Traffic Safety and Road Conditions
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Zimbabwe is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Driving in Zimbabwe is extremely hazardous, particularly at night. Zimbabweans drive on the left side of the road and many people drive over the speed limit. Although the main roads throughout Zimbabwe are generally in fair but deteriorating condition, most lack passing lanes, shoulders, breakdown lanes, lighting, reflectors, and similar safety features. Driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI) enforcement does not generally exist, resulting in high rates of impaired drivers, especially at night.
Avoid driving at night. Pedestrians (in dark clothing) and animals are often walking along and on the roads, and the majority of roads in Zimbabwe are poorly lit. Motor vehicles often have no headlights or taillights and are difficult to see at night. Passing lanes are not always clearly marked, and road visibility at times can be restricted. In urban areas, lane markers are often faded, with non-working streetlights and traffic lights. Potholes are also numerous on most roads. The Traffic Safety Council reports there are 40-50 vehicle accidents in Harare alone each night. Also note, as mentioned above, local police frequently use marked and unmarked (ad hoc) road blocks to enforce order and collect fines, particularly in urban centers and on major roads. Even though these road blocks are manned by uniformed police officers, be cautious when approaching them, particularly at night. When instructed by police or other security officials to stop at a roadblock, comply with these instructions.
The U.S. Embassy’s Regional Security Office prohibits its U.S. staff from using “kombis” – the frequently seen minibuses which service main routes, due to safety concerns.
Service stations often lack fuel or spare parts. Inter-city commuter bus travel, except by “luxury coaches,” is dangerous due to overcrowding, inadequate maintenance, and unsafe drivers. Public bus drivers are often fatigued, fail to adhere to local speed limits, and often fail to obey traffic rules or regulations.
It is illegal to operate a cellular telephone while driving in Zimbabwe. Drivers are required to wear seat belts or helmets if driving motorcycles. Car seats are not legally required for small children. Travelers should pack several pairs of latex gloves in the event of a road accident involving serious injuries or bleeding, as Zimbabwe has one of the highest rates of HIV/AIDS infection in southern Africa.
The availability of fuel severely restricts the response capability of police and other emergency services. The Ministry of Transport, Communication and Infrastructural Development is the government authority responsible for road safety in Zimbabwe. There is no national established network of roadside emergency service. However, the Automobile Association of Zimbabwe, similar to the American Automobile Association, is willing to provide roadside emergency service to nonmembers for a fee. Travelers interested in contacting the service during their stay in Zimbabwe may contact AA Zimbabwe at 263-4-752-779. AA Zimbabwe’s 24-hour emergency roadside helpline is 263-4-707-959
You are responsible for ensuring that you meet and comply with foreign entry requirements, health requirements and that you possess the appropriate travel documents. Information provided is subject to change without notice. One should confirm content prior to traveling from other reliable sources. Information published on this website may contain errors. You travel at your own risk and no warranties or guarantees are provided by us.