How to drive in Bangladesh?

Bangladesh city landscape

Driving in Bangladesh can be an exhilarating experience, offering you the chance to explore this beautiful country at your own pace. However, before you hit the road, it's essential to familiarize yourself with the local rules, regulations, and driving requirements such as the International Permit. In this article, we'll guide you through the road information, fines, fuel, speed limits, the International Driver's license, and useful emergency numbers, ensuring your journey is smooth and enjoyable.

Road Information:
Bangladesh's road network is diverse, ranging from modern highways to narrow rural roads. Traffic congestion is common in urban areas, especially during rush hours, so plan your travels accordingly. Be cautious of pedestrians, cyclists, and livestock on rural roads, and watch out for potholes or uneven surfaces.

Traffic Fines:
Obeying traffic rules is crucial in Bangladesh. Common traffic offenses, such as overspeeding, running red lights, and using mobile phones while driving, can lead to hefty fines. Always follow the traffic rules to avoid unnecessary penalties.

Petrol stations are widely available across cities and towns. Look for the signs "Petrol" for gasoline and "Diesel" for diesel fuel. Payments are usually made in cash, so ensure you have enough local currency with you.

Speed Limits:
Speed limits vary based on the area. In urban zones, the speed limit is usually 40-50 km/h (25-31 mph), while on highways, it may be around 80 km/h (50 mph). Always pay attention to signages indicating the speed limit.

Driving License Requirements:
Foreign nationals can use an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with their valid driver's license from their home country to drive in Bangladesh. Make sure to keep these documents handy while driving.

Road Safety Tips:
a. Wear seatbelts at all times, and ensure all passengers do the same.
b. Avoid driving at night, especially in rural areas with inadequate lighting.
c. Use headlights during the daytime to enhance visibility.
d. Drive defensively and expect unexpected maneuvers from other road users.
e. Keep your vehicle's doors locked and windows rolled up in crowded areas to prevent theft.

Bangladesh at night cityscape

Emergency Numbers:
In case of emergencies, keep these numbers handy:
Ambulance: 999
Police: 999 or 100
Fire: 999 or 101

Tolls and Road Taxes:
Certain highways and bridges require toll payments. Keep some local currency ready to pay these tolls, as they are often collected in cash.

Public Transport:
If you're not comfortable driving, Bangladesh has an extensive public transport network, including buses, trains, and rickshaws. They are affordable and a great way to explore the country.

Respect Local Customs:
Bangladesh is a culturally rich nation, so respect local customs and traditions. Avoid using offensive gestures or honking unnecessarily, as it may be considered disrespectful.

Be Patient:
Traffic congestion and road conditions can be challenging at times. Practice patience, remain calm, and avoid aggressive driving behaviors.

GPS and Navigation:
Invest in a reliable GPS device or use navigation apps on your smartphone to help you find your way around.

Be cautious while parking your vehicle. Look for designated parking areas, and avoid leaving valuables in the car.

Vehicle Maintenance:
Ensure your vehicle is in good condition before embarking on a long journey. Check tires, brakes, lights, and engine oil to avoid breakdowns.

Environmental Responsibility:
Lastly, be mindful of the environment. Minimize your carbon footprint by carpooling or using fuel-efficient vehicles.

Driving in Bangladesh can be an unforgettable experience if you adhere to traffic rules, practice road safety, and respect local customs. By following the tips and guidelines provided in this article, you can ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey while exploring the beauty and charm of this wonderful country. Remember to stay vigilant, patient, and to apply for the International Permit in advance. Happy driving!