Are there any special requirements for driving or hiring a car in Lebanon?
Parts of the country are too dangerous to visit so take local and FCO advice before visiting Lebanon. Beirut is a beauiful but damaged and chaotic city, allow plenty of time to get around it by car.
Seat Belt Laws
The wearing of seat belts in cars in which they are fitted is mandatory in Lebanon. You will be fined if caught not wearing one.
Drinking and Driving
The drink driving laws in Lebanon state that you must not drive whilst drunk although the law doesn’t define the amount of alcohol to be drunk. For your own safety and that of other road users, we do not recommend drinking any alcohol then driving, especially at night.
Must Have Documents
You will need to have both parts of your driving licence; paper and card and an international driver’s licence. It’s also compulsory to have other documents with you including your insurance documents, your registration document and a copy of your passport.
The speed limits for Lebanon are as follows:
Open roads: 100 km/h
In Town: 50 km/h
Minimum Driving Age
You have to be at least 18 to be able to drive in Lebanon. If you're renting a car the minimum age is 23 and you’ll need to have at least a year’s experience of driving. Under 25 and you’re likely to have to pay a premium for your lack of experience and age.
Safety Camera Warning Devices
Safety camera warning devices are legal in Lebanon but given the standard of driving and the number of accidents accredited to speed, we’d recommend that you simply stick to the limit for your safety and that of others.
On the Spot Fines
There are no on the spot fines as such in Lebanon, instead you will be given a ticket for the offence and where to pay the fine. Whilst corruption was once rife, traffic police are now much more honest.
Child Safety Rules
In Lebanon, no child under the age of twelve can travel in the front of a car. They should be secured in an age appropriate seat system in the rear but many Lebanese drivers ignore this. To keep your family safe if you’re hiring a car, ask when booking and we’ll ensure the correct seats are fitted, ready for when you arrive.
A minimum of third party insurance is compulsory in Lebanon and you should carry proof of it by way of a valid certificate kept in your car.
Rules of the Road
Standard driving laws apply with one or two exceptions.
• Watch out for animals on the road in rural areas
• In the Bekaa region snow is common in winter so be prepared for it
• Some areas of Lebanon are best avoided including along the northern and eastern borders
There are no specific towing regulations but make sure the towed vehicle is securely attached and that you maintain good visibility
There are no fixed speed cameras in Lebanon but the police are increasingly clamping down on speeding drivers using mobile speed traps. Most roads aren’t conducive to speeding so simply stick to the speed limit.
Using Mobile Phones when driving
In Lebanon, it’s illegal to talk or text on a mobile phone whilst driving unless you have a hands free kit. Ignore the many that break the law and stay safe.
Parking in Lebanon is haphazard almost everywhere except in the business quarter of Beirut. There is plenty of roadside parking but you need to make sure you are not causing an obstruction. In Beirut, roadside parking is often limited to two hours.
In the cities you’ll find paid parking on waste ground parking lots and the occasional multi-storey car park. Some roadside parking is also available as metered.
Enforcement of parking is loosely carried out by the police. It’s only if you seriously outstay a parking allocation or cause an obstruction that you’ll be ticketed.
There are no concessions for disabled drivers in Lebanon but if you need a more convenient parking space, you should try an attended parking lot where you will usually get some assistance.
Motor Way Signs
There are no motorways as such in Lebanon
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
In Lebanon you’ll find that the traffic lights you encounter follow the standard international system. They are mainly located in the bigger towns and cities. You cannot turn on a red unless there is an indication that it is legal.
There are no toll roads in Lebanon.
The emergency number in Lebanon is 112 or 999 for the police, 140 for the ambulance and 175 for fire service.
What to do in an emergency
If you have a problem with your rental car you should phone the number given to you on the rental documents or attached to the windscreen of your car. If you are driving your own vehicle, then make sure you have the number of the partner organisation to your emergency assistance organisation at home.
In the event of an accident you must stop. You need to call the police if there is damage to cars or property or if there are any injuries, even if yours is the only car involved. Whilst awaiting the police, take photographs of the scene and collect details from witnesses. The police will give you a copy of their report for insurance purposes.
As of September 2014, the average price of 95 octane unleaded petrol in Lebanon is 74p whilst diesel is 71p. Prices can vary between the towns and the smaller villages.