Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Algeria?
Some areas of the country are subject to attacks by militants and kidnappings of westerners is not unheard of.
There are political tensions and travellers should check with the FCO website before travelling
It's a big country and sparsely inhabited in the south, mobile phone communication isn't widespread and you should prepare carefully before heading into Saharan Algeria
Seat Belt Laws
Seat belt laws require everyone in a moving vehicle to wear belts. You will be fined for not complying with the law.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Algeria effectively allow for no alcohol in the bloodstream. The official limit is 10mg per 100ml of breath but this allows only for alcohol found in medicines. As a Muslim country, you will find it almost impossible to buy alcohol anyway.
Must Have Documents
You will need an international driving licence as well as a valid motor insurance certificate proving you have purchased insurance in Algeria. It is useful to also carry proof of ownership as well as a copy of your passport.
The speed limits for Algeria are as follows:
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Motorways: 110 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 17 to be able to drive in Algeria. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 and you’ll need to have at least a year’s experience of driving. Under 25 and you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age. If you have just passed your test you’ll find you cannot drive more than 80km/h, even on motorways.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are illegal in Algeria but given the trickiness of some of the roads, we’d recommend that you simply stick to the limit for your safety and that of others.
On the Spot Fines
There are no on the spot fines in Algeria. If you are stopped by the police, it’s likely that the fine will go into the pocket of the police officer. You should ask for a ticket detailing the offence and the fine but this is often not forthcoming and can agitate the police so err on the side of caution, paying a reasonable ‘fine’ if asked.
Child Safety Rules
In Algeria, no child under the age of ten can travel in the front of a car. Instead, they must be secured using an age and size appropriate restraint in the rear of the car. Ask when booking your hire car and we will supply the appropriate restraint for your family.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Algeria and you must have bought it within Algeria itself.
Rules of the Road
Standard driving laws apply with many exceptions:
• Pedestrians always have right of way
• You must have matching tyres
• It’s recommended to have a fire extinguisher, a reflective jacket and a warning triangle in case of emergency
• Blacked out windows are illegal
• You may need a permit to drive in some areas
• It’s illegal to drive alone in the desert
As long as the towed vehicle is securely attached and you have good visibility, there are no other regulations.
There are no fixed speed cameras in Algeria but regular mobile traps catch out unsuspecting drivers.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving even if you have a hands free kit.
Free parking is available everywhere in Algeria except in the central business districts of the major cities. Most parking is simply a case of finding a space and leaving the car there but in the cities you may be safer parking in recognised parking spaces or in an attended lot or garage.
Paid parking, where necessary tends to be in malls, municipal garages or in parking lots and tends to be safer for you and your car.
Enforcement of parking laws is rarely done and it’s only if you are obstructing that you’re likely to be ticketed and towed.
Algeria does not have any special arrangements for disabled drivers but by explaining your difficulty to a parking attendant, you should get some assistance.
Motor Way Signs
There are several motorways in Algeria and all have blue signs with white writing in Arabic and French.
Driving licence- Permis de Conduite
Insurance certificate – Carte Verte
Services (rest stops) - Aire de repos
Bailiff (for accidents) - Huissier
Pay-and-display machine – Horodateur
End of no parking zone - Fin d'interdiction de stationer
Beware roadworks - Attention travaux
Petrol - Essence
Unleaded - Sans plomb
Diesel – Gazole
Town centre – Centre Ville
I have broken down - J'ai décomposé
Where is the police station? - Où est le poste de police?
I have a flat tyre - J'ai un pneu à plat
I have been in an accident - J'ai été dans un accident
Where is? - Où est?
Where can I buy petrol? – Où puis-je acheter de l'essence?
No pedestrians - Interdit aux pietons
Exit – Sortie
One lane road - Voie unique
Turn on your lights - Allumez vos feux (lanterns)
Closed - Ferme
In Algeria traffic lights follow the European sequencing program and are easily mastered by travellers. They are almost exclusively found in the cities and major towns. You cannot turn right on a red light unless an arrow indicates so.
There are currently no toll roads in Algeria.
The emergency number in Algeria is 17 from a landline for the police, 14 for an ambulance and fire service. From a mobile all can be called by dialling 112.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a mechanical problem with your car you should phone the number given to on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If you are driving your own vehicle, use your emergency assistance company's partner in Algeria but remember to take their number before you leave home.
In the event of an accident you must stop and call the police. Wait for them to arrive and in the meantime, take photographs of the scene. You will need to keep your cool for everyone on hand joins in the commotion. Get a report from the police for your insurers or car hire company.
As of August 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Algeria is 16p whilst diesel is 14p. Prices can vary between the cities and the smaller villages.