda unlike in Rwanda and Burundi, they drive on the right hand side. If you are to pass a slower moving car, indicate to the right and the car in front will typically move in when possible. That way it is much easier for faster motorists who need to overtake from the right hand side to do so safely. It is not good driving practice to drive on a dual carriage alongside another car and at the same speed, it drags others behind who would want to overtake you are obstructing them and obstruction is a traffic offence.
If you are looking for parking, please do not involve the rest of the motorists in your plans by snailing up around a parking area as you look for parking. At least indicate that you intend to turn so that others can be patient with you. It is annoying to follow a driver who is assuming you know their intentions of turning. This gives rise to irate driving, reckless overtaking by an annoyed driver and so on.
In case you need to turn, indicate in about 10 meters before turning so that the driver behind you can be warned in good time and so that they too can manage their speed in consideration of the fact that you are slowing down. The indicator is just about the length of your finger away from the grip you have on the steering wheel and for nearly all vehicles, it just takes a flip! It is not uncommon for motorists to brake, indicate and turn abruptly after having maintained a speed of 60kph and above. Usually the result is that the motorist behind you rams into the tail end of your car simply because of your reckless driving.
More so, to drive safely in Uganda, Keep off the mobile phone. You cannot serve two masters at a time, you will lose concentration and you are bound to cause an accident. Remember it is a traffic offence to drive while talking on phone. If you have to, then use the hands-free facility on your phone. If you don’t have it pull over to the side and attend to your caller. Even if there is an emergency, please do not cause another one for more people.
Over speeding even on the highway is highly discouraged; maintain the stipulated speed limits which should allow safe driving.
Always tie the belts while driving. This is one of the disregarded guidelines by most Ugandan drivers yet it’s one of the least secure practices one can ever do. Belts are so critical particularly on roads which have bumps and uneven surfaces. Likewise, in case one gets an accident, the belt helps in lessening the harms to the people in the vehicle. It’s an offense if got by the traffic officers driving without tying the belts.
Have your Driving license up-dated
For any one before driving a car, he or she is supposed to have a substantial driving permit. This is the same case with Uganda and nobody is allowed to drive without having one. For travelers who may visit Uganda and wish to drive themselves, they are required to carry their driving licenses from their respective countries which can be used to get authorization from the Uganda traffic police to drive on Ugandan roads. In the event that one is discovered driving without a legitimate driving permit, he/she is fined or taken to court.
Know where you are going
This is critical particularly to first-time guests to Uganda. Because of the traffic jam in most urban spots in the country, it’s generally a best practice to know some different courses which can lead you to the same destination simply like one who has used the main road. This helps in saving time and fuel.
Know the street signs
This is so essential in light of the fact that a decent driver ought to dependably recognize what the street signs mean. They offer headings to the drivers furthermore empower them foresee what they should to expect ahead.
Keep an eye in the rear-view driving mirror and if necessary pull off the road in advance to let the closing loony pass. You have to know that most roads encounter a lot of traffic jam especially in the rash hours like morning and evening hours so balance your driving time to do away with this.
In town especially Kampala, you are just centimeters from other vehicles, traffic laws exist. Please be aware that on busy streets, people and Boda Boda come from any direction of the road. These can cause a big challenge to new drivers on the road. Therefore, keep enough distance.
Because most Ugandan roads are hilly, climbing lanes are often available and there are many large trucks and Lorries moving slowly. Use climbing lanes to pass trucks and slow-moving cars when going uphill. Likewise, if your car moves slowly than the traffic, move into the left lane to let traffic overtake. Once you pass another driver on highways, a flash of the hazard lights suffices as a thank you.
The number one rule is to avoid driving at night whenever possible. In Uganda, there are no street lights on highways and sometime visibility is poor with only head lamps. More so, some Uganda roads, including major highways have no fluorescent line markings, thus making driving after dark very difficult because it is difficult to see the road. Some places are not safe at night, with highway robbers and outside Kampala, there are lots of people walking and running on hard shoulders after dark.
The above practices are so vital and if used, then one should expect the best safe experience while driving in Uganda.