Would you like to go on a self drive tour in Uganda? Here are practical tips and information to guide you in planning your next journey through the Pearl of Africa. These tips have been prepared by experts in car travel and will enable you enjoy a trouble-free adventure through Uganda and the East African Region;
By East African standards, the road conditions throughout the country are good and ever improving as a result of major roadworks program being implemented. All the primary roads radiating out of Kampala to the North, East, South and West are asphalted. Standards of highway maintenance are low though, and there always seem to be one highway in a state of disrepair, meaning potholes and delays because of construction works. Driving around Kampala city streets one will notice a number of driving slip ups which make it very difficult for other motorists to drive safely and free of accidents however minor. A few tips on safe driving perhaps starting with the ones most commonly abused.
In order to drive safely in Uganda, you have to drive at a speed that allows comfortable traffic flow. It is not unusual to find someone driving at a speed of 20kph on a clear smooth road which has no pot holes and as a result ‘creating’ an unnecessary traffic jam. If the car is not faulty and there is space ahead of you, maintain a faster pace at about 50kph as long as there are no other reasons to do otherwise such as near a school or pedestrian crossing. If the car is faulty, please take it to the garage and have it fixed, no need to make other motorists share your problem.
If you are looking for parking, please do not involve the rest of the motorists in your plans by snailing up around a parking area as you look for parking. Some drivers will even keep jabbing in and out of small possible parking spaces and it becomes very difficult even to overtake such a vehicle because it is not clear whether they will turn into the parking or back into the road. At least indicate that you intend to turn so that others can be patient with you. It is annoying to follow a driver who is assuming you know their intentions of turning. This gives rise to irate driving, reckless overtaking by an annoyed driver and so on.
Incase you need to turn, indicate in good time about 10 meters before turning so that the driver behind you can before warned in good time and so that they too can manage their speed in consideration of the fact that you are slowing down. The indicator is just about the length of your finger away from the grip you have on the steering wheel and for nearly all vehicles, it just takes a flip! I notice people picking their noses as they drive which takes more effort and covers a longer length and they don’t flip the indicator when required. It is not uncommon for motorists to brake, indicate and turn abruptly after having maintained a speed of 60kph and above. Usually the result is that the motorist behind you rams into the tail end of your car simply because of your reckless driving. After the accident, it disorganizes the day for everyone involved and introduces a traffic jam which could have been avoided had you been more careful. Save yourself and others the heart ache of having to change plans to deal with the accident.
In Uganda always keep left all the time unless overtaking even on a dual carriage way. That way it is much easier for faster motorists who need to overtake from the right hand side to do so safely. It is not good driving practice to drive on a dual carriage alongside another car and at the same speed, it drags others behind who would want to overtake you are obstructing them and obstruction is a traffic offence!
More so, to drive safely in Uganda, Keep off the mobile phone! You cannot serve two masters at a time, you will lose concentration and you are bound to cause an accident. Remember it is a traffic offence to drive while talking on phone. If you have to, then use the hands-free facility on your phone. If you don’t have it pull over to the side and attend to your caller. Even if there is an emergency, please do not cause another one for more people.
Over speeding even on the highway is highly discouraged; maintain the stipulated speed limits which should allow safe driving.
Tie the belts while driving. This is one of the disregarded guidelines by most Ugandan drivers yet it’s one of the least secure practices one can ever do. Belts are so critical particularly on roads which have bumps and uneven surfaces. Likewise incase one gets an accident, the belt helps in lessening the harms to the people in the vehicle. It’s an offense if got by the traffic officers driving without tying the belts.
Have the Driving license updated. As you surely understand that before driving a car in any country on the planet, you are required to have a substantial driving permit. This is the same case with Uganda and nobody is allowed to drive without having one. For travelers who may visit Uganda and wish to drive themselves, they are required to carry their driving licenses from their respective countries which can be used to get authorization from the Uganda traffic police to drive on Ugandan roads. In the event that one is discovered driving without a legitimate driving permit, he/she is fined or taken to court.
Know where you are going: This is critical particularly to first-time guests to Uganda. Because of the traffic jam in most urban spots in the country, it’s generally a best practice to know some different courses which can lead you to the same destination simply like one who has used the main road. This helps in saving time and fuel. But this should not stress anybody because at our organization, we generally provide a well trained and experienced guide who can help in finding these alternative routes.
Know the street signs. This is so essential in light of the fact that a decent driver ought to dependably recognize what the street signs mean. They offer headings to the drivers furthermore empower them foresee what they should to expect ahead.
The above practices are so vital and if used, then one should expect the best experience while driving in Uganda.