Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Morocco?
The standard of major roads in Morocco has rapidly improved over recent years.
Driving is on the right with overtaking on the left and you must give way to the right when you are approaching an intersection. Take special care as other drivers often try to overtake on junctions.
4x4 hire is often a good idea where roads are poor quality or if you're considering a trip up into the Atlas Mountains
You should avoid driving at night as many of the ‘obstacles’ on the road will not have lights and there are also mountain roads which do not have guard rails.
Seat Belt Laws
Everyone in the car whilst it is under way must wear seatbelts or face a fine.
Drinking and Driving
It is against the law to drink and drive in Morocco. Driving under the influence of any alcohol is illegal and you could risk a fine if you are caught. It is possible to be stopped and breathalysed while driving in Morocco, therefore the best advice is to completely avoid drinking alcohol if you are planning to drive.
Must Have Documents
You must have the following documents with you when driving in Morocco:
A full UK Driving Licence
An International Driving Permit
Proof of insurance (failure to produce this on request could result in a fine).
It is also recommended to have the vehicle registration document or hire contract and a copy of your passport with you at all times.
60 Kilometres per hour in urban areas
120 Kilometres per hour is the maximum speed limit on the motorway (highways).
Minimum Driving Age
The minimum age for driving in Morocco is 18 although hire car companies generally expect you to be 25 and with at least two years of driving experience. Below this you may have to pay extra.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
The use of radar detection equipment is not illegal in Morocco but given the state of many of the roads and the driving skills of the locals, it's recommended you put it away and stick to the speed limits.
On the Spot Fines
If you are stopped by the police for a minor motoring offence you'll be given a ticket indicating a fine to be paid and the details of how to pay it. If you commit a more serious offence, you are likely to be arrested and taken to a police station where you'll be given a court date.
Child Safety Rules
Child safety laws are lax in Morocco and the onus is on the parents rather than the law. If driving your own car, you'll have the necessary equipment but if hiring a car, tell us your requirements and we'll make sure the appropriate seating is fitted before you collect your vehicle.
Third party insurance is the minimum compulsory level in Morocco and it's useful to be able to prove you have it.
Showing proof of insurance is compulsory.
Rules of the Road
There are a few differences to driving in Morocco that you need to be aware of:
- Animals frequently share rural roads with cars so drive very carefully
- You'll find drivers regularly tailgate you so be careful on the brakes or you'll be hit
There are no specific laws for towing in Morocco but if you're going to, make sure the attachment is secure and that other drivers know what you are doing. Make sure too that your mirrors allow you to see what's behind you, especially as the Moroccan drivers are fond of tailgating.
Moroccan police are very fond of speed traps. There are many fixed cameras, notably along the toll roads and on good highways out of the main cities. Mobile speed traps are even more prevalent but often other drivers will warn you by flashing their lights
Using Mobile Phones when driving
Using a mobile phone without a hands free kit whilst driving in Morocco is illegal but many drivers still do it.
Parking in Morocco is almost like a game. Most people park where they like but parking attendants patrol many streets in the big cities looking out for cars they can ticket. There's no hard and fast rule as to why you'll be targeted so try to park where there is little room for misinterpretation of the situation.
There are few places that you have to pay for parking and they're generally in the cities. Parking costs are very low but you'll have the security of knowing an attendant will be near your car whilst you're away from it.
The parking attendants have the authority to ticket 'illegally' parked vehicles and eventually have them towed away. Police will occasionally get involved if they see a car parked which causes an obstruction.
There are no special dispensations for disabled drivers but if you need a spot with easier access, choose an attendant controlled parking area and ask for assistance – for a few coins, it's usually willingly given.
Motor Way Signs
Road signs are written in Arabic and French. Motorway signs care either in blue or green with white writing.
The following phrases are the romanization of Standard Arabic. You will find that conversations bewteen Moroccans take place in Moroccan Arabic but this is rarely written down.
Hello/Welcome - marhaban; ahlan wa-sahla
Please - min fadlik
Thanks - Shukran
Traffic lights are usually only found in the main towns and cities and follow the rules of European traffic light systems. You shouldn't turn on a red light, even if the locals do, unless there is a filter arrow.
There is an extensive system of toll roads in Morocco built and run by private enterprise. There are toll roads between the major cities of Casablanca, Rabat and Tangiers.
You can travel east to west and north to south through Morocco on a pay per use basis. Using a toll road in Morocco is inexpensive by European standards and is likely to mean that you get the joy of an open road.
The number for the police in the city is 19, the number for the police in the countryside is 177. Medical and fire services are both reachable by contacting 15.
The United States Embassy in Morocco is located at 2 Avenue de Mohamed El Fassi
Rabat and you can call (212) (537)-76-22-65. Their website is http://rabat.usembassy.gov/
The British High Commission in Morocco is located at 28 Avenue S.A.R. Sidi Mohammed, Soussi 10105 (BP 45) Rabat and you can call (212) (537)-63-33-33. Their website is http://ukinmorocco.fco.gov.uk/en/
What to do in an emergency
If there is damage to vehicles or other property or injuries then you must call the police. They will issue a police report which you'll need for your insurers or for the car hire company. Whilst waiting for the police, get witnesses details and take photographs of the scene as it's been known that Moroccan drivers at fault in accidents soon drive away if the police have been called.
As of June 2014, the price of unleaded 95 octane petrol in Morocco is 79p per litre with diesel around the same price.
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