For those who have little experience of driving abroad, driving in Israel can be testing as the local drivers are often described as impatient, much like road users in Italy. Armed with this knowledge however, you can drive here with ease.
The highways in Israel are relatively modern and therefore in good condition whereas some smaller roads can be quite narrow and suffer from pot holes. Roads are numbered in accordance with their direction; even numbers dictate north to south, odd numbers run from east to west. Higher numbers indicate roads in the north and lower numbers dictate roads in the south. Whichever direction you're heading, a hire car is the best way to get around and discover this country.
Tips for driving in Israel
A UK paper driving licence is only valid when accompanied by photographic proof of identity, e.g. passport.
Which side of the road do they drive on?
Drive on the right, overtake on the left. Unless otherwise indicated, vehicles coming from the right have priority at junctions.
If fitted, seat belts must be worn at all times by all occupants of the vehicle. The fine for non-compliance is €35.
Driving with children
Children under 12 and shorter than 145cm are not permitted to travel as front seat passengers.
Blood alcohol limit
Pretty much zero tolerance. The blood alcohol limits is 0mg alcohol per 100ml of blood, although 0.2mg tolerance has been brought in to allow for medications which may have alcohol content.
If you are found to be driving under the influence of alcohol, fines can be extremely high and you may lose your license for a second offence.
Can I use a mobile?
It’s illegal to use a mobile unless you have a hands-free kit.
Reflective vests, triangles & other essentials
A reflective vest must be kept in the vehicle at all times
Do I need winter tyres or snow chains?
During cold winters, driving with snow chains or spiked tyres is recommended.
Traffic lights are not frequently used, but if you do come across them standard international procedure applies.
You almost always have to pay for parking in Israel and it is permitted only in specified car parks.
On the spot fines
At present, the Israeli police are not permitted to collect money for on the spot fines from visitors. If you receive a fine, you will be required to pay this before your departure or within 15 days.
Horns and headlights
You should use dipped headlights in poor visibility during the day time.
What should I do if I breakdown?
If you breakdown, call the supplier who will be able to advise you further. It is recommended you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.
What should I do if I have an accident?
If you’re in an accident, you MUST notify the Police and the car rental provider and get an accident report for insurance purposes. Failure to do so may result in you footing the whole bill. It is recommended that you contact ourselves at the same time to ensure you follow the correct procedure.
Do NOT leave the scene until you receive a report from traffic police.
Israel has one toll road, Highway 6 which runs from North to Central Israel. Check with the supplier beforehand what the charges will be and how you should pay.
Tel Aviv to Jerusalem – 67km (1hr 20mins)
Tel Aviv to Haifa – 92km (1hr 40mins)
Tel Aviv to Nazareth – 105km (2hrs)
Nazareth to Jerusalem– 147km (2hrs 5mins)