How to drive in Pakistan?
Driving in Pakistan can be both a thrilling and challenging experience. The country's diverse landscapes, rich culture, and warm hospitality await you on the road. However, before you embark on your journey, it's essential to familiarize yourself with road rules, fines, fuel options, speed limits, International Driving License requirements, and useful emergency numbers. This blog article aims to provide you with the necessary information to ensure a safe and enjoyable driving experience in Pakistan.
Pakistan's road network is extensive, offering various routes connecting major cities and regions. The primary roads, known as National Highways (NH), are well-maintained, while secondary roads may require extra caution due to occasional potholes and narrow stretches. Be aware of local conditions and plan your routes accordingly.
Obeying traffic rules is crucial to avoid fines and ensure your safety. Common traffic violations like speeding, not wearing a seatbelt, or using a mobile phone while driving can result in fines. Stay updated with the latest traffic laws to avoid any unnecessary penalties.
Petrol and diesel are readily available in most areas, while Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) is also widely used for vehicles. Ensure you know the appropriate fuel type for your vehicle and keep an eye out for fuel stations along your route, especially in remote areas.
Speed limits can vary depending on the road type and location. On highways, the maximum speed limit is usually 80-120 km/h (50-75 mph). Inside city limits, it typically ranges from 40-60 km/h (25-37 mph). Adhering to these limits enhances safety for you and others on the road.
Driving License Requirements:
If you plan to drive in Pakistan, you must have a valid International Driving Permit or a Pakistani driving license. Ensure you carry all relevant documents, including your passport, visa, and driver's license, at all times while driving.
Defensive driving is essential in Pakistan, where road conditions and traffic can be unpredictable. Stay vigilant, anticipate the actions of other drivers, and be patient. Always use your indicators to signal your intentions and be prepared for sudden stops.
Use of Seatbelts:
Wearing seatbelts is mandatory for all occupants in the vehicle. Make sure everyone buckles up before you start your journey.
Familiarize yourself with the local traffic signals and signs, which might differ from what you are used to. Pay attention to traffic police and follow their instructions when needed.
Overtake with caution, especially on two-lane roads. Always check for oncoming traffic and use your indicators to indicate your intention to overtake.
Avoid driving at night, especially in remote areas, as road conditions may be poorly lit and less safe. If you must drive at night, use high beams judiciously and stay alert for pedestrians and livestock on the roads.
Use of Horns:
Honking is a common practice in Pakistan to alert others of your presence. However, use your horn responsibly and avoid unnecessary honking, especially in residential areas.
Keep a list of useful emergency numbers, including the police (15), ambulance (115), and highway emergency helpline (130). Additionally, save the contact details of your embassy or consulate in case of any major issues.
Tolls and Checkpoints:
Be prepared to encounter toll booths on some highways. Keep change handy for toll payments. At checkpoints, cooperate with authorities, present your documents if requested, and stay polite.
Familiarize yourself with local customs and driving etiquette. Respect the culture, be courteous to other drivers, and maintain a calm demeanor in challenging situations.
Before embarking on a road trip, ensure your vehicle is in good condition. Check the brakes, tires, lights, and fluids to minimize the risk of breakdowns during your journey.
Driving in Pakistan with the International Permit can be an exciting adventure if you approach it with knowledge and preparedness. Respect the road rules, practice defensive driving, and embrace the local culture. By following the guidelines mentioned above, you'll create memorable and safe experiences while exploring the beautiful landscapes of Pakistan on the road.