Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Indonesia?
Indonesia is a huge and highly populated country spread over three time zones. It comprises of five major islands or parts of islands and thousands of smaller ones. In the big cities, driving is almost impossible due to the congestion but out of them, driving can be a great way to see the amazing natural beauty of islands such as Java and Sumatra.
Seat Belt Laws
The law in Indonesia states that only the driver and the front seat passenger needs to wear a seat belt but for everyone’s safety, all occupants of a moving car should wear one where fitted.
Drinking and Driving
As a strictly Muslim country there is zero tolerance of alcohol in a driver’s bloodstream. If you are caught drinking and driving, the penalties are severe and can include corporal punishment, jail and extradition.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have both parts of your driving licence; paper and card and an international driving licence when driving in Indonesia. You’ll also need the registration document and proof of insurance.
The speed limits for Indonesia are as follows:
Open roads: 80 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Highways 100 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 17 to be able to drive in Indonesia but if you’re hiring a car you must be at least 23 and have a year of driving experience behind you.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are not illegal in Indonesia but we would recommend that you don’t use them and instead focus on sticking to the speed limit.
On the Spot Fines
If you are stopped by the police and charged with a minor motoring offence you will be issued with a ticket detailing the offence and the fine that you have to pay. If it is a major traffic offence such as drink driving or reckless driving you can be arrested and taken to a police station.
Child Safety Rules
In Indonesia, there are no laws stating the requirements for special child seats in cars. It is up to the adults in the car to ensure the child’s safety. If you rent a car for travelling with children simply tell the car hire company their ages and heights and they’ll arrange for suitable seats to be fitted prior to you collecting the car.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Indonesia and you must carry proof of it by way of a valid certificate.
Rules of the Road
Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• You must drive on the left in Indonesia
• You need to ensure you have a warning triangle, fluorescent safety jacket, first aid kit and fire extinguisher in your car.
• It’s also useful to carry a spare set of bulbs
• Many drivers use the hard shoulders for passing on the inside
There are no specific regulations for towing, just ensure the vehicle is securely attached and that you have good visibility.
There are a few fixed speed cameras in Indonesia but the police tend to favour hand held devices. If you are caught by one of these, you will be stopped a little further down the road and given a ticket and fine.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
You can only use a mobile phone whilst driving in Indonesia if it has a hands free kit.
Cities and major towns in Indonesia are packed with cars and people meaning that getting parking near where you are going can be an impossibility.
In the main cities you’ll find metered bays along the sides of main roads close to the centre of the cities and many parking garages which are usually underground because of the requirement to maximise space. These are usually attended and much safer than on street parking.
If you park illegally or inconsiderately, you will be issued with a ticket by the local police and have to pay it in the same manner you would a standard minor motoring offence.
Indonesia’s stance on disabled people is slowly changing and you may be surprised to see special bays for disabled drivers. They are not commonplace but if you can’t find one, head for the nearest attended parking garage and ask for a more convenient space.
Motor Way Signs
The only motorways in Indonesia are on Java and include the Trans-Java highway currently under construction. On these roads you’ll find green signs with white writing.
I have broken down - Saya telah dirobohkan
Where is the police station? - Dimanakah kantor polisi?
I have a flat tyre - Saya memiliki ban kempes
I have been in an accident - Saya telah dalam kecelakaan
Where is? - Dimana?
Where can I buy petrol? - Dimana saya bisa membeli bensin?
Traffic lights in Indonesia follow the international sequence system but many road junctions are congested with traffic meaning that right of way and access to the junction is unclear. Many Indonesian drivers also jump the red lights. Take extreme care!
There are toll roads in Indonesia, mainly around the big cities to reduce congestion. Toll charges are low and it’s as well to use the roads as they will save you hours of frustrating driving time.
The emergency numbers in Indonesia are 101 for the fire service, 102 for the police and 103 for the ambulance.
What to do in an emergency
If you suffer mechanical problems, call the number given to you by your car hire representative which is on the documentation. If it is a private car you’re driving, make sure you take the number of a reputable emergency assistance company with you before you set off.
In the event of an accident you must stop, even if there is only minor damage and no injuries. The police must be called and you will need to keep a copy of their report for your insurers or car hire company. Accidents are very common so avoid crowded areas where possible and if involved in one, take photos of the scene just in case the other party decides to leave!
As of November 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Indonesia is 35p whilst diesel is 31p. Prices can vary between the cities and towns and the smaller villages.