Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Egypt?
Cairo is one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world with more than 25 million inhabitants. Roads in the centre of the city can have up to 8 ‘lanes’, although the lack of actual marked lanes is what makes driving here quite difficult. Not only do you have to deal with unruly drivers but you can often see livestock and donkeys in the middle of the road. That said, driving in Egypt is an unforgettable experience. You may also prefer to be in control of your own trip as local taxi drivers take a lot of risks and most of their cars are very old with no working seatbelts. After travelling to Egypt, the sound that will stay with you is that of the car horn. Drivers use their horn constantly and often honk just to greet each other. Because of the chaotic traffic, traffic police are often found working at busy intersections.
Get out of the big cities like Cairo and Alexandria and you'll find driving is a much more pleasurable experience along the attractive country roads. Due to the heat, water should be carried with you at all times. You should also have anti-dehydration medication. If you get stuck in the sand don't spin the wheels as this will make a car sink deeper. You should avoid driving at night at all costs as there are many hazards in the form of pedestrians and carts.
Driving is on the right hand side of the road in Egypt. If you plan to rent a car then car rental agencies are located in all the central city locations as well as at most major hotels. You will definitely need a good map here, even locals get lost!
Seat Belt Laws
Wearing a seatbelt whilst the car engine is running is compulsory in Egypt. Many locals flout the rules but for safety and legality, please follow the law to the letter.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving law in Egypt states that there must be no more than 50mg per 100ml of blood in a driver's body. This is less than the UK and means that a single drink can take you over the limit. Bearing in mind the way that Egyptians drive without alcohol, it's best not to drink and drive in the country to preserve your safety.
Must Have Documents
You need your EU licence, both parts, and an international driving licence. If you intend to be in the country for more than six months you'll need to apply for a local licence too. It's helpful to be able to produce your vehicle registration and proof of insurance if you're stopped. Always carry a copy of your driving licence too.
50 kilometres per hour in town (It's unlikely you'll ever reach this speed)
90 kilometres per hour on motorways and extra-urban roads.
100 kilometres per hour on the desert highway between Cairo and Alexandria.
Minimum Driving Age
To rent a car in Egypt you need to be a minimum of 25 years old. You can drive your own car from age 18.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
The use of safety camera warning devices in Egypt is not illegal but we advise that it is better to stick to the speed limit and stay safe rather than try to dodge the cameras!
On the Spot Fines
Collection of on the spot fines in cash is illegal in Egypt although many traffic police units will try. If you feel you must hand over cash, always get a receipt written in English. Normally, you'll be given a ticket and told to pay it at a local police station or at a bank.
Child Safety Rules
Child safety laws are non-existent in Egypt and children are often not even belted in. If you hire a car in Egypt and are travelling with small children, advise us of your needs when you book and we'll make sure we fit the appropriate restraint system for them. If you drive your own car to Egypt, simply use the restraint system you would at home.
A minimum of third party insurance is required in Egypt although many drivers don't have this. You'll need to be able to show proof of the cover if stopped.
Rules of the Road
Cautious driving is recommended in Egypt but watch out for the following additional problems:
- Animals are often found on the roads including livestock and donkeys. As you'd imagine, most don't have
illumination making them difficult to see.
- Traffic lights are often inoperational so you need to exercise caution at junctions.
There are no specific laws for towing in Egypt. Given the dangerous nature of driving there, simply make sure that other drivers know what you are doing by using hazard lights and perhaps a sign indicating you're on tow.
There are an increasing number of speed cameras in Egypt, mainly mobile speed traps, and you'll be ticketed for breaking the law. The fine isn't a lot but increases for 'wealthy' foreign drivers and is inconvenient to pay, part of the deterrent.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
It's illegal to use a mobile phone whilst driving in Egypt unless you have a hands-free kit.
There seems to be no formal parking regulations in Egypt. Commonly, people leave the handbrakes off their cars on flat ground to allow others to push their cars to and fro to be able to park.
Paid parking consists of paying a local to find you a parking spot, some will even park the car for you before handing over the key – anything to earn a tip!
Rarely will a car get towed and even then it has to be seriously obstructing a road or entrance.
Disabled parking is non-existent in Egypt and the best you'll manage is to rely on a kindly local to assist in return for a few coins. Most parking is ad hoc and if you find a space that is convenient and close to where you want to go, most would just park there.
Motor Way Signs
Expect the same motorway signs that you would see in Europe. They'll have a green background.
Peace be with you - Salaam alekum
Thank you – Shokran
No thank you – La Shokran
How much is this? - Da bkam
90 octane super fuel - Tisa'iin
Regular fuel - Tamaniin
Traffic lights follow the worldwide standard of operation but you'll find that many are broken. Even where lights are working you'll find that drivers regularly jump red lights so take extra care at all junctions.
The Cairo-Alexandria Road is a toll road and there are a handful of other toll roads in the country. You'll be given plenty of warning that you're approaching a toll road and also shown a way around it if you need to.
The emergency number is 112 for all emergency services and 126 for the tourist police.
British Embassy, 7 Ahmed Ragheb Street, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt,
Tel: (002) (02) 2791-6000
Embassy of the U.S. of America, 5 Tawfik Diab Street, Garden City, Cairo, Egypt
Tel:   2797-3300
What to do in an emergency
You can quite easily find yourself caught up in an emergency or an accident in Egypt as the driving there is so erratic. If you are unfortunate enough to find yourself in such a situation, call the emergency services and await their arrival. Take photographs of the scene and details of witnesses and avoid signing anything that is not in your language as this is a common ruse to get foreign drivers to admit responsibility. Ask for a report in your language for your insurers or the hire car company.
Fuel stations can be few and far between outside of the cities so always fill up your tank where possible and if going on a long journey, take a can of fuel too.
As of June 2014, the price of 95 octane unleaded is 16p a litre and around a penny or two dearer for diesel.
||Cairo doesn't even have 25 million inhabitants.
|Thank you interesting blog but as I travel outside of the two cities mentioned I was looking for road signs and translation. As there are many
|Just a small note, 'How much is this?' Is 'Da bkam (kam as in camera)' or 'Bkam da'. 'Da ghali awi' translates to 'This is too expensive'.