Guide to Driving In Sri Lanka - Drive Safe in Sri Lanka

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


50 kph

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70 kph

More info  

motorway speed limit

100 kph

speed limit
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Drink Drive Limit


drink and drive limit
More info  
You drive in Sri Lanka on the Left side  
The currency in Sri Lanka is LKR
To rent a car is  21 years and to drive is 18 years of age
Current fuel price in Sri Lanka 0.69 €/Ltr

Driving Laws in Sri Lanka

Driving in Sri Lanka
Pocket guide to driving in Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka
Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
Driving in Sri Lanka
SPEED: (kph)
Speed limit in Sri Lanka
Rush hour in Sri Lanka
Speed cameras in Sri Lanka
Fuel prices in Sri Lanka
Drive LEFT in Sri Lanka
Min driving age in Sri Lanka
Blood alcohol content
Drink driving in Sri Lanka
Emergency phone number in Sri Lanka
Driving documents in Sri Lanka
Hands free only
Mobile phone driving in Sri Lanka
Seat belt in Sri Lanka
See here for current child seats law in Sri Lanka

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

Driving in Sri Lanka is a challenge given the poor standards of driving from locals. They drive on the left as in the UK so that will help British drivers. Animals, people, bicycles and more often choke streets in the cities so allow plenty of time for travel.

Rules of the road

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Emergency Services Numbers

Police Police: 119

Police Fire: 110

Police Ambulance: 110


Fuel Prices in Sri Lanka by Month

Parking Information

Parking regulations

Parking regulations
Parking in Sri Lanka is a very haphazard affair, a little like the rest of the road regulations. Simply exercise common sense and you should avoid problems.
Paid parking
You’ll find paid parking most useful in the centres of the big cities. Elsewhere there is plenty of free roadside parking. Paid parking can be outside in asphalted stands or on waste land but is usually attended. Multi-story car parks are appearing in the cities now.
Enforcement of parking is done by the police but often infrequently and usually as a result of a complaint from a resident that you are inconveniencing. 
Disabled parking
Disabled drivers get no specific concessions in Sri Lanka but if you use an attended parking lot and explain your needs, you will usually get help.

Emergency Information

Emergency Information

Police Police: 119

Police Fire: 110

Police Ambulance: 110

The emergency number in Sri Lanka is 119 for the police or you can dial 118 for the National Assistance helpline.

What to do in an emergency

The rental company will have advised you of an emergency number when you collected your car. If you’re driving your own car, make sure you have the telephone number of a local rescue organisation with you before you set off. 
In the event of an accident you don’t always have to stop. In minor accidents without injury, you simply have to report it to the local police station within 24 hours and present your documents.
For an accident where there are injuries you must call the emergency services and, where possible, leave the vehicles in place. If this is not possible, you must mark the position of the wheels on the road before moving the vehicles.

Handy Guides

World Driving Guides

Road Signs

Handy Phrases

I have broken down - Nāṉ uṭaintu
Where is the police station? - aṅku pōlīs nilaiyam uḷḷatu?
I have a flat tyre - Nāṉ oru piḷāṭ ṭayar vēṇṭum
I have been in an accident - nāṉ oru vipattu
Where is? - eṅkē?
Where can I buy petrol? - Nāṉ eṅkē peṭrōl vāṅka muṭiyum?

Sri Lanka Fuel Price History

Fuel Prices in Sri Lanka by Month
Month, YearDiesel €/ltrUnleaded €/ltr
Feb, 2021 0.44 0.69
Jan, 2021 0.45 0.69
Dec, 2020 0.46 0.71
Nov, 2020 0.47 0.73
Oct, 2020 0.48 0.74
Sep, 2020 0.48 0.74

Hiring a Car

With our Drive Smart guide you're fully prepared to hire a car in Sri Lanka and stay safe on unfamiliar roads.
Phil Partridge
Posted by Phil Partridge
About the Author -

Travel writer, car rental guru, Phil has rented cars all over the world and shares his knowledge and experience on the Blog. Favourite country to visit: France.

Visitor Comments

  • 13/01/2019

    Barnaby Edgley

    I looked up rules and documents needed in Sri Lanka . You state that the IDL is not a real document yet you then state that’s the document needed in SL! Which is it?
  • 27/11/2018

    Stuart Jones

    I am looking at hiring a car and have been requested by the hire company to scan and e-mail copies of my driving licence, paper i assume as well as card with photograph and passport to them as the local car hire company will not allow me to hire a car. Is this a new law ? as i didn't have to on my last visit in 2012. Many thanks for your help Stuart Jones
  • 27/11/2018


    What language is that? Why are you misleading people. Except for the Northern and eastern province, Sinhalese is the spoken language and English is spoken and understood even in the aforementioned provinces in some form or the other.
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