How to drive in Israel?
Basic rules of the roads and driving requirements.
GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION
In Israel traffic drives on the right and overtakes on the left. Israeli drivers have little patience and to drive can be wild, however, Israel has initiated on-going driver's education for new and veteran drivers to teach them defensive driving techniques.
Most traffic signs in Israel are tri-lingual (Hebrew, English and Arab), however, some are poorly translated, especially those referring to the train, usually referred to as “Rakevet”. Traffic lights are abundant in main cities but are scarcely found on highways.
ROADS AND MOTORWAYS
Excellent highways and bridges were built and Jerusalem has lovely well maintained roads, and it is easily accessible by a highway that originates in Tel Aviv. Other cities are working to improve road conditions. There are beautiful winding roads heading South to Eilat and up north to the Golan Heights. The country offers almost 10,000 mi/16,100 km of highways. Older roads can be rough on cars as they are narrow and full of curves.
Parking is legal on streets with a blue and white line at the curb if you have an appropriate parking ticket displayed on the dashboard.
At traffic lights, cameras record , photograph license plates and send fines by mail.
There are many gas/petrol stations in Israel. Some stations are closed at night. Others close down, to observe the Jewish Sabbath, from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. They are also closed on Jewish religious holidays.
At some stations, a night surcharge is added to the bill. By law, every station must have at least one self-service pump, where the price of the gas is cheaper than the other full service pumps. Operating instructions are in Hebrew, however attendants will be pleased to explain to foreigners when they speak your language.
Speed limits are as follows:
City - 31mph/50kph
Rural areas - 49mph/80kph
The only toll road in Israel is Highway #6, and tolls are collected automatically according to your vehicle number. Car rental agreements include a clause stipulating that you will not use highway #6, otherwise you will be charged when returning the vehicle.
The minimum age to drive is 17.5 years old. In order to rent a car, drivers should be over 21 years old, and must carry a valid international driver's license.
You must have an International Driving License (IDL) or a valid national driver’s license. The license must be valid for at least one year.
Fire and third party liability insurance is mandatory.
Seat belts are compulsory at all times, for both drivers and passengers riding in front and back seats. Passengers in the front must be above the age of 14.
Headlights should be used all day long between the months of November and April.
Infants should be in safety seats with seat belts buckled.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
Sources: Autoeurope / Israel Travel Tips / Israel driving guide for tourists / Car Hire 3000 / Travelmania / Israel Tourism Guide