When you visit Malawi as a foreigner, you will not be expected to acquire the driving license from the state as you are exempted from drive test. Good news, for the first three months, provided you have a valid international driving permit you can drive. However, for foreigners who may not have the international driving license, they are required to attend any local driving course and undertake the driving test. Besides, the international staff members with dependents over 18 years can acquire Malawian driver licenses with their valid domestic driver licenses. The following road traffic rules apply when in Malawi:
- Maintain left-hand while driving and overtake on the right side only
- All vehicles must have a warning triangle
- Motorists and passengers must wear helmets
- Drivers should not make or take calls while driving. If the call is necessary, it is advisable to pull off the road
- It’s mandatory for the driver and all passengers to fasten their safety belts
- No driving while drunk, 0.08% is the allowable blood alcohol limit
- It’s not recommended for driver to pass another on a summit or curve. It’s permitted to pass left if the vehicle to be passed is turning on the right or its driver gives signal
- All vehicles must be insured against either third party liability
- It’s prohibited to stop in contravention of any road traffic sign, within 9 meters of pedestrian crossing, within subways or on bridges.
- Parking on traffic island, within five meters of any intersection or an area where the vehicle may obscure traffic signs is illegal.
- Drivers should not exceed 80 km/h outside built-up areas but in built-up areas maintain a speed of 50 km/h, like in Lilongwe, Blantyre, Limete, Limbe or others
- Motorcycle cannot carry more than two people
- The police officers have the responsibility of removing a vehicle left for 72 hours and 48 hours continuously on a public road in urban and outside urban area respectively.
When driving in Malawian roads, ensure you carry your documents and most importantly a valid driver’s license. In case foreigners are involved in accident, the victim should report to United Nations security before reporting to Malawian police. While driving, carry your cellphone and avoid driving at night. You should be aware of speed traps with radar guns and breathalyzer tests. Always keep the doors and windows locked and ensure you have an extra tire, spanner and jack which are of help in case of car break down.