Guide to Driving In Syria - Drive Safe in Syria

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

Currently it's not recommended to travel to or drive around Syria which is a huge pity as it has some amazing archaeological sites from the time of the bible and before. 

When the situation returns to normal, you'll find it a fascinating country to explore with friendly people. 
 

Driving Laws

Seat Belt Laws

By law it’s only the passengers of hire cars that need to wear seat belts. If you’re in a local car that has belts, we highly recommend that you use them.

Drinking and Driving

In Syria, there is zero tolerance of alcohol in the blood whilst driving as it is a strictly Muslim country. If you are caught with any alcohol in your bloodstream you can face a large fine, imprisonment and expulsion from the country.

Must Have Documents

You will need to have your driving licence and an international driving licence as well as the vehicle registration documents, car hire documents and a valid certificate of insurance with a minimum of third party cover. 

Speed Limits

The speed limits for Syria are as follows:
 
Open roads:   100 km/h
In Town:        40 km/h 

Minimum Driving Age

You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Syria. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 21 and if you’re under 25 years old, a premium for being an inexperienced driver may apply. You must also have held your licence for between a year and three years depending on the car hire company.

Safety Camera Warning Devices

You are allowed to use safety camera detection equipment in Syria but we do not recommend it. Local driving skills are such that keeping within the speed limit at all times is highly recommended.

On the Spot Fines

Currently, many parts of the country are anarchic and you may be stopped for no particular reason and asked to pay a fine in cash. In the government held areas this is less common and by law you should be issued with a fine notice detailing the offence and the fine to be paid.

Child Safety Rules

No children under 12 are allowed to travel in the front of a vehicle despite the fact you’ll see many sat on the driver’s lap! There are no regulations for appropriate seating but if you are hiring a car from us, let us know the age of the children travelling with you and we’ll ensure appropriate seating is fitted in readiness for your arrival.

Insurance

A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Syria and you must be able to prove it with a valid certificate.

Rules of the Road

Standard international driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
 
In Syria, cars travel on the right hand side of the road
You must not overtake on a bend, in a tunnel, on crossroads or uphill
It’s illegal to play loud music in a residential area
You must use signals when turning
It’s illegal to throw rubbish from a car
You must have a first aid kit and a fire extinguisher in the car
Avoid driving at night 
You must not carry anything that is longer or wider than the vehicle
Licence plates must be legible at all times

Towing Regulations

There are no towing regulations in Syria but if you transport anything it must not be longer or wider than the vehicle.

Speed Cameras

Fixed speed cameras haven’t made it to Syria yet but hand held speed cameras are often used in roadside speed checks. Getting caught by one means you’ll be given a ticket detailing the fine you’ll have to pay and where and when to pay it. In unsettled times, you may find that police will ask for cash on the spot and, whilst this is illegal, you should weigh up the situation before making a stand. 

Using Mobile Phones when driving

Using a mobile phone without a hands-free kit is illegal in Syria.

Parking

Parking regulations
 
Parking in the major towns and cities can be very difficult and it’s worth seeking out paid parking for safety and convenience.
 
Paid parking
 
In the big cities you’ll find paid parking, especially where some entrepreneur has opened their land for parking. Before the civil war there were parking lots and some parking garages but now people tend to park where they want as there are more pressing things to think about than a legal parking space.
 
Enforcement
 
So many people use the free roadside parking that enforcement of parking is considered unnecessary in general. The only time you’ll encounter it is when an obstruction is caused.
 
Disabled parking
 
There are no concessions for disabled drivers in Syria despite the thousands injured in the civil war. In many situations there doesn’t need to be because parking is ad hoc. In the bigger cities where parking is at a premium, you’ll find more difficulty getting a convenient space but enlist the help of a local and things get easier.

Motor Way Signs

Syria has four motorways, all of them in the west of the country. Signage on them is green with white writing.

Phrases

Hello/Welcome - Marhuba
Goodbye - Ma’assalaama
Thank you - Shukran
Yes - Na’am
No - La’
Sorry - Muta’assif
Do you speak English? -  Tatakullum ingleezi?
I don’t understand - Ana maa afham
How much is that? - Bekam?
Where’s the nearest doctor? - Wayn aghrab tabeeb

Traffic Lights

Traffic lights in Syria are only common in the main cities and bigger towns. They follow the sequencing laid down in the Vienna Convention and will be familiar to almost all drivers. 

Toll Roads

There are no toll roads in Syria 

Emergency

The emergency number in Syria is 112 for the police, medical services or fire.

What to do in an emergency

If you’re in a hire car in Syria and encounter a mechanical problem you’ll need to call the emergency number given to you by the local agent which will be on your documentation or inside the windscreen of the car. If you’re driving your own vehicle, you should ensure you have the phone number with you of a local mechanic who is prepared to come to your aid.
 
In the event of an accident you needn’t call the emergency services if the damage is light and no one is hurt. If there are injuries, call the emergency services on 112 and await their arrival. You should not move the vehicles if they aren’t causing a danger to others. If you must move them, photograph the scene and collect witness statements whilst waiting for the police to arrive.  

Fuel Costs

As of December 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Syria is 52p whilst diesel is 46p. Prices can vary between the cities, towns and the smaller villages.
 

Comments

Michelle
There's this man i met online thats says its not safe to to drive in syria, is that true?, He's a doctor for the army over there in a camp, and he told me to be able to leave the camp he would have to pay to have a helicopter take him to the airport . Is that true?
1/28/2017 12:34:22 AM

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Hiring a Car

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