Driving in Fiji: Safety Tips
Admittedly, there are mixed stories about driving in Fiji. Some visitors find driving in Fiji a breeze, while others tell stories of being taken aback by livestock trampling the road, people selling bananas in the middle of the highway, unexpected potholes and speedbumps, and other unnerving hazards. Nevertheless, we believe that as long as you’re aware of these hazards, take it easy and stick to the speed limit while driving in Fiji, then driving in Fiji is safe. We’ll give you more safety advice for driving in Fiji in the guide below.
Quick Safety Tips for Driving in Fiji
- Drive on the left side of the road
- Know the speed limits – 50km/h in urban areas and 80km/h on the open road
- Be aware of road hazards like animals, people, speed bumps and potholes
- Be prepared for basic and some unsealed roads
- Be careful when overtaking
- Don’t use your phone while driving
- Where a seatbelt, even if it’s only legal for only the front passenger and driver
- Plan extra time due to the low speed limits and hazards
- Lock your car and hide your valuables.
For more details on each safety tip, check out the 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Fiji.
What is the State of the Roads in Fiji?
Fiji has around 7,500km (4,660 miles) of roads. Around 1,700km (1,056 miles) of those roads are sealed, but luckily those roads are the roads that most visitors use. The roads in Viti Levu’s coastal towns and villages are sealed, as well as the Queens Road and the Kings Road, which follow the coast between Nadi and Suva. On Vanua Levu, the road between Savusavu and Labasa is also fully sealed, as is some of the Hibiscus Highway following the coast from Savusavu.
That leaves about 5,800km (3,600 miles) of unsealed roads in Fiji, which are trickier to drive for those not used to driving on gravel or dirt roads. Some are gravel roads which are easy to drive as long as you drive slow enough to be in control, while dirt roads are best attempted in a 4WD vehicle.
Learn more about what it’s like to drive in Fiji in Is it Easy to Drive in Fiji?
Drivers in Fiji
A concern for some visitors to Fiji is how the locals drive. The short way to describe it is: inconsistently! Some locals drive painfully slow while others have a heavy foot on the accelerator. Luckily, the Fijian authorities have had a bit of a crackdown on speeding over the past few years with more speed cameras, speed bumps and police cars parked outside of towns and villages to keep the racers in check.
Other issues visitors have has with local drivers are they sometimes stop suddenly, overtake on blind corners, and don’t always stick to the left side of the road when navigating bends.
For visitor drivers, we just suggest that you be extra switched on when driving (if you’re don’t already do that), be aware of what is happening on the road and drive safely, sticking to the speed limits or slower, so that you have time to respond to things happening on the roads.
Road Hazards in Fiji
Fiji has quite a number of road hazards that are certainly worth knowing about in order to feel safer when driving. That way, you won’t be taken by surprise when behind the wheel.
While there are upgrades to the roads regularly to reduce potholes, there are still a lot more potholes than what you might be used to if from a more developed country. Slow down when approaching potholes in order to keep control of the vehicle.
Animals on the Road
Livestock like cattle and horses graze on the sides of the road, even wandering across from time to time with little concern for cars. This means that you need to be a little warier of these hazards and slow down when approaching. Dogs are also common on the side of the road, but they tend to move out of the way of cars.
People on the Road
Especially in villages, locals will walk on the road and dangerously close to moving traffic with little concern for cars. Don’t expect people to just move out of the way for traffic, slow down to avoid them with ease.
Outside of the main towns, lighting on the roads is extremely limited, making it harder to see the above-mentioned hazards. For this reason, many visitors choose to not drive outside of the towns at night.
Being a tropical country, Fiji has rainfall hard and often making it harder to see, the roads more slippery and the depth of potholes harder to judge. Not to mention, the dirt roads become pretty slick after rainfall.
Learn more about these road hazards and a few others in the 10 Safety Tips for Driving in Fiji.