Guide to Driving In South Korea - Drive Safe in South Korea

Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in South Korea?

Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

All passengers must wear a seat belt. It is possible to be fined W30,000 if you fail to comply with this. 

Drinking and Driving

It is against the law to drink and drive in South Korea and it is a serious offence. The permissible amount is no more than 0.05% blood alcohol level. 

Must Have Documents

The following documents should be carried with you at all times when driving in South Korea:
  • A valid driving licence
  • A valid IDP (International driving permit)
It is also advised to carry with you:
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of ID such as a passport
  • A V5C certificate

Speed Limits

Speed Limit Type of Road
60km/h Normal Roads
80km/h Roads over 5 lanes
30-90km/h Motorways
50-100km/h Highways (4 lanes)
40-80km/h Highways (2 lanes)

Minimum Driving Age

The minimum age for driving in South Korea is 18 years of age for cars. You can be 16 years of age to drive a motorcycle. 

Safety Camera Warning Devices

On the Spot Fines

Fines can be awarded for:
 
  • Speeding
  • Signal violation
  • Using a mobile phone
  • Using a bus lane

Child Safety Rules

The law requires that children under the age of 6 use a car seat. However many Koreans let their children sit in a car without a car seat. 

Insurance

It is advisable to carry all of the correct car insurance documents with you when driving in South Korea. 

Rules of the Road

  • Drivers drive on the right hand side of the road
  • Bus lanes can be identified by painted blue lines
  • Left turns are only generally allowed if there is a left arrow signal. 
  • A right turn is sometimes allowed on a red light

Towing Regulations

Speed Cameras

There are surveillance cameras everywhere in South Korea. These will record you if you break speed limits. Be especially careful not to break speed limits as many of the cameras work on an average speed limit over a certain stretch of road. 

Using Mobile Phones when driving

Using a phone whilst driving in South Korea is illegal. It is ok to use a hands-free set. Fines can be issued for failure to comply. 

Parking

Large car parks are available for parking in. Avoid parking anywhere that is not clearly marked for that purpose, as fines can be awarded for parking violations. 

Motor Way Signs

Road signs are written in both Korean and English and are fairly easy to understand.

Phrases

Driving phrase in English Driving Phrase in Korean
Thank you 고맙습니다
Excuse me (to get attention) 저기요
That's ok 괜찮아요

Traffic Lights

Generally speaking the traffic light rules are the same as in the UK, however some drivers can treat the red- light as more of a suggestion than a rule. 

Toll Roads

There are toll roads on South Korea’s motorways. These can be paid for with cash or card. The Hi-Pass system allows you to automatically drive through the toll area without stopping. The fee charged would depend on the type of road you have used, the type of vehicle and the distance travelled. 

Emergency

What to do in an emergency

In an emergency, try to remove the car from any major roads or highways and contact the police straight away. You should not leave the scene of an accident until the police have arrived. 

Fuel Costs

Fuel is readily available around the major cities in South Korea. 

Comments

Leave your comments here

 Security code
Click here to enter an extra message...

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in South Korea and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.