Georgia, a beautiful country located in the Caucasus region, offers stunning landscapes, rich history, and a unique cultural experience. If you’re a foreigner planning to explore this enchanting destination by renting a car, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the local traffic laws and driving customs. This guide will help you navigate Georgia’s roads safely and confidently.
A short guide on driving in Georgia
In Georgia, as in most countries, you drive on the right side of the road. If you come from a country that drives on the left side of the road, take extra care when merging and turning.
Speed limits in Georgia may vary depending on the type of road and location. On urban roads, the speed limit is usually 60 km/h (37 mph), while on rural roads it’s 80 km/h (50 mph). On highways, the speed limit is 100 km/h (62 mph). Always obey the posted speed limits as they are strictly enforced and speed cameras are common.
Traffic lights in Georgia follow international conventions, with red for stop, green for go, and yellow for warning. Be alert at intersections and obey traffic signals and signs.
Roundabouts are common in Georgia and follow the right-of-way rule. Vehicles already in the roundabout have the right of way, so yield to them when entering. Use your turn signals to signal your intentions.
Priority of movement
In Georgia, vehicles coming from the right have the right-of-way in the absence of traffic signals or signs. Always yield to oncoming traffic on your right at uncontrolled intersections.
Seat belt use
Seat belts are required for all passengers in the vehicle. Make sure everyone is buckled up and remember that failure to wear a seatbelt may result in a fine.
If you are traveling with children, make sure they are properly secured in child safety seats or booster seats appropriate for their age and size. This is not just a recommendation, it is a legal requirement.
Use of headlights
Headlights should be used at all times, even during daylight hours. This is a safety measure to increase visibility, especially on winding and poorly lit roads.
It is illegal to use a hand-held cell phone while driving in Georgia. If you must make a call, use a hands-free device or pull over to a safe place.
Georgia has strict laws regarding drinking and driving. The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is 0.03%. It’s best to avoid all alcohol if you plan to drive.
While Georgia has made significant improvements to its road infrastructure, road conditions can be challenging in some rural and mountainous areas. Drive carefully and be prepared for unexpected obstacles.
Toll roads are minimal in Georgia. However, it’s important to check for updates or changes in toll regulations before traveling.
Gas stations are readily available throughout Georgia. Gasoline and diesel are the most common fuels, and you can pay with cash or credit cards.
To rent and drive a car in Georgia, you will usually need a valid driver’s license, passport, and rental documentation. Check with your rental agency for these requirements.
In case of emergency, dial 112 for general assistance. For police, dial 022; for medical emergencies, dial 113; and for fire emergencies, dial 111.
Remember that local road conditions and regulations can change over time, so it’s a good idea to check for updates and contact your car rental company for any specific advice or requirements. By following these guidelines and being an attentive and respectful driver, you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip through the scenic roads of Georgia.
FAQs about driving in Georgia
Can I use my foreign license in Georgia?
Yes, you can use your valid foreign driver’s license in Georgia for up to one year. After this period, you may be required to obtain a Georgian driver’s license if you plan to continue driving in the country.
Is it common to encounter police checkpoints on Georgian roads?
Yes, it’s relatively common to encounter police checkpoints on Georgian roads, especially near city entrances and on major highways. Police officers may check your documents, including your driver’s license, car registration, and insurance. Be sure to have all the necessary documents at hand.
What should I do if I have an accident in Georgia?
If you’re involved in an accident, you should call the police by dialing 112. It’s important to get an accident report for insurance purposes. Exchange information with the other driver and take pictures if possible. A dash cam can also be useful.
Is there any special driving etiquette in Georgia that I should be aware of?
Georgians generally drive defensively and it’s common to use the horn to signal your presence, especially in crowded city traffic. Be patient and expect some aggressive driving, especially in urban areas.
What are typical road signs in Georgia?
Road signs in Georgia are typically in Georgian, but you’ll find some in English, especially in tourist areas. Familiarize yourself with common road signs and their meanings before your trip to ensure safe navigation.
Is it safe to drive at night in Georgia?
While it’s generally safe to drive at night in urban areas and on major highways, use caution on rural and mountain roads. These areas may have limited lighting and wildlife can be a hazard.